Posts tagged with: Jay Cutler

Is it up to the tight ends to provide the passing offense this season?

Jay Cutler may wish he was back in Denver by the time this season ends. Of course, if the Bears do find a veteran wide receiver somewhere, than Cutler will probably have a fine time this year.

Will that happen? Who knows? For now, though, the Bears organization continues to insist that Devin Hester, who led the team with 51 catches for 665 yards, is a number-one receiver. I guess that makes dropsy-plagued Rashied Davis a number-two. Shudder.

The best receivers on the team are actually Gregg Olsen and Desmond Clark. Too bad they’re tight ends. The third best receiver is probably Matt Forte. Too bad he’s a running back.

That makes Hester the fourth best receiver on this squad.

Cutler can throw deep. That might help Hester. Or it might just frustrate Cutler when he finds out that no other Bears receiver can get open deep on a consistent basis.

My hope is that this post will soon become moot. There’s always hope that the Bears actually will pick up a real live NFL receiver.

Stranger things have happened. I mean, look at what the Bears did in April. They actually found a quarterback. Who would have predicted that?

Why the Vikings are still the favorites in the NFC North

I really want to believe that the Bears, powered by the strong arm of Jay Cutler, will win the NFC North this year.

It’s hard to force myself to believe this, though. Yes, it’s a fairly weak division. But I still think the Vikings, though they’re certainly not Super Bowl contenders, are still the smarter choice to win the division.

Here’s why: The Vikings have a good, tough defense. They have arguably the game’s most explosive running back. And if Brett Favre plays for them this year, they’ll have a quarterback who is just good enough.

The Bears meanwhile, still have a lot of question marks. Yes, Jerry Angelo did fill some holes, most notably with Cutler, finally acquiring a quarterback that defensive backs will fear. But remember, that Bears defense has been lousy since the SuperBowl year. Brian Urlacher appears to be winding down. Mike Brown is gone, with not much talent to replace him.

I’m still not sold on Matt Forte, either. Yes, he had a solid rookie season. But he wore down terribly as the season went on. And he’s more of a solid back when he’s on. He’s not a gamebreaker.

Then there are the receivers. Simply put, this is a terrible group. Devin Hester is not a number-one receiver, no matter how many times Lovie Smith says he is. And we’re relying on Earl Bennett? The same Earl Bennett who caught exactly zero passes last season?

I’m sorry, but there are too many holes on these Bears.

Which Bear has the most to prove this year? Urlacher

There are a lot of Bears that have something to prove this year.

Devin Hester has to prove he’s a number-one receiver. Jay Cutler has to prove he’s ready to be a leader. Rashied Davis has to prove he can actually catch the ball.

And then there’s Brian Urlacher. Remember when he was one of the most feared defensive players in the league? Well, those days are gone. Injuries have made sure that Urlacher will never again be that dynamo that caused opposing offensive coordinators so many headaches. But that doesn’t mean that Urlacher can’t still be a force on the field.

He’ll just have to do it in a different way.

Urlacher has always had trouble shedding blockers. Hopefully, Lovie Smith will use Urlacher’s speed. He sitll has that. And he can still use that to disrupt passing plays and chase down running backs, if Smith figures out a way to get him away from big, meaty blockers.

If Urlacher has an outstanding season, so will the Bears’ defense. If he struggles again, expect the defense to give up its share of long drives and points this season.

Maybe the Broncos and Bears will just switch rosters

Former Bears wide receiver — for one year, at least — Brandon Lloyd signed with the Denver Broncos yesterday. He joins Kyle Orton, the former Bears quarterback who was the guy responsible for throwing him passes yesterday.

Lloyd was one strange guy last year. In September, he was Orton’s go-to guy. Lloyd snagged 15 passes in September for 249 yards. Those aren’t Hall-of-Fame numbers, but they were certainly better than the stats the rest of the Bears’ awful receivers put up.

Then something happened. Lloyd got hurt. I’m then assuming that head coach Lovie Smith wasn’t happy with the way Lloyd rehabbed. Because ever since the injury , Lloyd barely played a role in the Bears’ offense. After his strong September, Lloyd finished the season with just 26 catches for 364 yards and two touchdowns.

For those not quick with the numbers, that’s just 11 catches after September.

I don’t imagine Lloyd will put up much better numbers with the Broncos. Remember, he’s got Kyle Orton throwing to him. Orton’s not exactly a model of passing efficiency.

When are you too old to wear an Urlacher jersey?

I think anyone over the age of 25 should never be caught wearing a Brian Urlacher jersey … except for Brian Urlacher, of course.

That goes for Lance Brigg, Jay Cutler or Brad Maynard jerseys, too.

It’s time to face the facts: You look kind of like a dork when you’re of a certain age and you’re wearing a big football jersey.

You’re not on the team. You may say “we” when you’re referring to how the Bears did in the draft. But that doesn’t make you a teammate of Urlacher’s.

Maybe this is just me, though. I’ve always been annoyed by some of the odd clothing choices that men make after hitting 25. I’ve seen them in public in sweat pants. No. This is not good.

I’ve ever seen grown men wearing shirts with Mickey Mouse or the Tasmanian Devil on them. C’mon! Mickey Mouse is a hack, for one thing. If you were cool, you’d be a fan of Bugs Bunny. And secondly, what’s a grown man doing wearing any cartoon character on his chest.

I know it’s only the beginning of summer. I know the football season is still a ways off. But a warning can never come too early. If you’re an adult male, don’t pick up that Olen Kreutz jersey. No, it doesn’t look good on you.

Why does Tony Dungy care what the Bears do?

