Archive for the ‘NFL Network Coverage’ Category

NFL Total Access: Warren Sapp’s Top-5 QBs in the league

July 24, 2009

Warren Sapp ran through his Top-5 Best in the Biz segment on NFL Total Access. As part of their lead in pre-season football coverage the folks at NFLTA are taking the time to voice their opinions on the best players at each position in the league.

Chicago Bears fans should be happy to know that Warren Sapp has Jay Cutler rated as the fifth best QB in the league behind Donovan McNabb at four, Drew Brees at three, Peyton Manning at two and Tom Brady at number one best quarterback in the league.

The props to Cutler were for the way he carried the Denver Broncos’ offense last year with over 4,500 yards passing and 25 touchdowns. Cutler is what obviously everyone has been talking about since the Bears made the trade back in April.

From here on out all the talk will mostly be about Cutler or related to Cutler since he is the first franchise level QB the Bears have had in the modern era of the NFL.

For More In Depth Discussion Link to the Midway Illustrated Forums

Advertisements

NFL Network Roundtable discussion, best players in the league

July 23, 2009

The NFL network recently had a segment between Jamie Dukes and Solomon Wilcots on the best players in the league heading into the 2009 season. No one player on the Bears made on the list for 2009, but I obviously wouldn’t be writing an article if a Chicago Bears player wasn’t mentioned at some point during the debate.

After discussing the best players in the league for 2009 the question was, outside of their Top-5 or Top-8 whatever number they argued between, who would be in the list in 2010.

Wilcots was emphatic and didn’t even hesitate when he state emphatically that Jay Cutler is a player that could be on the list of top-5 players in the league regardless of position.

This is yet another commentary of respect shown to Jay Cutler since his arrival in Chicago.

Wilcots did mention yes that there were the INT numbers and they were high. But he followed it up with this basic point “yes the interception numbers were high but he had to take chances. That’s how he was coached by Shannahan because he didn’t have a defense.”

The intangibles that Wilcots went on to point have become obvious to Bears fans over the past few months. Quoting Wilcots “He’s got a laser lock of an arm (Cutler), he can make plays in the pocket out of the pocket. He can take that team to another level. If he does that in Chicago and takes that team where other quarterbacks haven’t been able to take them, HE MAKES THAT LIST.”

Top five players in the league, with eye-popping numbers in his third year Cutler could very well end up in that category. Over 4,500 yards passing 25 touchdowns it all speaks volumes to Cutler’s ability.

The key thing I hope Wilcots keeps an eye on though is not so much the mind blowing stats as much as Cutler being a leader on this team. A very goodhttps://monstersofthemidwayillustrated.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.php season would get the job done in Chicago. Over 3,500 yards passing and another 25 touchdowns while cutting his turnovers in half would to me be worthy of Pro Bowl consideration.

The most important thing for Cutler in Chicago is to make plays when they are needed. Help sustain drives, keep the defense off the field early in games so they have stamina left in the fourth quarter. Sure the big plays to Devin Hester and Johnny Knox would be huge for this offense.

What the Bears need the most though is a QB who makes plays when it counts.

To discuss this topic more in depth go to Midway Illustrated

NFL Network Top Off-Season Acquistions: Jay Cutler

July 23, 2009

From the no duh department Marshall Faulk spoke about the Chicago Bears and their off-season acquisition of quarterback Jay Cutler. Cutler came from the Broncos via trade from the Denver Broncos giving the Bears their first ever true franchise QB of the modern NFL era.

What Faulk touched on in his analysis however surely sits well with Bears fans.

Faulk basically stated the Bears are a legitimate Super Bowl contender in the NFC with the addition of Cutler. So long as Cutler as there the Bears will be a contender likely for the next five years or more according to Faulk.

Cutler makes the players around him instantly better according to the analysis from the future hall of fame RB. Faulk stated that Devin Hester instantly becomes a better receiver and Greg Olsen surely will have a major break out year at tight end.

The importance of this off-season acquisition cannot be over stated. Cutler in my opinion does make the Bears an instant contender in a wide open NFC division. The fact of the matter is there is not one real elite team in the NFC. Sure the Panthers, Cardinals, Eagles, Giants and Vikings all look like they could end up in the Super Bowl.

