Posts Tagged ‘Chicago Bears free agency’
A late evening practice at Olivet Nazarene University was a welcome relief with the recent warm temperatures of the day time hours. The Bears have been going in full pads non-stop a break from the lighter training camps of years past. The team has responded in kind with some solid intensity and is showing some subtle signs on defense that they may be able to revert back to a form more acceptable in Chicago.
While the Bears may never again be one of the top five or better units in the league, it would be nice to see them improve to a top-15 rating or better. Leading the charge on defense has been the old crusty veteran Brian Urlacher. Urlacher has made some pretty outstanding INTs in practice and is showing signs of being a player more capable of making plays than he was the last two years. While the “old man” may not be the dominant speed force he once was, rest assured with Urlacher bigger and stronger he should go back to better helping to fill the lanes on run defense.
Other than Urlacher, Alex Brown has been ratcheting up his intensity level. Brown has sort of become a team spokesman with all the camera time and radio time he’s had since the start of camp, but Brown seems to have a chip on his shoulder. Brown seems to have always played with a chip on his shoulder in the NFL ever since he was drafted later than he expected to be. A fourth round selection Brown had first round talent coming out of Florida, but alleged character concerns and issues caused him to fall to the Bears. Ever since then it’s as if Brown has been trying to prove himself. While he hasn’t always been productive, having been demoted to second team after Mark Anderson’s rookie year, Brown has never wavered in his determination to be a starter and a damn good football player. Brown’s best success may have been his play against the run last year, specifically the play against the Philadelphia Eagles that sealed the victory.
Brown is going up against monster Orlando Pace and has been holding his own against the future hall of famer. This would seem to bode well for future blockers Brown will line up across, because there aren’t too many future hall of famers lining up at LT these days. What we’d like to see is more sack production from Brown, but overall the best thing to see is just pressure on the QB. Sacks are the stat that stands out the most, but QB hurries, knockdowns, pressure, etc can be just as effective in taking a QB out of his rhythm.
Rookie Al Afalava stepped up his game recently too with his promotion to the first team yesterday with Kevin Payne out for minor injury soreness. Afalava has been impressive and continues to be impressive on a daily basis proving that Angelo knows his late round DB talent. When the fans are scrambling for Angelo to take a safety early, the Angler seems to always be able to sit back and wait always seeming to find an NFL capable starter on the second day. Payne himself as well as Chris Harris are examples of gems that Angelo has found late in the draft. Afalava is a solid player who is improving in coverage, but is primarily showing his worth as an in the box defender. Given that the Bears’ defense is a one gap scheme that requires all 11 defenders to account for a gap, Afalava is a perfect fit at either strong or free safety.
You know things are going well for you when the coach mentions you by name and other veterans are taking note. Afalava seems to be determined to get playing time as a rookie, significant time at that. All this leads to his consistent level of practice play that is impressive. Hopefully moving forward this is just a sign of great things to come.
Elsewhere on offense Brandon Rideau is quietly making plays on a consistent basis. Rideau is likely going to keep his spot on the roster with his moving up to third on the depth chart behind starters Devin Hester and Earl Bennett. Rideau’s lanky frame offers a great target for QB Jay Cutler and he has deceptive speed down the field. Rideau made a few big catches yesterday notably two in a row during the two minute drill. Also of note was that he led the team in touchdowns during the pre-season last year so he has proved himself a bit.
Most everyone is counting on Rideau and are seeing the general things that he has shown to this point. Rideau has quietly become the story of camp in the last couple days. He is starting to show that ability that the Bears need out of their receivers and there is a near unanimous belief that this could be a break out year for Rideau.
Devin Hester also made a pretty spectacular catch along the side line last night. Hester laid out in front of the out of bounds line and made a stretch grab while staying in bounds. Hester just seems to be practicing better and better and is showing the ability to make the tough catch.
