Tag:Chicago Bears
Posted on: June 24, 2010 10:30 am

Cutler Martz: Let the Scrutiny Begin

Prepare to get sick and tired of the “Mike Martz, Jay Cutler Marriage: Will It Work?” stories in 2010. The opinionated – and, many would say, arrogant – quarterback and offensive coach are spearheading a stunning change in Chicago. The Bears are installing a high-risk, wide-open, pass-happy offense, which is not unlike the PETA organization opening a slaughterhouse.

Whether Martz’s system can work in football’s Black and Blue capital remains to be seen (the bet here is it will NOT – not with that Bears offensive line). No matter how things play out, expect unyielding scrutiny of the Martz-Cutler relationship. We’re still in the first-round of it, so everything is positive for now. Like these words from Cutler (courtesy of ESPNChicago):

"(Martz) makes you want to come to work every day. He's so creative, he's doing fun stuff. He's finding ways to win. That's all you can ask for as a player, to have a coach that loves football and is going to do everything possible to be successful. I think that's what the great coaches are able to do and what Mike's done in the past."

Nice thoughts. Let’s check back after Cutler takes six sacks and throws two picks in an ugly home loss.

--Andy Benoit

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.

Category: NFL
Posted on: June 23, 2010 1:17 pm

Alex Brown's Drama With Former Team

Alex Brown went to visit his former Chicago Bear organization yesterday but, much to the defensive end’s surprise, he was not welcomed at Halas Hall. Here are Brown’s series of Tweets:

Not that I didn't know already but today I learned a very valuable lesson about the NFL and how some teams work.

There has been so many people asking me about this I guess I will share it.... Today I went over to Halas Hall and to my surprise I escorted

To my surprise I was escorted out if the building. I guess I understand it somewhat but damn didn't think I would get kicked out! Who Dat!!

Brown signed a two-year, $6 million contract with the Saints earlier this offseason.

A Bears official sent this response to ESPN Chicago:

"We love Alex Brown," the team official said. "He's got friends throughout Halas Hall, but league rules don't allow us to host a player under contract at our facility.

"He's one of the great guys. He's one of the top-notch guys who have come through in a long time."

Posted on: June 22, 2010 1:15 pm

Bears Linebackers Rip Brian Cushing

Outspoken Bears linebacker Lance Briggs didn’t hold back when talking to the Tribune’s Vaughn McClure about Texans linebacker Brian Cushing. Referring to the Defensive Rookie of the Year’s positive performance enhancing drug test, Briggs said, "Cheaters rarely prosper. I don't know what the whole deal was, but I just know he did things you ain't supposed to do."

Part of Briggs’s beef might relate to the fact that Cushing originally took his spot on the All Pro Second Team. Briggs’s teammate, Brian Urlacher, had some pointed comments about that in a Q and A with McClure earlier.

"Lance should have been All-Pro in the first place,” Urlacher said. “It's a touchy subject, with the way they test for everything. Now, you've got to know what you're putting in your body. I will say this: How do you play the whole season when you test positive the first month of the season? That's not fair to me. It doesn't make any sense."

Briggs was re-voted to the All-Pro Second Team after Cushing’s suspension.

"Five years from now, 10 years from now, all they're going to see for me is All-Pro," Briggs said. "Yeah, it makes me feel good.”

--Andy Benoit

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.
Posted on: June 21, 2010 2:51 pm
Edited on: June 21, 2010 3:18 pm

Johny Knox Starting for the Bears

Johny Knox is not only in contention for kick return duties in Chicago, he’s also firmly entrenched as a starting wide receiver, according to ESPNChicago. The lightning-fast second-year pro is working opposite Devin Hester in Mike Martz’s new offense. Knox certainly has the speed the thrive in this system. And his outstanding lateral quickness should make him an effectual route runner. Though raw as a fifth-round rookie last year, Knox was Chicago’s most polished route runner. (This says as much about the Bears’ wide receiver talent as it does about Knox.)

It’s surprising we haven’t heard more about Devin Aromashodu. The fourth-year veteran came alive in Chicago’s final four games last season (22 catches, 282 yards, four touchdowns) and offers speed similar to that of Devin Hester and Knox, only in a 6’2’, 201-pound frame. To be fair, Aromashodu hasn’t always stayed healthy in his career.

Many might think that Earl Bennett is in line for a significant role after catching 54 passes for 717 yards in his second season. However, Bennett does not have the quickness that Martz’s offense demands.

