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Tag:Jay Cutler
Posted on: March 2, 2012 9:12 pm
 

Bears use franchise tag on RB Matt Forte

Follow all the latest news with our Franchise Tag Tracker (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Other than the Browns' decision to franchise 37-year-old kicker Phil Dawson, there weren't any real surprises Friday. That didn't change when the Bears tagged running back Matt Forte, who's now in line to make $7.7 million in 2012 under the designation.

The Bears' former second-round pick missed the final month of the season with a knee injury, but the organization had no plans to let him hit free agency. In February, team president Ted Phillips said, "We'd like to (work out a long-term deal). But as (new GM) Phil (Emery) pointed out we obviously will at least consider placing the franchise tag on him. We don't have any intention of letting Matt hit the open market. We'll sit down with him privately, Phil will, and discuss what the plans are prior to the Feb. 20 franchise tag date."

And that's exactly what happened.

Forte's response to Phillips' comments above? "It depends on the motive of (the franchise tag). If they are doing the franchise tag just to get more time in order to negotiate a long-term deal, then I would be OK with it. But if it's just to hold me another year and just, 'Let's throw some money at him right now to keep him quiet,' that's not going to solve anything."

So what happens now? Players can sign their tenders at any point between March 13 and July 16, the deadline for reaching a multi-year extension.

"Matt is an important part of our football team and we chose to utilize the franchise tag to ensure he remains a Bear," general manager Phil Emery said. "We believe in Matt as a player and a person. Our intention is to continue to work to find common ground and keep Matt as a member of the Chicago Bears in 2012 and beyond."

Despite the late-season injury, Forte became the first Bears running back to be named to a Pro Bowl since Neal Anderson in 1991. In four seasons, Forte has rushed for 4,233 yards on 1,014 carries (4.2 YPC) and scored 21 touchdowns. He's a important cog in Chicago's offense because of his versatility as a runner and a pass-catcher.

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Posted on: January 22, 2012 7:09 pm
Edited on: January 22, 2012 7:10 pm
 

Kristin Cavallari pregnant with Jay Cutler's baby

By Will Brinson

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler might not be heading to the Super Bowl, but he had a pretty solid Championship Game Sunday, as he and fiance Kristin Cavallari revealed to the world that they're expecting a baby.

Well, they revealed it to People, but that means we all get to bask in their joy.

"We are thrilled to announce we are expecting our first child together," they told the magazine. "It's an amazing time in our life and we can't wait to meet the new addition to our growing family."

The couple got engaged in April of 2011 but called the dogs off.

Then in late November of 2011, they revealed to the world that they were engaged once again. No date has been set, that we know of.

Regardless, it's a special moment for the couple, and we couldn't be happier for them.

H/T Grizzly Detail

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Posted on: January 20, 2012 3:20 pm
 

McNabb really thought the Bears would sign him

McNabbBy Josh Katzowitz

After the Vikings cut Donovan McNabb on Dec. 1, he appeared on ESPN for an interviewe and seemed confident that, even if nobody claimed him off waivers, he would be signed as a free agent at some point soon.

That obviously never happened, even though apparently McNabb truly believed the Bears would ink him after Jay Cutler went down with his season-ending injury.

"I thought the Bears would call," McNabb said on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000 (via ESPN Chicago). "So many people continuously talked about the Mike Martz offense and things of that nature. I personally didn't care about that. If you want to win and win now, you go out and get a better quarterback and you cater your offense to his strengths, and obviously the strengths of your team.

"Obviously it didn't work out well for them. It's unfortunate. I wish things would have worked out, but it didn't. We will see what happens from now on."

Instead of signing McNabb (or Brett Favre for that matter), the Bears -- who did put a waiver claim on Kyle Orton before losing five of their final six games of the season -- went with the disastrous Caleb Hanie before finding some offensive stability with Josh McCown.

Even so, Bears receiver Devin Hester didn’t relish the thought of bringing in McNabb, saying it would be a “waste of time” because McNabb hadn’t played in former offensive coordinator Mike Martz’s offense.

Still, McNabb would have liked the chance, particularly since Chicago is his hometown.

"I definitely thought about it," he said. "Growing up a Bears fan, I kind of saw myself playing back home and hopefully winning the Super Bowl ... I think when the situation was there, everyone, friends and family, thought it would happen. It didn't, things didn't work out well for them.

"I got a chance to relax and rest my body, so I don't mind at this particular time what happened, but things could have been different."