The Bears however fit into that category as well. The Giants were the pick last year in the NFC and were well on their way to fulfilling that optimism until the Plaxico Burress problem. After that they promptly fell apart and were eliminated from the playoffs.

The Giants look extremely one-dimensional with their running game. Sure Eli Manning can make plays, but just like the Bears their receivers struggle to make plays for the younger Manning leaving a lot of doubt surrounding the G-Men.

In Philadelphia Donovan McNabb enjoyed a renaissance season last year after being benched. There is not guarantees that he’ll be able to will them to the playoffs with their putrid running game.

These NFC East powerhouses are again the likely favorites but are not two teams that the Bears have to worry about.

Marshall Faulk was on target with his analysis and I think we all look forward to him being proven right. The Bears are a contender and if they get playoff games at Soldier Field, then anything is possible in 2009.

NFL Network Path to the Draft: Chicago Bears Draft Grade

May 1, 2009

The most complete NFL draft coverage you can find anywhere on T.V. today comes via the NFL Network and their half hour, now hour long program covering the NFL draft and all of the prospects in it’s entirety. You can find a more in-depth show anywhere else and the commentary is first rate and non-biased. Plus if anyone makes a biased sounding comment they typically go out of their way to correct it or clarify exactly their opinion on a team or player.

Charlie Casserly kicks off the NFC North segment with commentary he received from Jerry Angelo. Angelo stated to Casserly, and Casserly followed with this interesting quote “Well Jerry Angelo when I talked to him at the end of the season, he’s what he told me (paraphrasing his conversation with Angelo) I wanna upgrade the following things, pass rush, offensive line and I wanna bring some competition or challenge into the quarterback position, I’m gonna look at everything out there, Casserl paraphrasing his conversation with Angelo. Casserly then goes on to state, “So what does he go and do? He trades for Jay Cutler, HE HIT A HOME RUN! He was just trying to get in some competition, he threw out the competition.”

“Alright so now you have a Pro-Bowl quarterback, how does that help your receiving core? He didn’t mention receivers prior to me. It makes Devin Hester a better player, why what can Hester do? He can run by everybody in the league, Jay Cutler’s strength? Throwing the deep ball so automatically they get better at the receiver position.”

“Hey at the offensive line he brought in depth he brought in Kevin Shaffer, he brought in Orlando Pace at the left tackle. Now I KNOW there’s controversy over whether he can play or not (Orlando Pace) but hey the Bears think he can play. Let’s hope they’re right. ”

“On the pass rush in the second round (third round) he draft the best inside pass rusher in the draft, potential wise, why do I say potential wise? You don’t see it on every play. But I’m gonna watch this, Rod Marinelli is one of the best defensive line coaches in the league, if not the best, one of the best I’ve seen. A hard-nosed ex-Marine, he’s gonna fire these guys up. Hey Jarron Gilbert is either going to be a player or he’s going to be on a long bus ride back to California.”

Charlie Casserly seemed pretty pumped up about the Bears’ draft and based on the conversation he had with Angelo you can see that Angelo met and fulfilled most of the needs he had laid out after the off-season. While most everyone wishes the Bears had the next Jerry Rice, or even Anquan Boldin on the team, the main point cannot be missed. That point is that the Chicago Bears finally have a franchise quarterback in Jay Cutler.

The final point is it took a lot to get Cutler and it didn’t leave the Bears a lot of ammo left to land a top receiver prospect via the draft or via a trade. The one possible top target in free agency that may have been worth the money was Torry Holt, but Holt decided to play with a different team.

The final word from the draft won’t be written for another few years, but the word as it is right now, is the Bears had one of the best off-seasons of any team in the league. Arguably the best off-season in the history of the franchise.

You can’t escape the hype

April 25, 2009

Well sports fans it’s finally here, the day of the 2009 NFL Draft. The official end to the second season of the National Football League. Make no mistake this IS the second season. It may sound like silly cliche to explain the hype surrounding the NFL Draft, but make no mistake the league survives because of the second season.

Take for instance just the coverage that the draft gets on a monthly basis leading up to weekend of on ESPN. Mel Kiper Jr has a solid career and perhaps the most famous hair cut on TV because of the draft. With the invent of the internet the draft has taken off into a completely different world of hype and coverage.