Back on defense rookie Jarron Gilbert got time with the starting defense manning the three-techique DT spot while Tommie Harris rested his knee. Gilbert is getting on the field a lot more now getting his fair share of reps and making plays. When he’s given the opportunity Gilbert has stepped up. He has a knack for getting in the gaps, getting up field and making plays.
Lastly the player most associated with being demoted and being the worst player on the offensive line, Josh Beekman. Left guard Josh Beekman is still running with the first team and is still playing better than Frank Omiyale. Fans can rip on Beekman all the want, but he’s not going away and he’s only getting better. For a third year player Beekman is where you’d want him to be. The Bears sure would prefer to have Steve Hutchinson or a young Ruben Brown in his prime at the LG spot, but Beekman is out there and is performing well. He works hard looks bigger and stronger than last year and is refusing to give in and walk away knowing that Frank Omiyale’s contract number likely means he’ll be starting ahead of Beekman. Josh Beekman is here on the team and he’s here to stay at the starting left guard spot whether the Windy City Nation likes it or not. He’s there as the starter until further notice.
Two relatively high draft picks were spent on two players who were thought to be addressing needs on the team in 2009. Henry Melton provides the speed off the edge that the Bears seem to lack with his 4.6 40-yard dash time and his explosion off the edge. While Juaqin Iglesias is supposed to develop into a solid two option if not a number one option at receiver. To this point of training camp neither has been very impressive at either one of their jobs.
Juaqin Iglesias was talked about as being worthy of the second round selection the Bears traded away. Most everyone viewed him as a player that should have been taken at that slot. Ironically six receivers and nearly two rounds of draft later, the Bears scooped Iglesias up at 99th overall in the back end of the third round with their compensatory pick. Iglesias’ value was seen as high for that slot in the draft, but to this point it appears that his value was on target or maybe even a shade under the third round.
To this point he has yet to establish himself among the top receivers on the roster. Through OTAs and the first week of training camp Iglesias has struggled with his consistency catching the football, and in his route running which is far from polished. There has even been discussion and observation between most of the analysts about who really is the receiver drafted in the third round (Iglesias) and the receiver drafted in the fifth round (Johnny Knox). Johnny Knox has shown a superb level of speed and pretty consistent hands through OTAs and on into training camp. Knox is pushing for playing time against some of the more experience veterans.
Iglesias may only make the roster at this point due to his high draft status and Angelo’s penchant for “red shirting” inexperienced rookies who have time developing over the steep rookie learning curve they see. He seems like a candidate to miss a lot of the season the same way Earl Bennett did last year. Bennett by the way is looking better after a year of development.
On the defensive side of the ball most Bears fans were asking Who is that? When the Bears selected defensive end Henry Melton early in the fourth round of the NFL draft. Melton is a converted RB/FB to defensive end and has only played the position for two seasons in college. To say that Melton is a raw project may be a bit of an understatement. He is however a big athlete with a lot of speed. Whether or not that translates into a spot on the 53-man roster over a spot on the practice squad remains to be seen. As it stands now Melton is easily behind O-Gun, Brown, Anderson and Idonijae who is back full time at DE this season. That’s a solid four DEs that are ahead of him on the depth chart leaving it very unlikely he will make the 53-man cut.
With Mark Anderson having a better camp and looking a bit improved over the past two years Melton’s job of making the cut is even harder to overcome. Melton has all the tools you look for yes but will it ever develop into something more? That remains to be seen.
While not every rookie the Bears draft will make the 53-man roster and the odds were already stacked against Iglesias and Melton for the most part. There is some comfort in seeing Knox and safety Al Afalava exceed expectations thus far in camp.
The first sign of trouble is when you have unhappy players not showing up to mandatory mini-camps. Marshall was already tied to possible trade and free agency rumors with the Chicago Bears, now he is skipping a mandatory practice.
The question is will this grow into something more, and something possibly positive for the Bears.
The need for receivers is well documented and while the Bears won’t be able to Marshall this season. The thought is he could be a possibility at the end of his rookie contract.