For McNabb, and certainly, for the Bears.

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Posted on: January 16, 2012 5:21 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2012 5:25 pm
 

Report: Mike Martz retires from coaching

Cutler reportedly didn't want Martz back in Chicago. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Mike Martz, the architect of the Greatest Show on Turf with the Rams in the early 2000s, has retired, NFL Network Jason La Canfora reported Monday. Martz served as Dick Vermeil's offensive coordinator when St. Louis won the Super Bowl in 2000, was elevated to head coach from 2000-2005, and spent five of the next six seasons as an offensive coordinator with the Lions (2006-07), 49ers (2008) and Bears (2010-11).

Martz's two-year stint in Chicago was a bumpy one; his offensive philosophy wasn't always shared by franchise quarterback Jay Cutler. And head coach Lovie Smith, who Martz had hired as the Rams defensive coordinator in 2001, was often viewed as Martz's enabler. Smith regularly rebuffed questions about Martz's future.

In late December, with the Bears' playoffs hopes dashed, Smith was asked if Martz, whose contract expires at the end of the 2011 season, would be back in 2012.

“What kind of question is that anyway, at this time?" Smith demanded at the time. "What kind of question is that? Why would you ask a question like that anyway?"

Six days later -- and a day after Smith was noncommittal on Martz's future -- Martz resigned for "philosophical differences." And today he retired from coaching.

The Bears promoted Mike Tice into Martz's old job. Tice had previously served as Chicago's offensive line coach and was the Vikings head coach from 2001-2005. Tice isn't considered the offensive mastermind that Martz was but might be by design. His biggest task should be to a) keep Cutler from taking hits and b) get Matt Forte the ball. You don't have to be a genius to know that. In fact, it probably helps if you aren't.

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Posted on: January 6, 2012 12:13 pm
 

Bears promote Mike Tice to offensive coordinator

By Will Brinson

The Bears recently decided to not invite offensive Mike Martz back for another season as offensive coordinator and announced on Friday the promotion offensive line coach (and former Vikings head coach) Mike Tice to the position.

Tice, entering his 16th season as an NFL coach, was hired as the offensive line coach before the 2010 season in Chicago. The Bears offensive line isn't exactly renown for their high-level of talent and for the early part of both 2010 and 2011, Jay Cutler spent the better part of the season on his back, ducking defenders who waltzed through the protection schemes in Chicago.

But Tice deserves credit for his adjustments, as the offensive line dramatically improved over the course of the season.

In telling news, the Bears pointed out in their press release that Tice "interviewed for the position with coach Lovie Smith on Thursday," indicating that Lovie's gig for the upcoming season is, in fact, safe.

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Tice's five years as Minnesota's coach indicate precisely what kind of difference we should expect to see from the Bears offense going forward: only once did the Vikings, even with Daunte Culpepper under center, rank in the top-10 in passing attempts. Twice they ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in rushing attempts, and in all but one of those years, the Bears ranked in the top 10 in yards per rushing attempt. (Certainly worth noting: Daunte Culppeper piled up some rushing yards as well.)

In other words, while Martz was pass-pass-pass and then pass again, Tice is likely to be run-run-run and run again. It should be a stark contrast, and if the Bears can improve the offensive line and keep Matt Forte in town, it could be a more productive offense as well, even as the NFL shifts to more pass-happy offenses.

Certainly Cutler, who reportedly didn't want Martz back in the first place, should be happier. Or at least healthier.

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Posted on: January 5, 2012 11:41 am
Edited on: January 5, 2012 3:49 pm
 

Report: Cutler didn't want Martz back in Chicago

Martz, Cutler

By Josh Katzowitz

This might not surprise you, especially considering Jay Cutler dropped an F-bomb on former Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz, but, according to the Chicago Tribune, Cutler met with coach Lovie Smith and said he was in favor of moving on without Martz.

Cutler apparently met with Smith to give his opinion before Smith and Martz met to officially part ways. Martz’s contract was up anyway, but considering Cutler (among others in the organization) didn’t want Martz around, it seemed unlikely Martz would return for another season.

"Obviously I would sure like to be back,” Martz said last month. “I think all of that stuff works out. This is going to be a great football team and I would like to be a part of it. We’ll just see how it works out."

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Though Cutler had a standout season in Martz’s system, Martz, earlier in the year, didn’t seem all that concerned about keeping Cutler protected by the offensive line. In fact, Cutler was asked in September if he could survive the year, and he hoarsely said, “I don’t know. I don’t know."

