Here's what I don't like about the Chicago Bears...
1. The Josh Bullocks Factor
David Haugh called them the most secure mediocre defense in the league and he's right. For Halas Hall to believe this defense is going to rise from the muck because the head coach is calling the plays and because they hired the first man to lost every game he coached in a season is a bit troubling. All, and I mean, all the media attention has been on the quarterback, receivers and offensive line but this team's inability to stop other teams from throwing at-will looks to be their doom again in 2009.
2. No Back-up Quarterback
What happens if Kyle Orton gets hurt? And if the word "Basanez" comes out of your mouth, buy a roll of duct tape.
The Bears are going to open the 2009 season with Chris Williams and Kevin Shaffer at the tackle position. I don't judge either player, since I know very little about either's ability, but they are undeniable question marks. I'm a little tired of question marks at important positions, specifically those responsible for keeping Brett Basanez off the field.
4. Rashied Davis = On the Roster
If the Bears decide to start Rash for another season, I quit. He gets no separation, runs half-assed routes and drops every other ball. Drafting a wide receiver in the first round may make the offense better down the road but it doesn't improve the 9-7 record.
Against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.
This means one thing: I have to sit around at Josie Woods for eight hours and wait for the ballgame to start.
Larry Mayer: Some people were surprised that John St. Clair left the Bears to sign with the Cleveland Browns. How much of a priority was retaining him, and did you view him as a starter or a swing tackle in 2009?
Jerry Angelo: We did view John as a starter and wanted him back. We felt very good about our chances of re-signing John, recognizing his value to our team. Unfortunately, it didn't work out. John did a fine job for us and we wish him well.
Jeff Hughes: Let's stop talking about what you viewed John St. Clair's role as within the organization and start discussing why he's not here. PFT reported that you offered a man - that you say in this article you expected to start at tackle - 4.5 million dollars for three years. He signed with the Browns for twice that. If you view a player as a starter, the best way to show him that is to pay him like one.
LM: With St. Clair now gone, the Bears are very thin at tackle. Do you intend to address the position in free agency, and does St. Clair's departure mean that you have to take a tackle in the first round of the draft?
JA: We have options and we'll continue to explore those options in free agency and obviously the draft. There will also be an after-draft marketplace of veteran players as well. All that we're going through is all part of the process and what most teams go through every offseason. Free agency impacts every team to some degree. We know what we need to do and we feel secure given our options that we will be able to accomplish the plan we laid out to make us a better football team in the '09 season.
JH: You know what would be even better than turning to the "after-draft marketplace of veteran players," Jerry? Signing the player you already had and fixing the team's other issues. By the way, is there a more terrifying phrase than "after-draft marketplace of veteran players." Why doesn't he just call it "the slag heap"?
LM: Which players or position groups are you most closely monitoring during this week's minicamp?
JA: Probably the quarterbacks, wide receivers and defensive backs, given the fact that I can see more in terms of their drill work and the way we have our practices structured in terms of things we're able to do with them on the field. This, like all minicamps, has more to do with player development than player evaluation. The real evaluation starts when we get to training camp and put the pads on. That's when the rubber hits the road.
JH: We only have one quarterback. We have one receiver. Our defensive backs stink.
PFT quotes Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen: "I'm very disappointed...I'm disappointed in the whole picture, not just disappointed that we might lose our star quarterback."
This is a very simple post with a very simple point. Jay Cutler is a supreme talent with Chicago guts. He makes this football team better immediately. He's worth losing whatever draft picks the Broncos ask for. Right now there is an elite talent on the market at quarterback and the Bears have not had that...ever.
Make a phone call, Jerry.
ADDENDUM 2:42 AM
Cutler told Mort he requested a trade from the team. This isn't even funny anymore. Not only will you be getting a supremely talented player but a guy with a chip on his shoulder; eager to prove he's a top quarterback. PUT SOME GODDAMN EXCITEMENT INTO THE FRANCHISE!
The Bears make writing this site difficult in the off-season with their penchant for doing absolutely nothing for long periods of time. So here's a couple of things developing around the league that should (but won't) have repercussions in Chicago.
(1) The Rams officially released Torry Holt. I can't imagine a potential Hall-of-Famer who's played his entire career in a dome having an interest in coming to Chicago for seventy catches tops. However, one would hope that Lovie built a relationship with TH when he was in St. Louis and might be able to make this happen.
