Re-Thinking the Receiver Position

Shame on me for not doing my homework.  But since this just became something of a paying gig for me, I shall vow not to make the same mistakes in the future.

I have spent more than a dozen blog posts arguing that Jerry Angelo continue his borderline brilliant off-season by making the acquisition of a big time wide receiver.  "Give up the 2010 draft," I've said, for Anquan Boldin.  Surrender your moral principles to get Brandon Marshall or sign Plaxico Burress.  I wanted T.O.  I wanted Braylon Edwards.  But perhaps the smartest move for this organization right now would be no move at all.

Before I continue, we have to understand that Jay Cutler is going to the Bears' starting quarterback for a decade.  Forte, Hester, Olsen...these guys are kids.  There is no rush for this offense to be successful in 2009, with the exception of pressure on the current coaching staff.  In the past, the need at wide receiver was an attempt to compensate for a weakness at quarterback.  That weakness no longer exists. 

And look at the list of wide receivers set to become free agents in 2010.  Roddy White emerged as a star once Matt Ryan moved under center for the Falcons.  Greg Jennings and Vincent Jackson are big, strong players who have thrived in pivotal moments.  Braylon and Brandon have 2009 to prove they can play with consistency on the field and maturity off of it.  Antonio Bryant's 2008 may have been a fluke.  But if it wasn't, he'll be a hot commodity next off-season.  All these players - viable number one entities - could be on the open market at the end of this coming season. 

So while many of us may be desperate for a winning 2009 and a return trip to the playoffs, the wise, patient and prudent maneuver for Jerry Angelo may be giving these kids a shot at receiver.  Let Hester, Bennett, Iglesias, Rash and Rideau lineup and play.  If it works out, problem solved.  If it doesn't, there's a smorgasbord of receiving talent in the waiting. 

And lest we forget!  There is no reason on earth the lack of a veteran wide receiver should keep this club from winning the NFC North.  For Brett Favre is coming to ruin the Vikings organization. 

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  • Agreed, Jeff. Two firsts in a row!

  • The only argument I would make against waiting for a top tier WR is: How much longer is our defense going to be as good as it is now? Maybe they've already fallen off and it's not a relevant point but I still think that adding a WR THIS off season could have carried some serious momentum into next season.

  • Is our defense good now?

  • The Defense is theoretically good. With Urlacher, Briggs, Tillman, Vasher, Harris, Tinoisamoa, Anderson. All are or have been top-tier players.

    Bears D is still young...save Urlacher who for sure has at least three or four seasons left barring any significant injury.

    I think now and have often thought that they should stick with what they've got (unless they can get a cheap veteran like Marvin Harrison) rather than blow their load prematurely on a player like Plax or Marshall who may only be around for a short time.

    Championship teams are built over time. They do not just happen. Plant seeds. We've got Cutler. We've got Forte. We've got Hester. We've got a good O-Line. Patience, we'll get an All-Pro reciever.

  • Good points, sure, but Jerry flat out stated that the goal is to win the SB this year. They've upgraded the roster a ton with the interest of doing that very thing. I don't think football is a sport that allows you to bet on the come. Injuries wreck plans way too often. I think he will still try to upgrade the receiver position by looking at all options. We may end up with what we have (which may be fine) but JA is not looking at building for the future. At least I don't think he is. He wants to win now. This year. And so do I.

  • Of course Angelo said that. What if Jerry Angelo held a press conference and stated in front of the media, "Yeah, we expect to win ten or eleven games and get knocked out of the playoffs in the divisional round."

    The goal is always to win the Super Bowl. But anyone with football management experience knows that you build a team for now and later. The greatest coaches of all time (Halas, Lombardi, Noll, Shula, Walsh, Belichick, etc) built teams which won multiple championships. That's the goal...not necessarily winning Super Bowl XLIV...but rather Super Bowls XLV, XLVI, XLVII, etc.

    Mr. Angelo should not pursue players which may not be around in another year...especially if they will be in prison.

  • You can't compare football now to football then. Those great coaches basically had contracts for life. Football nowadays is a 'win now or go home' business. Look at the turnarounds of the Falcons and Ravens last year. Do you think that internally they were happy to lose in the playoffs? No way. They build to make a run then retool in the offseason. Get a receiver that can help this year then draft one for the future next year.