Now comprehend the magnitude of the Mock Draft phenomenon a database by a Washington Redskins site lists 221 mock drafts. This doesn’t include all the updates that constantly occur from the end of the college football season until the day of the draft. Fans just can’t get enough of the draft coverage.

So the question is why? Well the popularity of the NFL for one. It’s the most popular sport in the U.S. and with all the marketing opportunities that stem from it appealing to the most marketable class of people in the country (18-35 year old males) it’s easy to see why an entire second season can spring up just from the draft hype.

The amount of draft hype is insane given the rare success of first round draft picks and the even further failure of draft picks there after. Less than 50% of first round picks wind up with a successful NFL career. But if you were to listen to all of the scouting experts just about every player drafted from one to seventy-five in the league will have a long tenured career of 10 or more years in the draft.

Then the level of hype is magnified ten fold over a period of roughly four months. Non stop coverage, talk of the combine, Pro-Days, personal workouts, private workouts, official visits, and analysis so thorough it would make the folks at NASA envious.

However even with the more recent recognition I have had in the fact that most players don’t live up to the hype I still can’t escape it. The Chicago Bears traded away their first round pick for the next two years in the Jay Cutler trade yet myself as well as many other Bears fans have not dropped in our collective level of excitement. I still want to see who the Bears draft at 49 and I’ll be faithfully watching the draft unfold pick by pick up until the Bears make their selection.

So while I recognize the gigantic level of ridiculous hype and the enormous lack of clarity shown by most fans and analysts and experts during this period of time. I still recognize it is the NFL and any football is GOOD football.

The Percy Harvin Effect

April 23, 2009

Word as most draft fans know is beginning to circulate that Florida wide receiver Percy Harvin tested positive for marijuana use at the NFL combine back in February. Harvin by most accounts is considered perhaps the most explosive offensive weapon in the draft and arguably a Top-15 pick in this weekend’s draft.

So already speculation has been building as to the possibility of Percy Harvin sliding all the way to the Bears at the 49th slot of the second round. I can answer this question emphatically and in a way that hopefully will put all of the speculation to rest, NO. Percy Harvin will likely not fall out of the first round of the NFL draft because to many teams see to high a value in him as a prospect and a player.

Charlie Casserly reported tonight on NFL network’s path to the draft show that three teams he already spoke with said that if Harvin begins to slide into their area he IS THEIR GUY at that draft slot. Surely they will have to answer to Harvin’s positive test, but the risk/reward factor for them will be to great to pass up. Harvin is an extremely valuable and multi-dimensional talent that will make a group of fan’s very happy when he does begin to fall in the draft.

For me personally I think Harvin is overrated and think he’ll be one of the 50-percent failure rates that happen every year in the NFL draft. I see Harvin and I see Peter Warrick from Florida State. The speed and the ability in the open field is uncanny and it’s why I look at him with a huge skeptical eye. For me the character concerns even compound the fact that I wouldn’t draft him all that high.

Now the next question generated by the speculation surrounding Harvin might be does he fall far enough to the point where the Bears can trade up to get him later in the first round? As I discussed in this previous blog post about the Bears’ trade options in moving up that idea is also nearly impossible. Most of the ammo the Bears had to trade up with they gave up in the trade for Cutler.

Now with that first part of this blog out of the way, there is reason to believe that Harvin’s positive drug test can positively effect the Bears’ chance of landing a good player in the draft at 49th overall.

A few scenarios I’d like to touch on real quick are pretty easy to follow and likely make the most sense regarding our Chicago Bears:

A) Percy Harvin could slide in the draft to a team that likely would have taken a Hakeem Nicks, Brian Robiskie or Kenny Britt.

What I am saying here is that the Bears have been targeting three solid receivers who project well not only for the Bears’ draft needs, but could have realistically slid to the 49th spot in the NFL draft prior to the Harvin news. Now that the Harvin news has come out there is a team in the first round that will pass on Percy Harvin for another player who has Harvin’s overall value in round one. They will grab the next best player that fits into their needs that is on their big board. This will cause Harvin to begin his slide in the NFL draft to a team that may be likely to take one of Nicks, Robiskie or Britt in the first round.

