Facing great quarterbacks is common for Bears

Facing great quarterbacks is common for Bears

Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010
7:55 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Very good quarterbacks are not a new experience for the Bears in 2010. When they faced the Philadelphia Eagles, they were going against the NFL's No. 1 passer in Michael Vick, now No. 2. They have seen Aaron Rodgers, now No. 4.

This is different. Tom Brady is different.

Brady is now the NFL's No. 1-rated passer (109.5). But Brady is also arguably the NFL's No. 1 quarterback as well.

Vick is having the finest year of his NFL career. Brady does this sort of thing every year. Five of Brady's last seven seasons have been better, passing, than Jay Cutler's best-ever year prior to 2010. And Brady has come up in Halas Hall conversation long before New England became next-up on the Bears' schedule.

"We've talked about it many times this year," Cutler said. That's the mark of a good team or good player is being consistent. He's been very, very, very consistent throughout his career. So he's fun to watch. We watched the Monday night game when Brady destroyed the New York Jets. Just seeing how much in command he is of that offense, you can tell that everything is going to go through him.

Everything except opponents, that is.

Maybe it's the focus. Brady was just named AFC offensive player of the week for the second time this season and was asked about how he felt this season was going for him. It was as if the question simply didn't even register.

"I think the Chicago Bears are a good team, and we got to play well this week," Brady said, not even attempting to transition from question to answer. "I'm excited for the challenge. It's a short week for us. I think we've really got to prepare well. We're quite a few days behind the Bears after playing Monday night. That's individual statistics really the last thing on my mind."

He is, to be very sure, not the last thing on the Bears' minds.
Oh, really?

Cutler rarely exhibits excessive emotion off the field and Wednesday was no exception.

In perhaps and indication that Cutler was not as inclined as some to write off Ndamukong Suh's forearm to the back of Cutler's head in last Sunday's Detroit game, he made exactly zero attempt to excuse the Detroit defensive tackle's actions as just part of the game. So when the NFL hit Suh with a 15,000 fine Wednesday, "I'm not surprised by that," was all Cutler had to say.

And out in Denver, the Broncos reversed course and fired head coach Josh McDaniels after a recent declaration by ownership that McDaniels would be in place this year and next. Daniels was the one at the heart of the issues that saw Cutler traded to the Bears but Cutler had no even superficial concern for McDaniels.

"You know," Cutler said, "none of my concern. I'm worried about the Patriots."

He apparently is not worried about the Bears' quarterback, and hasn't been. Listing reasons for the recent 5-0 turnaround from a 4-3 point, "the offensive line is playing well," Cutler began. "The receivers are on top of it. I think everyone's a lot more comfortable with the system. Mike Martz has done a good job of dialing stuff up for us. So there's a lot of things that go into it."

Sick bay

Linebackers Nick Roach (hip) and Pisa Tinoisamoa (knee) did not practice Wednesday and running back Chester Taylor (knee) was also held out of practice. Tinoisamoa had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee two weeks ago and is not being ruled out of the New England game.

"Ideally we would like for Pisa to practice but we know a little bit about what he can do," Lovie Smith said. "If he can practice by Friday a little bit, or if he gets up Sunday and says, 'I can go,' we'll look at our options and go from there."

Quarterback Brady (shoulderfoot) and nose tackle Myron Pryor (back) were limited in practice for the Patriots. Cornerback Jonathan Wilhite (hip) and defensive lineman Mike Wright (concussion) did not practice.

Rostering

The Bears signed offensive lineman Herman Johnson off the Arizona Cardinals practice squad and onto the active roster, replacing defensive end Barry Turner who was waived. The Bears also added linebacker Marcus Buggs to the practice squad along with wide receiver Jeff Moturi.

To make room the Bears terminated the practice-squad contracts of tackle James Marten, wide receiver Freddie Barnes and defensive end Ervin Baldwin, who was re-signed to the practice squad late Wednesday.

Johnson was a fifth-round pick by the Cardinals in the 2009 draft, coming out of LSU at 6-7, 364 pounds. He was an All-SEC first teamer at guard but projects as a right tackle, where JMarcus Webb has won the starting job but has continued to have difficulties in pass protection.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Jay Cutler is reportedly considering retirement

Jay Cutler is reportedly considering retirement

This is apparently the week of Jay Cutler news.

Reports surfaced earlier this week the Bears are pushing hard to find a trade partner for the enigmatic quarterback, though Ian Rapoport reported the organization informed Cutler in mid-January they were shopping him around.

It seems clear Cutler's time in Chicago has come to an end and an ensuing move is more of a formality at this point.

But apparently Cutler may not even suit up again...for ANY team.

Rapoport reported on NFL Network Wednesday night Cutler is mulling over retirement, even as he's healthy and working out now after shoulder surgery.

"There's no guarantee Cutler even plays in 2017, one of several veterans who are still considering whether they want to play or not play, retire, walk away. A lot of things at play here for Jay Cutler."

Host Dan Hellie immediately followed up, asking for clarification on the retirement part.

"It is a consideration; it's something he's confided in people," Rapoport said. "But Dan, I would say, it's not a surprise for quarterbacks this age. We've heard [Ben] Roethlisberger talk about it; we've heard Tony Romo talk about it. If it's not perfect, if he can't find the team he wants or the contract he wants, it's very easy for Jay Cutler to walk away."

Whoa.

Cutler, 33, has made more than $112 million in his 11-year career and is owed at least another $2 million in 2017, even if he's cut by the Bears.

Bears add another assistant coach to John Fox's staff

Bears add another assistant coach to John Fox's staff

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.