Monday, December 29th
I think everyone was surprised of the fight left in the Chicago Bears last night. Others, may conclude the victory over the Vikings is just another glaring example of how underachieving the Bears have been in 2009. In either case, this Bears roster showed the ability to respond under pressure circumstances during the week with the help of some new faces who competed extremely hard for not only themselves, but also their head coach.
Credit Jay Cutler
Much has been dumped on Jay's shoulders for the Bears failures this season and rightfully so. It could have been easy for him to curl up in the fetal position and call it a season versus the Vikings. But, that is what losers do! Quarterbacks, more than any other position in the NFL, need to come off poor performances, like what Jay experienced in Baltimore last week, with their best game. Kurt Warner, of the Arizona Cardinals, has had four poor performances this season. All of them were multi-turnover games that resulted in a Cardinal loss. He answered the bell after every one with a 300 yard multi-touchdown performance, while leading the team to victory. Arizona has not lost two in a row all year. Much of Arizona's success can be attributed to Kurt Warner and his ability to respond even though his team has not run the football well all year. It is what competitorswinners do. They respond when it matters the most. Jay has that ability and with more "comfortabilty" within the Bears offensive system, more consistency and winning should be the end result. Performances like the four touchdown outburst we witnessed last night will be the norm. That is the big if! Everyone assumes changes will be made. Only Jerry and Lovie can weigh the pros and cons of bringing in a new offensive coordinator. Do you make change for change sake? It was only 2005 when Ron Turner's offense was lighting up the NFL and Rex Grossman was being talked about for NFL MVP. Change would bring Jay his third new offense in three years. It is a tough call because I would like to see Jay settle in for a second year under Ron Turner and see what he is capable of doing. I would like to see a new buffer as a QB coach, someone who is very demanding of Jay.
John Fox and the Bears have added another assistant coach.
Zack Azzanni is leaving the University of Tennessee to become the Bears' new receivers coach.
Azzanni has been with Tennessee since 2013 as a receivers coach and passing game coordinator. Prior to that, he spent time at Wisconsin, Western Kentucky, Florida, Central Michigan and six seasons at Bowling Green.
Azzanni was on Urban Meyer's coaching staff at Bowling Green in 2001-02 and also coached Pittsburgh Steelers superstar receiver Antonio Brown at Central Michigan. Under Azzanni's tutelage at CMU from 2007-09, Brown totaled 305 receptions for 3,199 yards and 22 TDs, earning a sixth-round draft selection in 2010.
Curtis Johnson spent 2016 as his first season in the role of Bears' wide receivers coach, but announced he was leaving after the Senior Bowl to take a job with the New Orleans Saints.
It's unknown if Azzanni will get a chance to coach Alshon Jeffery (who is currently a free agent) but the incoming coach will have an important job in molding young receivers like Kevin White and Cameron Meredith.
The Bears also announced the additions of assistant coaches Brandon Staley and Derius Swinton II Wednesday morning:
Staley will replace Clint Hurtt as outside linebackers coach and Swinton will be the assistant special teams coach under Jeff Rodgers.
Swinton is reprising his role he held on the Bears coaching staff in 2015 before leaving to take a promotion with the San Francisco 49ers special teams.
Hurtt left the Bears to take a position as the defensive line coach with the Seattle Seahawks. Staley spent last season as the defensive coordinator at Division-III John Carroll University, the alma mater of New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Hall of Fame coach Don Shula.
In the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, Hub Arkush (670 The Score/Pro Football Weekly) and Brian Hedger (NHL.com) join Kap on the panel.
ESPN is reporting that the Bears have begun shopping Jay Cutler. Will there be any takers?
Meanwhile, Jimmy Butler doesn’t think he’s going anywhere. Would that be a mistake?
Miguel Montero makes his peace with Joe Maddon but was this even a big deal? Sammy Sosa says he put Chicago on the map, and compares himself to Jesus. When he will the Cubs welcome him home?
Plus, Pat Boyle drops by to talk Blackhawks and the “Roly Poly Goalie” is looking for work all because he ate a pie.
Check out the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast right here: