Monday, December 21st
This is what losing does to a football team. I am sure you all witnessed the build up to this point two weeks ago. Brian Urlacher makes some statements to Michael Silver that were printed on Yahoosports.com. They were candid, honest, and on point. Lance Briggs made some statements this past week that were honest, on point, and he said nothing which one would disagree. Head Coach Lovie Smith, finally, made some statements about this football team that are truthful and should be taken to heart. You only wish he would have made them earlier in the year. Maybe it would have sparked some emotion from his team and organization. Lovie's comments should not be misconstrued as a shot at just the players, but also at General Manager, Jerry Angelo. Lovie basically insinuated in his postgame presser that players are in the right position, but just not good enough to make plays. He clearly took a shot at Jay Cutler and his decision making. We must remember that Lovie was not on-board with the trade for Jay from the start. He constantly praised Kyle Orton, and knew a move at the QB position would effect his locker room.
A few weeks ago, Jerry shot the first arrow at Lovie's staff by stating " he was concerned why players were not farther along in their development ". This was Lovie's opportunity to respond and although short, enough can be extrapolated from his statements, that you clearly get his stance. A lot of moves are made above the head coach that affect the head coach in undermining his ability. I do not think Lovie Smith was consulted on giving Jay Cutler 30 million in new money to a player who was clearly under performing. If that is the case, I should have played worse during my Bears career. Moves to acquire DE Gaines Adams from Tampa, hopefully will be fruitful, but it is looking more and more like Jerry got taken in the deal or even more concerning, pro player scouting is feeding Jerry very poor evaluations for him to make decisions. They missed on Orlando Pace, Frank Omiyale, and trading Safety Chris Harris to Carolina. Now it looks bad for Jerry by paying Jay new money when he should have proven himself in this offense before ever being rewarded.
Everyone has a hand in this. Upper Management, Coaches, and players for not executing game plans. Lovie finally set the tone, and the gloves are off. Let's see how the team responds to his statements next Monday night. The McCaskey family will have the ultimate decision in the evaluation process. Their decisions can go in a lot of different directions. Lovie is owed 11 million dollars and is capable of coaching talented teams to the Super Bowl. Let's not forget, most of that talent was here before Jerry or Lovie.
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."
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.
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.