04.03.2009 52 °F
This blog is usually dedicated to my travels abroad, but with the Bears making their biggest trade in decades, I will give my thoughts on the deal.
Since when did Bears GM Jerry Angelo start taking advice from Cubs GM Jim Hendry? I hate to be the obnoxious naysayer who immediately degrades a move by their favorite sports team, and usually I might just keep my mouth shut, but this time the stakes are so high I have to let my conscious speak.
Like Hendry, taking the kid-in-the-candy-store mentality, Angelo caused major waves by giving up way too much to get an unproven but talented player who doesn't really fit the system or the locker room. This feels to me like when Hendry spent enormous amounts of money on players like Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome. Both made huge headlines, when the Cubs really needed was some speed and defensive players instead someone like Soriano who can hit the long ball but is a liability defensively. I have always liked Jerry Angelo, he always seemed to address the team's weaknesses head on, slowly building a solid team that got to the Super Bowl in 2006. The Chicago Bears, who pride themselves on their history of team-first, run the ball, tenacious defense, smashmouth football, have just given up the farm to get a loud mouth player in Jay Cutler who apparently cannot handle the pressures of being an NFL quarterback. At 17-20 a starter, why wouldn't the Broncos try to ship out the strong-armed quarterback when his stock is at its peak? And the Bears took the bait, giving up Kyle Orton, who's numbers were not as good as Cutler's, but then again he was throwing to Rashied David and Brandon Lloyd rather than Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal, while not having an o-line anywhere near the caliber of the Broncos.
Secondly, was Lovie Smith even consulted about this trade? I find it hard to imagine that the conservative Smith would seek to get Cutler at such a high price--especially a coach who has preached the importance of defense and running the ball. This is the coach who doesn't tolerate selfishness, remember how quickly he ran Cedric Benson out of town? Well, now Lovie, you have a crybaby quarterback, and no draft picks to fill those porous holes in your defense. Everyone keeps defending Cutler by saying that he was 13-1 when his defense allowed 21 points or less, well guess what, that is not something the Bears defense is prepared to do week in and week out in 2009. Are we forgetting how the Vikings put up 40 points in '08? Brian Urlacher has apparently lost a step, as much as I love him. But I am more worried about the secondary. Who the hell is going to play safety? Craig Steltz and Danieal Manning? The defensive line has additional holes to fill, with rookie sensation Mark Anderson falling off the radar in the 2008 season.
Additionally, who knows how offensive coordinator Ron Turner and Cutler will gel, seeing that Cutler was furious after withdrew a scholarship offer to him the University of Illinois back when he was the head coach there. That seems like a much greater crime than anything Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels did to Cutler in Denver, (what exactly did he do that was so bad?).
One thing the Bears did do was get style points. Now Devin Hester will have a quarterback that even he cannot outrun. Yes, respect for Cutler's arm will make defenses back out of the box, which should help running back Matt Forte. But Cutler has a record for throwing a lot of interceptions, and this is something that our defense is not going to be able to absorb. As bad as a rap as Kyle Orton got at times, he didn't turn the ball over a whole lot.
Let me follow this rant by saying that I hope that I have to eat every word I just wrote. I hope my opinion is just that, an opinion of a retired bench warmer of a bottom dweller division III football team, who doesn't know squat about the NFL. And while I don't think it is going to be work out, I am willing to support the decision and back Cutler fully during this honeymoon. I will keep my mouth shut from now on until Cutler gets a chance to prove himself. But in the meantime, perhaps Angelo should be talking to Jim Hendry again: This time about getting Cubs pitcher (former Notre Dame star) Jeff Samardzija about returning to football and playing receiver for the Bears. That way Cutler would at least have someone legitimate to throw to.