(2) Samari Rolle is getting released by the Ravens. Rolle's not the player he was half a decade ago but the Bears lack a veteran presence in the secondary. This is the kind of addition the Pats have been making for years in order to put themselves over the top.
(3) Everybody has the Bears going with a wide receiver at #18. I don't see it happening. Jerry's been terrible when he goes offense early. I'm still thinking defensive end or offensive line.
(4) I don't know much about Josh Bullocks. I discussed it with a Saints fan friend of mine and apparently he ain't that good.
(5) For those of you who still don't think Anquan Boldin is being shopped, you're just not paying attention. Haugh cites the PFT report in his recent column and I'll let him reiterate my inflexible position: "I know if the Cardinals are shopping receiver Anquan Boldin as Profootballtalk.com reported Thursday, then the Bears should get in line quicker than a mall-goer the day after Thanksgiving. Other teams might have more to offer in terms of draft picks so the Bears would have to get creative to put a deal together that would change their off-season radically."
(6) I actually have a career outside my beloved ballclub. Here's an example.
The Chicago Bears can not enter the 2009 season without a veteran presence at the wide receiver position. Devin Hester's 51 catches, 665 yards and 3 touchdowns were a hopeful sign that the organization's faith in his development at the spot is well-founded. But mark my words, it will be wasted if the team does not put a significant threat on the other side of the field. There are four veteran wide receivers available to fill variations of that role.
Boldin is attainable but someone is going to have to knock the Cardinals out with an offer. (The Bears aren't usually the team that does that.) But Boldin's size, physical play in space and reliability on third downs would make him the perfect compliment to Hester. If I were the Bears - who'll inevitably take a dud receiver at 18 - I'd be offering my first round pick to the Cardinals every single day.
Holt is dying to get out of St. Louis, after failing to reach a thousand yards for the first time since last decade. Holt wouldn't require a long-term contract and would be eager to prove he still has something left in the tank. You don't need a hundred catches from any receiver in Chicago so he won't feel the pressure to live up to his early-career stats. Instead he could accomplish what Moose never did by simply not dropping the ball in big spots.
No toughness but perfectly capable of being a viable number three receiver for a contending club (I know, I know). If the team drafts a young receiver, Marvin becomes an elder statesman and teacher.
What would I do if I ran the Chicago Bears? I would trade my first and third round picks for Boldin and then sign him to a long-term contract. Then - and this is wacky, I know - I'd sign Marvin Harrison and enter the 2009 season with one of the most diverse receiving units in the sport. The sad part is...THIS CAN BE DONE. It would simply require the organizational ingenuity that Halas Hall rarely displays.
Here's five reasons I want the Bears to sign him. Immediately.
1. Who cares about his attitude? If he's complaining about the Bears passing game, he's probably right. Think about it. If they're not throwing him the ball, who are they throwing it to?
2. If he complains about KO, he'd be a broken record. Everybody in Chicago complains about the quarterback. He wouldn't even get a headline in the Trib.
3. He's great. Not good. He's great. And he'd make Devin Hester a whole lot better.
4. He makes the Bears an exciting team to watch in 2009 - something they managed to avoid in 2008.
5. Think about it. Get off you moral high horse and think about it. It makes our lives a lot more fun to have T.O. in navy and orange next year.
...even though I'm supposed to. I'm supposed to get energized by David Haugh's solid piece in today's Tribune. I'm supposed to yell and scream about how this long-time Bears fan would be the perfect match for the city of Chicago - a town that makes life impossible for its signal-callers. He's got talent, sure. But he's also got moxie. McMahon moxie.
But I'm not going to write about it because this conversation will not happen.
(A phone rings.)
DENVER GUY: Bienvenido!
JERRY ANGELO: Hello?
DENVER GUY: Yes.
JERRY ANGELO: Is this the Denver Broncos?
DENVER GUY: 'Tis.
JERRY ANGELO: Why did you answer the phone in Spanish?
DENVER GUY: I don't speak Dutch.
JERRY ANGELO: What do you want for Jay Cutler?
DENVER GUY: A lot.
JERRY ANGELO: You got it.
If Cutler is ultimately traded to another football team, I'm going to use this space to post a video clip of every single touchdown pass he throws.