Who is the Real Back Up Quarterback?

Adam Jahns at the Chicago Sun-Times characterizes the Bears up coming post-draft position battles:


“Starter: Jay Cutler.

“Reserves: Brian Hoyer, David Fales, Matt Blanchard.

“Main competition: Hoyer vs. Fales. Pace wanted an experienced backup behind Cutler, but he still thought enough of Fales to prevent the Ravens from signing him off the Bears’ practice squad late last season. Fales, a sixth-round pick in 2014, has an edge to him, and this might be his last chance with the team.”

This could be true but I think most of us believe that Hoyer is a lock at the back up position at this point. He’s a veteran and he’s familiar with offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains. I’d be surprised if the battle wasn’t between Fales and Blanchard for the third QB spot.

It wasn’t really the focus of this post bet because its in the same article I’m going to add my thoughts on this comment on the Bears status at wide receiver:

“Meanwhile, [Daniel] Braverman, a seventh-round selection, is the only true slot receiver. His development and integration is worth monitoring at training camp.”

I generally like Jahns but this was a bone-headed comment. Anyone who has come to the conclusion that Eddie Royal isn’t a true slot receiver wasn’t paying attention last year. Lack of depth and his desire to show that he was more than that pushed him outside to the detriment of both himself and the team. He never performed up to his capabilities until the Bears moved him back inside.

Giants Looked Blind-Sided by Bears First Round Trade

Bart Hubbuch at the New York Post reviews the Bears draft:

“Bears: B

“Threw everyone — but especially the Giants — a curveball by swooping into the top 10 to take Georgia outside linebacker Leonard Floyd, who needs to add some bulk before making a big impact. Used three of their nine picks on safeties.”

I would agree and I was surprised that the Giants didn’t get more flack for their next choice in other places:

“Giants: C

“Doesn’t appear to be anywhere near the home-run draft GM Jerry Reese needed. Caught flat-footed by the Bears moving up to steal Leonard Floyd, and scouts are divided about top pick Eli Apple.”

Reese is widely believed to be in some trouble in New York and with some justification. Tom Coughlin took the fall for a bad season with a talent-poor roster last year.

I’m convinced that the Bears trade to leap over the Giants did, indeed, throw them for a loop and they reacted poorly with what is widely believed to be a reach. I like Apple more than most because of his length but almost no one believed that he was a top 10 pick. It had the look of a panic move by a team that didn’t have a plan if the guys they had targeted all went early (no one anticipated Laremy Tunsil‘s fall and that pushed guys like Floyd up the board a slot or two).

Predictably, Reese defended the pick:

“‘Well, when somebody doesn’t know what they’re talking about, it’s easy to depict it that way because they don’t know what they’re talking about,’ Reese said. ‘We clearly went through this scenario that Apple could be the player we would pick.'”

If you say so.

The Bears reacted better when the Packers leap-frogged them to take Indiana tackle Jason Spriggs in the second though general manager Ryan Pace claims that it had no effect on their draft they immediately traded back for the second time in the round when Spriggs went off the board.  Though Cody Whitehair is a good pick, a good offensive tackle made a lot more sense than a guard at that point.

But if the Packers out maneuvered them for Spriggs, at least the Bears were ready and got good value.  The Giants really didn’t.

The Value of Not Huddling

Rich Campbell at the Chicago Tribune on the Bears new running back:

“Running back Jordan Howard, a fifth-rounder, is a bruiser who can wear out tacklers and help the Bears finish games. He could be even more effective as a fourth-quarter runner than he was at Indiana because the Bears huddle more than the Hoosiers did. He’ll actually have his wind.”

Not buying this reasoning.  The whole point behind a no huddle, spread offense is to keep the defense from getting its wind. Theoretically the offense, as the attacker, has less trouble. So if anything, Howard will have a tougher time not an easier time.

Bears Fail to Draft a Quarterback. Again.

Rich Campbell at the Chicago Tribune thinks the Bears were smart not to take a quarterback on Day 3:

“As we understand the Bears’ plan for developing [Leonard] Floyd and three Day 3 defensive backs under some well-regarded defensive coaches, remember that new offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains and quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone are inexperienced by comparison.

“Considering Jay Cutler‘s contract is now a pay-as-you-go proposition, it was smart to continue building the supporting cast. That will better position a young quarterback to step in and succeed, whenever that finally happens.”

I pushed a lot less for a quarterback in this draft than I did in the last one. There are a number of reasons for that, not the least of which is Campbell’s point about Loggains and Ragone. Frankly, even if they drafted a quarterback, there’s some doubt in my mind about the current staff’s ability to develop one.

Having said that, though Cutler raised his level of play last year to league average, it’s hard to trust him. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the very inexperience of the Loggains undermines his new found confidence and mental toughness. Yes, Loggains was promoted partly because of his relationship with Cutler. But we’ve heard about these good relationships before.

I would have thought the Bears might have taken a quarterback with potential to eventually start on Day 2 or early on Day 3. If Cutler falls apart again this year or sustains a serious injury, there isn’t going to be a developmental quarterback in the pipeline. Next season we could be saying the same old saw: If not Cutler, then who? That’s a question that needs to be answered with good planning in the draft. The Bears are neglecting the position at their own risk.

Problem Finding Tight Ends Remains, Requires Creative Solutions

Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times quotes general manager Ryan Pace on why he didn’t take a tight end:

“‘It was a pretty thin position this year, to be honest with you,’ Pace said. ‘When I talk about being careful about not moving guys up too high based on needs, we were conscious of that.

“Pace was hopeful the Bears could sign an undrafted free agent tight end. But that’s generally not where you find the next Martellus Bennett.”

No, it’s not.

This is a problem that isn’t going to go away any time soon with so many college programs running spread offenses. If coaches want to find tight ends for the pro game, they’re going to have to get creative.

Teams are already drafting big wide receivers as tight ends but that’s not enough. It might be time to start looking at every back up linebacker on your roster to see what kind of hands they have.