B) That team will draft Harvin instead of one of those three

Since Nicks, Britt and Robiskie will begin to slide in the draft as a consequence to Harvin’s sliding it means one of those three will be closer to where the Bears are drafting at 49th overalll in the second round. A team that would otherwise be taking Nicks, Britt, or Robiskie late in the first round will now pass on them. Taking Harvin late in the first round and causing the

C) The increase in the likelihood that Britt, Robiskie, or Nicks does fall to the Bears at 49.

There was already by most accounts a chance that one of the BIG THREE will fall to the Chicago Bears. The three that have been scouted over, discussed, profiled, worked out by the Bears coaching staff and scouting personnel over and over again. These three perfectly fit the type of receiver the Bears are looking for in the first place. They fit that role that is open opposite Devin Hester who more closely resembles Harvin’s game-changing explosiveness in the open field.

The likelihood has now increased, by how much? I can’t precisely say, and no one really knows. But the good news for right now is that helped the Bears out at least indirectly. Hopefully on Saturday it will be come a direct positive effect in which the Bears benefit by landing one of the big three receivers that we have been discussing since the end of the NFL scouting combine nearly two months ago.

Prospect Preview: Safety Louis Delmas

April 15, 2009

Of course the headline of this topic doesn’t really mean anything to the Bears since they don’t have a first round draft pick. But what it could mean is that the Bears may have to grab a safety in round two if they want a good one out of this draft. Some of the talk you hear is that there is just not a lot of talent at the safety position in this draft for the second year in a row. No talent whatsoever that is first round worthy. Last year only Kenny Phillips from the Miami Hurricanes went in round one and it was at the end of round one at that.

So for the second consecutive year there is a major void of overall talent in the first round. So where is the talent? Some would say there is good talent to be had in the second and third rounds but then a drop off in talent after that. There is some argument that top corner back prospect Malcom Jenkins may be forced over to free safety due to his lack of pure straight line speed in the 40-yard dash. What helps Jenkins though is his overall athletic ability, which fits in very well with the CB mold.

Beyond that it’s a matter of where you plug in the top safeties available. Louis Delmas from Western Michigan is the top rated safety in the draft by most accounts. Delmas is a four-year starter and a thre-time all conference selection which is impressive by all accounts but some may knock him as being a small conference player. Delmas has been productive all four years of college and when you are named All-Conference it’s important to not that it’s not the fans that participate in this vote, or the media. These selections are made by the head coaches within the MAC, so all the evaluation and respect that these players earn are from the coaches in the league. Men who make a career out of evaluating and coaching football talent.

That’s a fine level of respect for Delmas coming from his conference’s coaches. But to take it up another level Mike Mayock of the NFL Network’s Path to the Draft show said that Delmas is the most aggressive run defending safety he has seen in the draft in the last five years. That may be the biggest compliment that can be paid to a player like coming into the draft. He’s an aggressive tackler, unafraid of coming up and making the hit and perhaps overly so given a tendency to come up in play-action. However that can be coached on and worked on to a nice level of improvement. It’s about reading and making the proper reaction at the right time. Plus trusting that if it is in fact a run, that your front seven will be more likely to stop it without the safety having to get up and make the help.

There are a lot of positives regarding Delmas and not as many negatives as you would think for a safety that may fall out of the first round. It’s hard to call be overly aggressive a negative aspect of a player’s game because you want that in a player. You want to be able to have to perhaps calm a player down a bit rather than have to get him pumped up to make plays or big hits.

There is also talk of what is an ideal size for a free-safety in this league and Louis Delmas doesn’t have the ideal frame. One would argue though that at 6-foot 209-pounds is plenty big enough so long as you’re bring the wood every time you tackle.

Mike Brown wasn’t an ideal size and when healthy played at a Pro Bowl level. Bob Sanders of the Colts is 5-foot-9 206-pounds and is known for his aggressive style of play. He’s is like a human missile is the way he flies up to take on the ball carrier in the run game.

What is important is that Delmas plays the ball well in the air and attacks the line of scrimmage well. He isn’t afraid to make the big hits which is important when considering how WRs can be so easily intimidated to come over the middle by a big hitting safety.

Will Delmas last until the second round? Will he possibly be there at 49 when the Bears select? It’s a possibility if the WR talent pool that is considered first and second round worthy is drained by the time the Bears pick.