This little story may be nothing, but it is something to follow if you’re a fan of the Chicago Bears.
Marshall was extremely productive in Denver playing with Jay Cutler and their positive relationship as teammates is well documented.
I wonder if the young Josh McDaniels is starting to prove that he is in fact over his head and is benefitting from the Patriots already strong offense.
From various reports today, but primarily from ESPN 1000 Bears beat writer Jeff Dickerson I was able to gather information from today’s organized team activities.
These OTAs as they are more commonly known are usually informal, voluntary workouts and practices that go on during the off-season. The workouts consist of your typical, basic fundamental and again HEAVY on the informal aspects of drills and practicing.
Today was the first time the media was allowed access to these OTAs and there were some news and notes to pass along.
Most notably was Tommie Harris did not participate in any of the drills or stretch and was not in action. This seems to be a recurring theme with Harris since his hamstring problem from the 2006 season. Harris has not been a 100-percent participant in any aspect of practice, workouts, mini-camps or OTAs. He usually rests for some and in some cases, ALL of the workouts.
Sure everyone can say don’t look into this, don’t read to much into it, or make any assumptions based on such an informal level of workouts.
Problem is this seems to be consistent for a player like Tommie Harris. This all seems to be related to his injury concerns and, or knee problems that seem to continually keep him on the side line.
In order to take the next step in his development and become the player the Bears are paying him to be, you’d like to see more consistent participation. Warren Sapp was quoted as saying that Harris could be one of the most dominant DTs in the league and we’ll see what type of player he can be now that Rod Marinelli is in the fold.
But you just don’t see the consistency in his work habits to say emphatically he will be a force on the D-Line for the next eight or nine years. I think it’s safe to say that bus has passed Tommie Harris by and it’s better to just thing of him as an important cog in the defense, but not the game changer he was in 2005 and for part of the 2006 season.
Also held out of workouts were Charles Tillman who seems to be consistently in the same boat as Tommie Harris. He’s just a constant injury concern and is never playing or practicing at a level he once did.
Marcus Harrison was also held out today from OTAs. With that news Israel Idonije practiced today at the DT position. Of course consistent reports have been that Idonije will primarily be focusing on the DE position this year. That said, the Bears will always utilize the versatility he offers by being able to play either position.
Corey Graham today took reps with the second team today at safety. An intriguing development given that Graham has been one of the most consistent players at CB. With Graham working at safety, Zachary Bowman was lined up with the first team at CB. The secondary was made up of newly acquired Josh Bullocks, Kevin Payne and Craig Steltz.
Steltz has been talked about by the coaching staff as the likely player who will be starting at free safety this year. Steltz at times looked shaky last season, but has the full confidence of the coaching staff.
Pro Football Weekly reported that CB Roderick Hood of the Arizona Cardinals is coming to visit Halas Hall next week. Hood may not be a big name free agent, but he does have a solid resume and veteran experience playing in the NFL.
On offense Jay Cutler did as he promised he would do when he came, that is re-establish his relationship with Earl Bennett. Bennett and Cutler played together at Vanderbilt and the chemistry paid off today with Bennett catching a lot of passes from Cutler.
Cutler as expected looked very sharp on every ball he through. It’s going to take a while for local Bears fans and media alike to get used to having a QB who has a strong, sharp and accurate arm. We know Cutler will look better than any QB who has ever walked the a hallowed grounds of Soldier Field. But reality still hasn’t set in for most of us, that yes the Bears have a franchise quarterback.
Josh Beekman still has a lock on the first team left guard position. Beekman is ahead of Frank Omiyale at this point, but it may not last until opening day. Omiyale will have to win the position, he won’t simply just be given the right to start.
On the injury concern flip side LT Orlando Pace was out there today and looked healthy and sharp. Pace is a grizzled veteran who sets the tone for any of the young rookies or younger players. Pace may miss some OTAs (Love Smith is known to rest veterans) or he may be out there every day to make it a point that he’s healthy and ready to go.