Martz also didn’t make friends with Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte by using him in such an inconsistent matter that it led Forte to say he thought the Bears didn’t believe he's an elite player. And Martz didn’t come off great when he blamed backup Caleb Hanie for an interception on a play that probably shouldn’t have been called for such an inexperienced player in the first place.

Now, Smith will have to hire his third offensive coordinator in four years, and hopefully, Cutler will give his seal of approval.

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Posted on: January 4, 2012 10:53 am
Edited on: January 4, 2012 1:54 pm
 

Report: Jeff Fisher has 'always wanted' Bears job

Jeff Fisher would reportedly be thrilled to land the Bears gig. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Jeff Fisher's the hottest name in coaching right now, likely getting his pick of open jobs around the NFL. But here's a spicy meatball: Fisher's top choice of NFL gigs isn't one that's open, as he reportedly has "always wanted" the Chicago Bears job.

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That's what Albert Breer of NFL Network reported on Tuesday night, and it's a bit of a stunner, though the connected dots do make some sense. For starters, Fisher was a Bear when he was in the NFL from 1981-1984. According to Breer, Fisher has "maintained a close relationship with ownership" since his playing time.

Additionally, Fisher's old offensive coordinator, the late Mike Heimerdinger, worked with current Bears quarterback in Denver ... where Cutler played only because Bud Adams forced the Titans to draft Vince Young over Cutler in 2006. (Also, re: Cutler; he played at Vanderbilt. Which is in Nashville. Which is where the Titans are. There's a connection here.)

Breer notes that Fisher is also "aware of the player Cutler has become" since leaving Denver. Ultimately, Cutler would satisfy Fisher's desire for a franchise quarterback at his next job. And the Bears defense is a pretty good building block to start with.

Just one problem: Lovie Smith's still coaching in Chicago. Despite firing their general manager, the Bears decided that Smith "will remain" as the coach of the organization. So there's no place for Fisher in Chicago right now, and Breer writes that it ultimately isn't something that's likely to happen, and the "more likely result" is Fisher landing with the Rams.

The Bears would need a significant swing in management -- a la Bill Polian -- in order to warrant that sort of drastic coaching change. But if the 2012 coaching carousel's taught us anything, it's that the unexpected is pretty normal and ruling anything out is foolish.

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Posted on: January 2, 2012 10:54 pm
 

Lovie Smith noncommital on Mike Martz's return

Will Lovie Smith bring Mike Martz back for another year in Chicago? (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

A week ago, Bears head coach Lovie Smith refused to answer questions about his offensive coordinator Mike Martz. During his end-of-season press conference Monday, Smith was again asked about Martz, who's two-year contract expired Sunday.

“I haven’t talked to the coaches, so I’m not going to talk to you about any of them right now, and I think you can understand that,” he said according to ESPNChicago.com. “Mike did a super job for us. He had a lot of injuries this year. I think you guys know how I feel about him. But this is a new year coming up, and we’ll see how that goes.”

Via the Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs, Smith added that the Bears "did a lot of good things offensively. But right now we're evaluating everything. Mike's a part of that. Mike is a guy that's been around a few years. Got to have a chance to sit down with Mike to see exactly which way he wants to go and which way we want to go."

Biggs points out that the previous offensive coordinator under Smith, Ron Turner, was canned the day after the 2009 season.

Martz has indicated previously that he'd like to return, even though he and Jay Cutler haven't always seen eye to eye about the offensive philosophy -- one that, early in the season, saw many plays end with the team's franchise quarterback picking himself up off the ground after a sack.

The Jets' Brian Schottenheimer was one of the few offensive coordinators under more scrutiny this season than Martz. But his head coach and general manager couldn't come to his defense quickly enough during their Monday presser.

Smith was much less effusive. Maybe that means everything or perhaps it means nothing. After all, Smith stuck by Martz last season despite similar concerns about his play-calling.

Biggs writes that some Bears officials are concerned "Cutler, his receivers and the line would work in a system that emphasizes getting the ball out quickly, not relying on so many seven- and five-step drops," before noting that Chicago QBs have been sacked 105 times since Martz arrived in 2010.

The 49ers went to a quick-passing offense that relied on a solid running game and look how that turned our for them. Why can't the Bears be successful doing that? Cutler's much better than Alex Smith and a healthy Matt Forte is better than Frank Gore. Plus, as Smith said Monday, ‘We have to catch up to Green Bay."

In all likelihood, that ain't happening with Martz calling the plays.

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