NFL Network Analysis: Jay Cutler Trade

April 4, 2009

Further reveiwing what league experts are saying about the Jay Cutler deal we come to coverage from the NFL Network. Total Access kicked off two days of essentially round the clock Cutler trade coverage.
Former NFL GM Charlie Casserly steps up to the plate to diagnose the Cutler trade first and give his take on how it benefits the Chicago Bears.

Casserly is most famous for his years with the Washington Redskins where he uncovered two of the original members of the Redskins’ famed offensive line known as “the Hogs”. From there Casserly took over as a GM and sustained Washington’s excellent up to the mid 90s. From there Casserly took over the Houston Texans were he scouted and drafted five future Pro Bowl players. Among them WR Andre Johnson, DE Mario Williams, LB DeMarco Ryans.

Casserly starts out his analysis with how the Bears offered up the best deal with two number one draft picks and the best QB option for the Broncos. His take is that Kyle Orton was a good QB for the first year and he has had some success in the NFL. Casserly says “If I’m the Chicago Bears I’m ecstatic I made this deal if I was Chicago I would have made the deal because it’s hard to get a quarterback at this level in Jay Cutler. A guy who came into the league that’s proven he can play. He’s young, he’s had success in the league, it’s hard to find this guy.”

Mike Mayock then steps up to give his take of the ramifications and impact that Cutler will have on the Bears’ offense and the strategy that takes shape with a QB like Cutler in the fold.

Mayock states “I feel like Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith were on a short leash, this tells us that the need to win now.” “What I look at is their remaining draft picks and they have 49 and 99th overall selections. The hope is that one of the big time wide receivers slides to them at 49 a Hakeem Nick, Britt or Robiskie. That way they can maybe address the WR position via the draft instead of in free agency. They play some pretty good defense still in Chicago (run defense was one of the best in the league). It’s up to Ron Turner to expand his offense and to take advantage of what this kid does which is get the football down the field vertically.”

Bob Papa interjects with his analysis about the trade saying “When you take a look at this division and you take a look at the problems that Green Bay has from last year, and they’re switching to the 3-4, you still have the quarterback question when it comes the Minnesota Vikings and the Lions they have a lot of work ahead of them. Chicago was right into that playoff race late into the season last year. I think this is something that can put them over the top. The have a good running game they’ve added Orlando Pace they’ve got a talented young tight end that’s gonna help the quarterback pick up the offense, they can do some things with (Greg) Olson. So I think the Chicago Bears if they can tidy up the defense get some help at the safety position can be that gets into the post season by winning their division.”

Mike Mayock states while talking to Deion Sanders (does anyone wants Deion’s take really?) that ” I’m big on franchise quarterbacks and I think Denver was CRAZY to let him go.”

Moving into the second day of the coverage of the biggest trade in the history of the franchise of the Monsters of the Midway.

The NFL Network lines up Bears cam and brings in Jay Cutler for one of his first official interviews after his introduction as the newest member of the Chicago Bears.

Rich Eisen asks for Cutler’s emotions after this big trade:

Cutler says, “It’s been some ups and down for the last three of four weeks. You know (I’m) a little relieved, I’m a little sad to be leaving my teammates in Denver. But it’s a new chapter, I couldn’t be more excited to be in Chicago, and to be a Chicago Bear.”

Eisen adds if you could tell the kid growing up (meaning Cutler) that he was going to be future quarterback of the Chicago Bears.

“I think it would have been a dream come true Cutler adds, I was a little bit shocked that I got the call, because I didn’t really think it was going to be a possibility. You hope it is but you try to be realistic to not put yourself up for that that kind of disappointment (meaning if the trade did not happen) it worked out well for me.”

Cutler goes on to quietly wax poetic about the situation over the last month. He doesn’t really want to go and bad mouth the Broncos by dispelling rumors that surfaced during this whole ordeal. Some people may look at it as dodging a question, but to me if Cutler publicly dispels the rumor he starts a he said they said back and forth which further ignites the controversy. Cutler instead decides to move forward on to his career with the Chicago Bears, rather than explain himself and leave it open to interpretation by the media and fans as to what exactly went down.

Eisen goes on to ask about the “bad publicity” and whether or not Cutler wil have to address it moving forward with the Bears.