Chris Williams as was reported early after the Orlando Pace signing was indeed working with the offense as the first team right tackle. Backing him up was newly signed Kevin Shaffer. Shaffer is a classy guy with a solid veteran background who should not only push Williams but also be a mentor.
At strong side linebacker both Joey LaRocque and Hunter Hillenmeyer were held out today. Also free agent Pisa Tinoisamoa was out there today to watch practice. There is a strong possibility that Tinoisamoa signs with the Bears. At 6-foot-1 240-pounds he represents a stouter and possibly stronger option at the SAM ‘backer position. Still he’s not the ideal candidate out there to be a starter.
Overall the day went about as well as could have been expected. It is nice to have media coverage to these events. All this action should help ease the lull of the next month and a half leading up to two a days down in Bourbannais.
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.
The Bears have arguably had a bigger need to land a veteran wide receiver than they have had a need for an OT, S and QB. The receiver was the least productive position on the team last year, possibly in the league. Yet the Bears made no move towards landing a single WR in free agency and don’t appear to be making a move with veterans Marvin Harrison and Torry Holt on the market.
So the question is why? Holt has a lingering knee problem that have kept teams at bay and Harrison is 36 not exactly goiing to get a lot of production out him at his age. Delving further into things the Bears appear to be intent on landing a WR via the draft first and foremost. The strong majority of their pre-draft focus has been on WRs specifically possession type receivers that can take the heat off of Devin Hester on the deep patterns where he can best utilize his speed to get open and make plays in the open field in one on one situations.
So the question that seems to be on every fan’s mind is why haven’t the Bears signed a receiver and who will they draft? The answer seems to be the Bears could just draft a player to come in and be the number two guy behind Hester who undoubtedly will be the first receiver. As much as it makes sense to everyone given the immediate need for receivers, only one additional receiver may come on board.
Why? I suspect that it could be because the Bears don’t want to upset the balance they currently have with Devin Hester. Why is the balance with Hester seemingly so delicate? Simple Hester’s extended contract is structured such that he’ll only get the big money for production as a receiver. Last year during Hester’s contract stalemate that happened at this time it was for more money. So what did the Bears say to Hester? We’ll pay you big money, but we’re not going to pay you elite receiver money unless you give us elite receiver production. Hester’s salary is designed to pay him based on the production he shows as a potential wide receiver.
So what happens if the Bears draft a player in the second round who comes in and becomes the number one receiver or number two receiver behind a veteran presence like Marvin Harrison or Torry Holt? Hester could be relegated to the third receiver on the team, there by limiting his production and also limiting the amount of money he makes. As evidenced by some of the comments made by Hester last year, he will be one unhappy player if he’s not given the best opportunity to make his money.
While it makes the most sense to just about everyone that Hester’s touches should be somewhat limited so that his production as a return man picks back up, there is the risk of making Hester unhappy. The last thing the Bears want to do is upset the locker room or the balance of this developing offense.
Little has been said about the Bears’ need for a free safety since the signing of Josh Bullocks followed by the signings of OTs Kevin Shaffer and Orlando Pace and the trade for Jay Cutler. Make no mistake though the need for a prospect possibly in the later rounds of the draft that could come in and develop as a free safety is there.
A prospect who caught the eye of the Chicago Bears enough that he earned the right to a private workout invite was Oregon State’s Al Afalava. Instantly people are scratching their heads at a prospect who was not invited to workout at the NFL combine. Furthermore they’re left wondering what level of prospect he is because he didn’t receive much in the way of post-season awards or honors. What is important to take into account though regarding a possible sleeper prospect like Afalava is he came from a conference that is rich in safety talent this year.