  • I'm really not that worried about the offense who did score last year. The offense was ranked at 14 and averaged 23.4 PPG. With the upgrade at QB and additions to the line, I don't see any reason why that can't be repeated or increased.

    No point rushing into a bad marriage with Plaxico. There's no way Denver is going to trade Marshall to us, even if we did have anything they would want. And is Arizona really going to do anything but lip service to the idea of trading Boldin?

    That really doesn't leave too much left in the cupboard. But the shopping list for next year can start being put together based off Jeff's list.

    Win now? Hell, yes. And we can compete for the division and a playoff spot. From there...

    It's all going to be based on the performance of the defense whether or not we're 1 and done in the playoffs. The Steelers allowed 13.9 PPG during the regular season last year. The Bears allowed 15.9 PPG in 2006 compared to 21.9 PPG last year.

  • Tom Thayer says...From Da Site:

    How confident are you that the Bears defense will revert to the form it displayed in 2005-06?

    "I think they

  • Jerry Angelo and company have been sending a clear message this offseason: The time to win is now. The fact Angelo traded 2 consecutive 1st round draft picks for a pro bowl QB, and the fact he signed a LT who is in the latter years of his hall of fame career, tell me that "we're close" and the time to win is now. Denver? Not so much. They're telling themselves "have patience, we'll be a dominant franchise soon" while Bears fans are singing "Super Bears! Super Bowl!"

    It's no secret that Angelo is a better evaluator of defense rather than offense, which is why trading those picks for a franchise QB was brilliant. (Why risk drafting a bust when you can cash in for a proven commodity?) Angelo has changed the face of this organization for a while to come, and I'm not sure it's sunk in with most fans yet. This luxury allows the Bears a bit of time to build around the young core of Cutler, Forte and Olsen on offense with future draft picks and free agent signings. But the problem is, Jay Cutler is ready to prove his critics wrong THIS YEAR and the talented core of the defense is getting older, and may not have years to wait for the offense to catch up.

    I know the defense has struggled the last few years, but Angelo has sent a clear message to the defense to step it up. With a shakeup in the coaching staff and personnel changes on defense, this unit is ready to redeem itself from a disappointing 2008. 2009 could be a huge year for this defense if Tommie's knee stays healthy and Corey Graham or the Steltz bomber step up at the FS position. Add that to the fact that the Bears added a franchise QB to keep 'em off the field adds up to a motivated defense looking to get back to Miami in February 2010.

    Adding a #1 WR could do wonders for this team, but is it worth taking a hit to the character of this organization? Angelo has been clear about not tolerating players who get in trouble off the field because their consequences affect the entire team. Both Burress and Marshall have had issues with management as well as legal trouble off the field. Burress shot himself in the leg while missing practices and Marshall has a history of domestic abuse against women. Do you really want these guys to become Chicago Bears? I guess it's worth thinking about if it means a serious shot at a Super Bowl, but nothing is guaranteed.

    While I think that Angelo has been pretty clear about the urgency of winning now, and adding a player like Burress or Marshall would go along with the moves he's already made this offseason, I wouldn't mind going into next season with our current set of WRs. I guess it's partly because I'd like to find out if the QB makes the WRs or if it's the other way around (Kyle vs. Cutler in '09) and I can also see see how signing either one of these guys can come back to haunt the Bears. It's just so damn hard to find a WR without any issues or baggage in their past these days! Even though I would be OK to wait a year or 2 for an established #1 WR, the sense of urgency around Halas Hall and in OTAs gives me the feeling that something is going to happen to address that need sooner rather than later.

  • I couldn't agree more Jeff. Let Cutler and his young core come up together. If we do this right these guys could all be together in Chicago for a long time. If we want a vet later we can get one as our needs require.

  • I'm not sure any of these WRs are worth the chemistry hit in the locker room. If JA is going to sign one, he should do it right away. Although the Bears are professionals, having some guy saunter into training camp in August and step into #1 without going the work cannot help but foster resentment.

    On another note, my opinion is that WRs and QBs definitely help make each other (the best example I can think of being Montana and Rice). Not like I'm comparing anyone to those two, but I want to see what Cutler-Hester and Cutler-"whoever wins #2" look like.