“Absolutely I think this city is happy but they’re a little bit wary of what kind of quarterback they got. I’ve gotta earn the respect and trust of my teammates first and foremost and that’s the first thing that’s gotta happen. They have to trust me and what I can do for them as their quarterback they have to believe in me and trust me that I can get the job done as their quarterback.”

Cutler talks about the new teammates that called him, Urlacher called, Earl Bennett called, Greg Olson called and that a lot of his teammates were there at the press conference. They are excited about the possibility of what we can do going forward.”

Brandon Marshall is brought on to talk about Jay Cutler and the trade and one of the key quotes he makes is” Jay Cutler is a great quarterback and a great friend. He was a great locker room guy and I’m sad to see him go.”

The NFL Network then goes to it’s panel that includes Charles Davis, Bob Papa, and Mike Mayock. They always seem to lead off their conversations with Mayock.

“I really believe it’s the perfect storm for both him (Cutler) and the Bears. What they’d like to do in a city where there’s an awful lot of wind and weather is have a big armed quarterback who can get the ball vertically down the field to talented wide receivers like Devin Hester a great tight end like Greg Olson who could emerge as another deep threat.” Then in true Mike Mayock fashion he goes to the coaches tape (the behind the line of scrimmage angle) to show what he liked about Cutler when he was in college and then coaches tape from this season where he’ll compare and contrast the differences in what he like about Cutler.

The play Mayock goes to show is a fourth and 12 play against Arkansas game on the line less than two minutes left, where he stands in the pocket and flat footed (not stepping into the throw) he drives the ball down the field over the head of a linebacker and in between two defenders, while simultaneously getting smacked in the face by an oncoming linebacker. “Fourth and 12 while getting smacked in the face and he knows it, he delivers the football flat footed, I fell in love with that play” Mayock says the octave level in his voice changing with excitement.

“Later on same drive, flat-footed, this guy’s got more hip torque than anybody else since John Elway. They beat a team they should have never beat in Arkansas.”

“This last season on the run look at the accuracy he drops it in over Schefler’s shoulder, big play on the run without a problem. Again he has an awful lot of confidence in his ability, watch him feel pressure up the field eyes down the field, never look down delivers the football touchdown. That’s a huge play very few quarterbacks in the league can make. Again Cutler the vision bracket coverage (four man end-zone defenders) it’s not there right now, eyes down field, feel pressure, step up and again that’s a tight window right there that he threw the football into. This is a third and 12 with two minutes left I don’t think (this route) is open I wouldn’t want him to throw the football there, but somehow he puts it on him (the pass) and the one thing I have to say to be honest in my overview is that he threw the ball up for grabs to often in college and he has a little bit of that gun-slinger attitude in the pros.”

Charles Davis interjects “that that part of holding the ball and not throwing it up for grabs comes with maturity and given that he’s been in the league for only three years, two as a starter he will get better. Weather late in the season with Forte and the running game and this guy with the arm, this is Bears football with the opportunity to make big plays. I think they’ll go out and get another wide receiver somewhere along the lines to take the pressure off of Devin Hester being the number one wide receiver its nothing but an upside for Chicago in the immediate future. I said I don’t think this makes them a Super Bowl team this year, but later on down the line if they keep adding the pieces and with Orlando Pace he doesn’t hurt one bit.”

Bob Papas wraps up the panelist analysis with “Well you know it’s interesting watching Mike’s break down of what he can do physically and you look what the Bears have they don’t have a Brandon Marshall and an Eddie Royal but with what they do have he can make it better get better production out of them. The thing that’s really impressive is that he got all that done all that production last year done with no running game. He’s now going to be with a team that pounds the ball they’re going to be able to control the football. I think the sky is the limit for Jay Cutler.”

That last quote would seem to the quote that makes this the deal of a lifetime for Chicago Bears fans. Cutler has all the tools and by all reports from media people talking to Mike Shannahan to talk to Cutler’s teammates, he is a consummate professional who can be a leader and a franchise quarterback. The important aspect being franchise, because it takes more than a strong arm, great vision, physical talents and pocket awareness, it take the ability to be the face of the franchise. The leader of the team and the organization, cementing his legacy as what could be the greatest quarterback in the history of the Chicago Bears franchise.

