You Can’t Walk Off the Island

I heard a joke the other day that I’d like to pass along as we all consider the consequences of what the Bears did in the NFL draft over the last few days.

Joshua was a devout man who had fallen on hard times. Finally, having exhausted all avenues, he fell to his knees and prayed, “Lord, please help me win the lottery or else I’ll lose my business.” But that week Joshua didn’t win. He then knelt down again and said, “Lord, please help me win the lottery or I’m going to lose my house.” But Joshua still didn’t win the lottery. Finally, Joshua fell prostrate and begged, “Lord please, please help me win the lottery, or my wife is going to take the kids and leave me.” Suddenly the wind began to blow and there was a loud roar. The sky opened and a voice boomed, “Joshua. Buy a fucking ticket.”

Jeff Dickerson at ESPN comments on the Bears draft:

“Riskiest move: After Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, this quarterback draft class was weak. Still, the Bears need to eventually find a future replacement for Jay Cutler. Pace had the opportunity to grab UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley in the fifth round but instead chose Penn State safety Adrian Amos. Hundley went a couple spots later to rival Green Bay. If Hundley eventually becomes a starting quarterback somewhere in the league, the decision to ignore quarterback on Day 3 might haunt the Bears.”

This is a football blog but that doesn’t mean that lessons can’t be learned from other sports when examining the situations that football teams find themselves in. In baseball, Dominicans are known throughout the major leagues as free swingers at the plate. When asked about his tendency to take his rips at borderline pitches once in 1986, Dominican shortstop Rafael Ramirez explained, “You have to swing like a man. You can’t walk off the island.”

The Green Bay Packers had a quarterback in Brett Favre when they took a swing anyway and drafted Aaron Rogers in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft. Now they have their quarterback for years to come in Rogers. And still they draft quarterbacks to develop, knowing that you just can’t have too many players at the most important position in football.

On the other hand, the Bears actually need a quarterback.  Virtually everyone outside of Chicago knows it and those inside simply can’t face the fact that Cutler isn’t going to turn into something different in his tenth year in the league.  Bears general manager Ryan Pace talked before the draft about “ideally” drafting a quarterback every year. But when his time at the plate came, instead of taking his swings, Pace stuck to his board. This is usually something I would strongly advocate. But not in this case.

Don’t get me wrong.  I like quarterback Shane Carden. I really do – much better than most football experts. But those football experts are going to be the ones with Carden’s fate in their hands. No one signs an undrafted free agent expecting him to be their quarterback of the future.

You can draft and draft and draft every other position on the field.  But you aren’t going anywhere without a quarterback.  And I don’t care if you try in a weak free agent market or in a weak draft class,  you aren’t going to find one by failing to take your swings at the position.

Even with a quarterback in hand, the Green Bay Packers continue to take their swings at the plate knowing that no one gets a hit without trying. The Bears…

Ryan. Buy a fucking ticket.

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