Posts tagged with: Jay Cutler

What the Seattle Seahawks think of the Bears

It’s always interesting to learn what sports experts in other cities think of our Bears. If you visit the Web site of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, you’ll uncover a preview of the Bears. And what do the fine minds in Seattle think? Well, they have the feeling that new quarterback Jay Cutler will improve the Bears offense. But they’re not sure if the Bears are going to win anything anyway.

The newspaper points out the Bears’ obvious flaws: The offensive line is a weak, and relying on aging, injury-prone Orlando Pace probably isn’t the smartest move. The wide receivers stink. The loss of Tommie Harris and Charles Tillman for the first month of the season, at least, will stress an already questionable defense.

It’s hard to argue with any of this. Some Bears fans are blinded by the arrival of a real quarterback. We haven’t seen many of those here in Chicago, after all. But even a rifle arm isn’t enough to disguise the Bears’ real problems. My prediction? 9-7, again. And no playoff berth, again.

Instant analysis: Preseason football blows

They need to stop television preseason football. All it does every year is make Chicago Bears fans think the team’s backup quarterbacks are future ProBowlers.

It happened again Saturday night during the Bears’ 27-20 loss to the Buffalo Bills in their preseason opener: Starting quarterback Jay Cutler looked pedestrian in his outing. The backups, though, looked good.

Of course, the backups were playing against the dregs of the Bills’ lineup against a slew of players who’ll never make the field during the regular season.

So, was there anything worthwhile to take from the Bears’ loss? Only that the secondary might be as bad as we all feared. I know I just said preseason football means nothing, but Bills quarterback Trent Edwards completed all 10 of the passes he threw. That’s pretty darn good. Or pretty darn bad if you’re a Bears fan.

At least one preseason game is done. As the baseball season gets more frustrating here in Chicago, I’m waiting eagerly for the start of football games that really count.

Are Bears overrated?

Training camp is an odd time. You can either leave it completely in love with a mediocre team or horrified by what you see from a highly regarded squad.

That’s because you spend much of training camp watching scrubs try to tackle other scrubs. Sometimes, these scrubs look great. Other times, they look like scrubs.

But this Chicago Bears training camp is something different. This was supposed to be new quarterback Jay Cutler’s camp. And so far, Cutler’s looked impressive. It’s nice to see what passes look like when they’re thrown by a quarterback who has a real arm.

But this training camp has also unearthed a whole slew of questions. First, is cornerback Nathan Vasher ever going to be good again? He hasn’t looked like it during training camp. Secondly, what about Tommie Harris? Will he revert to his old form again, or have injuries robbed him of his Pro-Bowl skill? Based on training camp, unfortunately, it looks like Harris won’t be returning to the Pro Bowl anytime soon.

Then there are the wide receivers. They all sort of stink. We knew that before training camp. We know that now.

And what about running back Matt Forte? He had an impressive rookie year. But he wore down at the end of the season. Is he just a one-year wonder? It’s impossible to tell from this training camp, at least.

Many consider the Bears to be favorites to win their division. That’s partly because Cutler is such an upgrade over former starting quarterback Kyle Orton. It’s partly because the Bears’ division just isn’t very strong.

Still, when you look really closely at the division, it becomes more difficult to make the argument that the Minnesota Vikings aren’t a more complete team.

Bad news for Tillman, Bears

There was just too much good news surrounding the Bears lately. They picked up new quarterback Jay Cutler, somehow. They found a new offensive lineman with past Pro Bowl credentials in Orlando Pace. And then came the news that both Brian Urlacher and Tommie Harris reported to mini-camp looking hungrier and trimmer than ever.

You just knew the bad news had to happen. This is the Chicago Bears, after all, a team that’s managed to win just one SuperBowl, a squad where wide receivers and quarterbacks seemingly go to die.

That bad news came this morning: Veteran defensive back Charles Tillman is out indefinitely after having back surgery.

Yes, this is serious bad news. The Bears’ defensive backfield is already a disaster. This injury leaves it even shorter on talent.

It all means one thing: Cutler’s going to have to throw an awful lot of touchdown passes.

Bears’ Cutler, Smith munch with Barack

I’m beginning to think that Pres. Barack Obama is enjoying himself a bit too much. I mean, isn’t the economy still in shambles? Isn’t health-insurance reform falling apart? Don’t we still have two wars going on?

Yet our Commander in Chief spends Thursday evening eating dinner with Lovie Smith and Jay Cutler. What gives? Is Obama presenting the two Bears with a new offensive game plan? Maybe he wanted to press Smith to find a wide receiver or two?

You can read about the big event here, in this story by the Chicago Tribune’s Fred Mitchell. And if you didn’t get invited to the big dinner, don’t sweat it. You know what an awful conversationalist Lovie Smith is.

An outsider’s view of the Bears receivers

To hear Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo tell it, the Bears have the league’s deepest crew of wide receivers. They see Devin Hester as a budding star. Earl Bennett, who caught exactly zero passes last year, has improved greatly. And the rookie wide receivers the Bears drafted are all poised to become the next Jerry Rice.