Taylor Mays would have been a sure fire first round pick had he come out this year, so he automatically overshadows everyone in the conference. Patrick Chung from Oregon State, who is a second round level prospect and then ASU’s Troy Nolan is another who was invited to the combine to compete and workout for NFL scouts. All are just players from the Pac-10 conference who were recognized for their accomplishments in 2008.
So along comes this Oregon State Beaver prospect from Corvallis Oregon. For those who aren’t familiar with Corvallis, it’s in the middle of no where and to get there is a hike by bus or car because there is no airport nearby. So who emerges from Oregon State’s pro day but a safety who measures a respectable 5-foot-11 comes in at 210-pounds and runs in the 4.46 to 4.48 range in the 40-yard dash. No big deal you say? Okay so he follows it up with 25 reps on the bench press and a broad jump of 10-feet-7 inches. His workout number would have been the best all around effort of any of the safeties invited to the combine.
Okay so he’s a workout warrior, and his senior stats are only 36 tackles and eight pass break ups and two interceptions. Well what do you expect from a sleeper prospect who is slated to go in the later rounds of the NFL draft. Not every prospect on here is going to a first or second round prospect as much as every Bears fan wants them to be. Afalava’s biggest problem was he got into a bit of trouble with a DUI incident where he crashed into a bus stop and then fled the scene of the accident. Scared stupid college kid mistake that will be studied over greatly by the Bears coaching staff. We can go over his character with a fine tooth comb, but all that matter is how he would act if he were a Chicago Bears player.
His best year was his junior year where he raked in 64 total tackles which ranked his third best on the team. The important aspect of Afalava that will probably be overlooked because he doesn’t have all the glitz and glamor of stats that people want to see is that has aspects of his game that can’t be coached, that’s athleticism and speed and strength. Plus there is more than just the Bears looking at this prospect after his pro day workout.
What we do know for certain is this, Jerry Angelo has earned our trust as fans when it comes to judging DB talent in the later rounds. He has had good if not arguably great success at find talent from rounds four on back. Al Afalava of Oregon State is one of those prospects to keep an eye, especially when considering the reputation of the new secondary coach.
You would think with the additions of Frank Omiyale, Orlando Pace and Kevin Shaffer that the Chicago Bears would not be thinking about getting younger on the offensive line. Given the limited number of draft picks the needs at CB, WR, S, SAM LB, DE, that the Bears would be out of the O-Line draft scouting. That line of thought in not really accurate and to prove it the Bears recently scouted a little known offensive tackle from Eastern Michigan.
TJ Lang is a 6-foot-4 316-pound tackle prospect who moved over to the offensive line from the defensive line. Lang is not one of the top prospects in the draft mind you but he is a prospect that has worked his way up draft boards recently. Lang was not invited to the NFL Combine but he has earned enough respect 22 scouts showed up for his pro day workout. His stock is on the rise and he has ability that measures out well for potential success on the next level.
His positives as a prospect include playing the OT position like a defensive guy. A converted defensive tackle Lang plays with a mean streak and loves to be tough nasty and physical. He is your typical blue collar lineman that initially caught Angelo’s attention at the little known Texas versus the nation All-Star game. Lang also offers a level of versatility in that he could end up playing guard at the next level, his more natural projection is as a guard. Lang is the type of player that works well in limited space as he is not known for being the prototype OT with athleticism and balance.
Some of the aspects that may cause teams to shy away from Lang is his lack of athleticism and some say his lack of ideal size. He may be a bit of a tweener and at times has trouble sustaining his blocks. He has short arms which is why he better projects as a guard.
Some draft boards have him rated as high as a third round prospect but given his lack of an invite to the NFL scouting combine I think it’s likely he’ll fall past the third round as it’s rare that a non-combine invitee is taken as high as the third round. Know this however in the case of TJ Lang he has earned respect and the attention of Jerry Angelo himself.
Given Lang’s invite for a private workout it seems likely that if he has value to some as high as a third round prospect, but he slides into the later due to lack of recognition and exposure he could have some real sleep value in rounds four and five.
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.