Angelo becomes the savior of Chicago, Jay Cutler is a Chicago Bear

April 2, 2009

When no one thought it was possible, no one thought Jerry Angelo had the brass sack to get it done Angelo pulled off a major coup today on April 2nd 2009 and traded for and got QB Jay Cutler. No Bears fans it is not a misprint or a 24 hour late April Fool’s Day joke. Jay Cutler is coming to play for his childhood favorite Chicago Bears.

This is a day that one way or another will go down as an earth shattering moment in the history of the Chicago Bears. For better or worse Jerry Angelo has cemented his legacy in the Windy City. The Bears have their future franchise QB and they are now the toast of the town.

While I can wax on about the negatives, this much is clear the Bears got their man, gave up what they felt necessary to get him and they have my full support. I am on cloud nine with excitement at this move because if you’re a long suffering Bears fan you didn’t think a move like this was possible.

Turns out the move is real and the Bears got their man and according to Jon Clayton of ESPN the Bears become the instant favorite in the race for the NFC North. The Bears are now assured a playoff spot with Cutler and depending how things shape up elsewhere in the league it could be playoff games in Chicago at Soldier Field, where as we know ANYTHING can happen.

In the trade the Bears give up their first round pick #18 overall, their first round pick in 2010 their third round pick this year and QB Kyle Orton. In return the Bears receive Cutler and a fifth round pick from the Denver Broncos.

Cutler instantly becomes one of the best QBs in the NFC based on stats alone and youth and potential ahead of him. He arguably is now the most talented QB with potential to be great because of his rocket arm and his level of production. Regardless of my previous feelings on the matter, I can say that Cutler does have a world of potential and some production to back it up.

Here is hoping that Cutler can be the best quarterback in the history of the Chicago Bears.

NFL Network: Chicago Bears draft needs

March 28, 2009

Breaking up the state of the franchise segement into two less grueling on the eyes posts, we come to part two team needs. Most everyone that is a Bears fan and has a pulse understands what the Bears’ team needs are.

Charles Davis who is serving as a draft analyst on the NFL Network points out mostly what we already know. The needs Davis specifically targets in his statement are offensive tackle, wide receiver and defensive line. But Davis projects the Bears utilizing the #18th overall selection on Hakeem Nicks wide receiver from North Carolina.

Davis states that Kyle Orton needs another weapon to stretch the defenses and Hakeem Nicks provides just that. Big, strong, fast, smooth with terrific hands, I think Hakeem Nicks would be a terrific selection for the Chicago Bears.

Based on a lot of the scouting reports I’ve read about Hakeem Nicks he doesn’t seem to have a real weakness to his game. Nicks is arguably the most complete WR in the draft opposite Jeremy Crabtree. The one true thing that old Nicks back, ever so slightly from being THE most complete WR in the draft is his lack of ideal or elite speed in his 40-yard dash times.

However when you pop in the tape of Nicks you can see that he has plenty of speed to make big plays. In the Miami game, Nicks had a huge day making plays which may have been his national coming out party for NFL scouts and analysts.

His exclamation point game came in the final game of the season , the bowl game against West Virginia. Nicks attempted to take on the West Virginia team by himself, attempting to win the game on his own by finishing with eight catches for 217-yards and three touchdowns against the Mountaineers. Nicks was a man possessed in the game with his game-breaking receiving ability.

Nicks fits into the mold of a complete player who will be available at 18 because of his perceived lack of game-breaking speed. But it should be noted the lack of game breaking speed that Jerry Rice and Anquan Boldin showed at the NFL combine as well. Nicks fits into that physical mold of receiver as well.

In our earlier combine coverage we covered what Indianapolis Colts GM Bill Polian had to say about Nicks during his combine workout:

Hakeem Nicks is a very very good player, he’s got a great feel for routes, he’s got very very good hands, he’s got exceptional run after the catch, and he’s a very strong guy. And I think he’s going to have a very fine career in the National Football League.

Nicks was a player I noticed early into the college football season during the ESPN televised game of Miami versus North Carolina. Nicks stood out to me then and I followed him throughout the rest of the season.

It’s almost to the point the way the hype as built around Nicks and the way the draft board is aligning itself and the Bears’ needs that they would be foolish not to draft Hakeem Nicks. This is not to say that there are other great players out there, Nicks just seems to be the near consensus pick that would suit the Bears the best at #18.