Of course, all of this is nonsense. The Bears receivers are terrible. The team might have the worst receiving corps in the NFL. Thank goodness for tight ends Desmond Clarkand Gregg Olsen.

It’s interesting, though, to read about what bloggers covering other teams think of the wide receiver situation here in Chicago. For instance, you might check out this post on the Lombardi Avenue blog. The writer of the blog, which covers, not surprisingly, the Green Bay Packers, refers to a radio interview given by Donald Driver, in which the Green Bay receiver says that the Bears have no real quality wide receivers.

The blog writer, wisely, agrees with Driver.

It’s no secret across the league that defensive backs don’t fear the Bears wide receivers. It’s a shame that the Bears acquired a franchise quarterback in Jay Cutler, but still have hardly anyone for him to throw to.

My biggest Bears disappointment: The postseason

Back in the mid- to late-80s, I expected the Bears to win every Sunday.

Until the playoffs, that is. When the playoffs started, I usually expected trouble. And I was usually right. After 1985, when the Bears, of course, went 3-0 and won the SuperBowl, the Bears compiled a putrid 1980s playoff record of 1-3. In 1990 and 1991, the Bears went an additional 1-2 in the playoffs. The Bears made the playoffs once more in the 1990s, under Dave Wannstedt, and went 1-1 again.

That makes a playoff record of 3-6 in the 1980s and 1990s after the 1985 SuperBowl.

The Bears made the playoffs three times from 2000 to today. The team’s record in these games is pretty mediocre, too: 2-3. That gives us a postseason record of 5-9 in 14 playoff games since the SuperBowl winning year.

Of course, the Bears did go to a second SuperBowl in 2006, though we all know how that turned out.

There is hope, though. The reason for many of those nine playoff losses was horrible quarterback play. Today, in Jay Cutler, the Bears finally have a real NFL quarterback. Maybe the team’s postseason record will improve.

Not everyone thinks Bears wide receivers stink

What’s the biggest problem with the Chicago Bears, right now?

Did you say “wide receiver?” If you did, you’re like most fans out there. Including me.

However, there are some out there who aren’t as worried about the receiver position. You can read this post over at the Bleacher Report blog. The writer argues that the Bears aren’t that bad at receiver. He points to Devin Hester and tight ends Desmond Clark and Gregg Olsen as the reason why.

I’ll agree that Clark and Olsen are two of the best receiving tight ends in the game right now. And that’s a true advantage for the Bears.

But Hester? He’d be fine as a number-three receiver, maybe even a number-two. But as a number-one receiver? He’s not even close yet. He led the Bears in receiving last year wtih decidedly below-average catches and yards. This might change with new quarterback Jay Cutler throwing him the ball. It may not.

And after Hester, who exactly is the number-two receiver? Is it fumble-fingered Rashied Davis, who can’t catch anything? Or is it Earl Bennett, who caught exactly zero passes in his rookie season?

There’s no denying that the Bears’ wide receivers are a lame lot. Yes, they have their tight ends and a good pass-catching running back in Matt Forte. But they still need a receiver that can put some fear in opponents. They don’t have that now.

Do the Bears need a backup running back?

The Bears had a lot of needs to fill this offseason. Credit Jerry Angelo will addressing many of them: He found a potential franchise quarterback. He added Orlando Pace to the offensive line. He added depth to the linebacking corps.

Of course, that leaves a few needs left unfilled, wide receiver being the most glaring. But there’s still time, and some hope, that Angelo will find a veteran free agent to play receiver.

But what about backup running back?

This may not seem like a huge need. But consider that starter Matt Forte is only entering his second season. Who knows if he’ll be as good this year as he was last season? Remember, too, that Forte wore down significantly as the season went on. He had some non-productive games during the year.

And just who is the backup to Forte? Do we trust the Bears’ Adrian Petersen or Garret Wolfe? I know I don’t.

New quarterback Jay Cutler will want a strong a running game. It’ll only increase his ability to be a game-changer. But if Forte goes down with injury, or isn’t as effective this season as he was in his rookie campaign, that running game isn’t going to be offering a lot of help.

USA Today takes a whack at the Bears

Few teams have had as eventful an offseason as have the Chicago Bears. The Jay Cutler signing alone guaranteed that.

Now the USA Today has devoted a signficant amount of space to previewing the Bears’ upcoming season, largely because of the Cutler trade. The big surprise is that the paper actually does a good job of analyzing the Bears.

For instance, the USA Today story rightly skewers the Bears’ once proud defense. The story even points to the defense as the main reason why the Bears missed the playoffs for a second straight season last year.

However, the paper is a bit too kind to Kyle Orton and his play. Let’s not forget that in two of the Bears’ late-season wins — against the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints — Orton played like garbage. The Bears, in fact, should have lost both of those games, which would have left the team with a 7-9 record. That record would have been more appropriate for how the Bears played throughout the season.