Former Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Tony Dungy stirred up a bit of controversey last week when he publicly questioned the Bears for trading for new quarterback Jay Cutler. It’s the kind of story that becomes news when there’s not much else going on.

Dungy, of course, is free to have his opinion. I personally think he’s wrong: The Bears, and their fans, have had to suffer with bad quarterbacking for so long, it’s nice to finally have a guy who can throw an accurate deep ball. What I don’t get, though, is why Dungy even made such a public statement.

Why does he care what the Bears do? He’s never had any connection with the Bears. He’s had to suffer with his own poor quarterbacks in his Buccanneers days. (Shaun King. Remember him?) He, of all people, should understand how important a top quarterback is to a team. I don’t remember Dungy winning any SuperBowls until after his quarterback became Petyon Manning.

So don’t worry about it, Tony. Maybe Cutler will fail. Maybe he’ll succeed. But the Bears would have been foolish to stick with Kyle Orton at quarterback.

Don’t believe me? Just ask Denver fans after next season ends.

Angelo really does like these receivers?

The annual Bears Expo took place last weekend at Soldier Field. Of course, most of the buzz there centered on new quarterback Jay Cutler.

But there was an interesting sidebar, of course, centering on the Bears’ weak cast of wide receivers. According to a story in the Sun-Times, several attendees at the expo questioned Bears general manager Jerry Angelo on who, exactly, the prized new quarterback is supposed to throw to.

It’s a big question. Devin Hester isn’t really a number-one receiver, no matter what Angelo and head coach Lovie Smith say. And you can’t really tout the virtues of second-year receiver Earl Bennett when the receiver didn’t even make it onto the field last year.

But Angelo defended the team’s wide receivers under fan questioning. Maybe it’s all a smokescreen, and Angelo is furiously working the phones behind the scenes to find a new, veteran wide receiver.

For Cutler’s sake, I hope that’s the case. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bears starting the season with their rather sorry lot at receiver. And that’s too bad: These receivers can make any quarterback look ordinary.

Running game the key to this Bears season?

If you’ve never visited Da’ Bears Blog, make sure you do so. It’s a fun blog to read. Even better, it makes you think. (Not that we should ever think too much about football.)

Anyway, in this recent post, one of the blog’s writers says that though new quarterback Jay Cutler is receiving most of the attention, the real key to the upcoming Bears season is the running game.

The post cites some strong evidence for this belief. In the Bears’ 2006 Superbowl season, the team had only three games with under 100 yards rushing. This is a big reason it won 13 games that year.

In 2008, though, the team had a whopping 10 games where it didn’t rush for 100 yards. It finished with a lucky nine wins. (That stat is a little surprising considering the success of Matt Forte last year. He did, though, tail off significantly at the end of the season.) In 2007, when the Bears won only seven times, they had 12 games where they didn’t manage 100 yards rushing.

Lovie Smith likes to say that the Bears are a running team. But too often, they aren’t. And when they’re not, they lose.

Check out the post at Da’ Bears Blog, and be sure to read the long, long list of comments under it. You just might learn something.

The Bears a top-five team? I don’t think so

I’m a sports pessimist. I always expect the worst. Of course, I’m a fan of Chicago sports teams. More often than not, that pessimism is warranted.

I was surprised, then, to read this report by Andrew Maisonneuve at the excellent sports site bleacher report. In his post, Maisonneuve says that the Bears, thanks to the signing, mostly, of Jay Cutler, are now a top-five team in the NFL.

As much as I’d like to, I just can’t agree. Yes, the Bears finished with a winning record — 9-7 — last season with the inept Kyle Orton as quarterback. But anyone who watched that team knows that the Bears were extremely lucky to get those nine wins. They just as easily could have finished 6-10. Two games stand out, the late-season comeback wins against the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers. The Bears were severely outplayed in each game, and didn’t deseve to win either of them.

Yes, Cutler gives the Bears a new dimension. Yes, he’s an amazing upgrade from Orton. But don’t forget, Cutler’s throwing to the worst group of wide receivers in the league.

Then there’s the defense. This defense is getting older. And for two straight years, it’s been a pretty bad defense, despite the presence of Lance Briggs, Brian Urlacher and Adewale Ogunleye. I don’t see these guys stopping anyone in crucial situations.

That being said, I do think the Bears, thanks to playing in a fairly weak division, will make the playoffs as a 10-6 team. But I woudn’t rank them as either a top-five team or a Super Bowl contender.

Now, if they get some wide receivers between now and opening day? That’d change everything.

Toomer or Boldin? This isn’t really a debate, is it?

These Bears, most notably coach Lovie Smith, have often treated their fans like they’ve never watched an NFL game. Remember last year, when the Bears insisted that they were happy with their wide receivers? Fans certainly weren’t. And after watching a year of Rashied Davies drop passes and Marty Booker practice his disappearing act, no one was happy with the Bears receivers.

Now comes word that the Bears might, just might, take a look at former N. Y. Giants mainstay receiver Amani Toomer.

It’s true that Toomer’s probably better than any receiver currently on the Bears roster, including any late-round draft picks. But it’s also true that Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin is 10 times better than Toomer.

Yes, I know it’d take a near miracle, but maybe the Bears can do something to get Boldin here. Can you imagine the passing yards the Bears would rack up with Cutler passing to Boldin? There might finally be reason to keep your eyes open the next time the Bears have the ball.

It’s hard to believe, but the Bears’ fate this season depends more than ever on the offense. The defense has proven during the last two years that it can’t stop anyone when it matters. The Bears need to win shootouts this year. I’m not sure they can do this with Devin Hester as their top receiver.