--Andy Benoit

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter
Posted on: June 18, 2010 5:43 pm

Bears Still Mishandling Hester

Johnnie Knox is getting reps as the punt returner in Chicago. Before you throw a fit and scream WHAT ABOUT HESTER!?, understand that the Bears are just looking for backup punt return options at this point. Hester is still the main guy.

But let’s go ahead and take this opportunity to throw a WHAT ABOUT HESTER!? fit for kickoff returns. Knox, along with Danieal Manning and possibly Earl Bennett are scheduled to handle these duties for the Bears. All three have been excellent in this capacity, but not All-World excellent like Hester. But the Bears continue to be bent on forcing Hester into a starting receiver role. Just about any other team in football would realize Hester is a slot receiver (at best), and above all is, a return specialist.

--Andy Benoit

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.

Posted on: June 17, 2010 1:46 pm

Examining Chicago's Offensive Line

Brad Biggs of Chicagobreakingsports.com pointed out that right guard Roberto Garza is the only Bears offensive lineman currently lining up in the same starting spot as a year ago. The rest of the front five has been shuffled….for the time being.

Center Olin Kreutz is still rehabbing his way back from Achilles surgery. Josh Beekman has been filling in for Kreutz. The Bears have been trying to replace Beekman at left guard for years; ’09 undrafted free agent Johan Asiata is the latest to get a shot.

Right tackle Chris Williams has moved to the left tackle spot that Orlando Pace occupied (fruitlessly) last season. Tackle-turned-guard Frank Omiyale is apparently now a guard-turned-tackle, as he’s playing in Williams’s old spot on the right side. If Williams and Omiyale are the starters, the Bears may have the least physical offensive tackle tandem in the NFL this season.

It’s surprising that ex-Falcon/Brown Kevin Shaffer isn’t getting more of a look at right tackle. Shaffer’s slow feet can be a major problem in pass protection, but unlike Omiyale, he at least has substantial starting experience at the pro level.

Remember, the Bears are working from the Mike Martz playbook now. Martz’s scheme frequently features four-receiver sets, with all four receivers running slow-developing routes. No team will put a greater demand on pass protection in 2010 than the Chicago Bears.

--Andy Benoit

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/CBSSportsNFL

Posted on: June 16, 2010 6:29 pm

Bears GM on Idea of Adding O.J. Atogwe

It’s rare to see top-quality players still in their prime hitting the free agent market in June. But thanks to uncommon stipulations put forth by the uncapped year, this scenario has played out with free safety O.J. Atogwe. One of the better ballhawks in football (statistically speaking) is available, and seemingly every GM who doesn’t already have Ed Reed, Brian Dawkins, Eric Berry, Antoine Bethea, Darren Sharper or Nick Collins on their roster has had to field questions about the six-year pro.

This includes Bears GM Jerry Angelo. Since Mike Brown left, the Bears have fruitlessly shuffled safeties in hopes of finding the right fit. They seem destined to do so again this year, though don’t expect Atogwe to be part of the shuffle. Here’s what Angelo told the team’s website today:

“[Atogwe] is a good football player. We’ve evaluated him and we like him. But at this point, we’re set. We drafted Major Wright and traded for Chris Harris. We also have Danieal Manning, Craig Steltz and Josh Bullocks, all of whom have started in this league. We have five pretty good safeties, four of whom have a goodly amount of experience within our scheme. We feel good about that position.”

Though the Bears probably won’t sign Atogwe, let’s shake out the nonsense in Angelo’s statements.

First off, this is the same Jerry Angelo who, days before cutting Nathan Vasher, said he would not cut Nathan Vasher. (He even gave a logical explanation, which was that the cornerback had already been paid most of his money.) Can you blame Angelo for misleading the media here? No, it’s part of his job. But because of this, we have to take a heavy grain of salt with everything he says. In this Atogwe case, Angelo is talking to ChicagoBears.com. Think there’s a lot of hard-hitting journalists and muckrakers working for that site? The GM can say whatever he wants and not be pressed for accountability.

As for the statement itself, Angelo is right about Major Wright and Chris Harris being viable pieces. Wright, like any rookie at this point, is an enigma, but the Bears drafted him to start at free safety. Harris is a punishing hitter who knows the scheme.

But Angelo is blowing smoke when he talks about Manning, Steltz and Bullocks. These men are NOT quality safeties. If they were, Wright and Harris wouldn’t have been brought in. These three safeties all have starting experience, but only because none of them could keep a starting job. They’ve spent years rotating in and out of the lineup with each other.

Again, it’s the GM’s job to paint a rosy picture. But with no games being played to expose the falsity of these rosy pictures right now, we’re compelled to write snarky blogs when our B.S. detector goes off.

--Andy Benoit

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/CBSSportsNFL

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com