  • I'm glad to see Jeff put this posting together, as it echos exactly what I've been saying for weeks now. I'd hate to see JA go after any of the WR's available right now, as I think they're all long shots with pretty significant character issues. I'd have been o.k. with the Boldin pick-up(thrilled actually), but that ship's sailed and he was never really on the trading block.

    The NFL isn't coming to an end after this season, so we should have a a few more years to make some moves and acquisitions if need be.

    I've got huge expectations for the D this year, as I think they're motivated to perform more than they've ever been and the new blood on the coaching staff is going to pay huge dividends.

    After the 3rd week of the pre-season, depending on what we've seen from these kids on offense, that's the time to consider additions.

  • I HAD been a big Rashied Davis guy. The "Arena Football player makes good" guy. The guy who Rex hit to beat the Vikings in the Rollerdome with less than 2 minutes to go. The guy who made that nice grab in the corner of the endzone that SHOULD have won the Atlanta game last season. What was not to like? But it seems like it's been downhill ever since Atlanta. The "rash" of drops were bad enough but so many of his were 3rd down drive killers. I suspect he's one hard-working guy in practice or he would not still be on the roster.

    In other wide receiver news...Plaxico Burress' attorney played the "He hasn't been convicted of anything yet" card yesterday, presumably to pre-empt any possible league sanction from Roger Goodell. Better start paying closer attention, counselor. I believe "Hang'em High" Goodell whacked Pacman Jones WITHOUT the benefit of a conviction on the record.

    Also...Brandon Marshall, arguably NFL's best pass-catching MISOGYNIST, met with Broncos' owner, Pat Bowlen, and then posted a "Farewell Bronocs" message on his blog. Naturally, the Broncos response has been that they expect him in camp next month.

  • Da Coach says no F-ing way to locker room cancers like Plax, Ocho and Marshall. I'd rather be 8-8 with a team I like and respect than 12-4 with a bunch of thugs.

  • It's as I said earlier, picking up another WR would be a luxury at this point. Keep in mind as well that if Turner has done his homework that we should have a whole new array of plays for JCut to work with,we have 2 QB's to learn the system, our "Veteran" QB has yet to take a snap in a regular season game (though I feel comfortable with him having to do that should it happen). We have new and used OFF-Def lineman to get up to speed.

    I guess what I am trying to say is I'm not going to worry about the SB, playoffs or anything like that until we've reached that point. I'm going to worry about getting everyone on the field, playing as a team and perhaps winning some games. The potential is there. But for right now I'm going one step at a time.

  • I would like to see the club sign Mike Brown, and let him retire in a Bears uniform.

    As for a wide receiver, I would still like to see Matt Jones. He's cheap, and in need of the kind of leadership we have in our locker room. Otherwise, I'm OK with a pass until next off season.

  • BDG - 2010 will be uncapped and as such no franchise tags available.

  • All Cutler can do is throw the ball. Someone has to catch it. While I like #23's improvement (still nowhere near #1 level), who else outside of TE's and RB's has proven any reliability in the NFL on out team? I know having Cutler throw it will improve the numbers but having a consistent, chain moving threat opposite Hester changes the whole Offense and open things up for every other Offensive weapon that we have. If we can get Plax (with contract stipulations for meetings, practices and behavior) or maybe Jones (with a NA sponsor), why not? Cutler seems like a dominant enough personality to keep whoever is fucking up in check and they will only be one year risks anyway. We aren't stuck with them. If they are screwing things up, bench them. Shit, cut them if you have to but the risk of one solid, consistent #1 WR added to what it looks like we have already on this team could very well put us over the top. If we win a SB or come very close, watch how many more WR's want to play here. Maybe even a Safety will too. And shooting yourself and doing blow is completely different than beating on women to me. Fuck Marshall. Punk.

  • most years a couple rookie receivers come in, start and give you productive seasons. the way i see it, we have three rookie who could potentially fill that role. inglesias knox and earl bennet. (i still consider him and chris williams rookies) as long as they can catch i think cutler can get them to be helpful players

  • I have a thumbs down to chicagonow.com!!! The Chicago Bears are the most popular team in the greatest sports city in the world and you have JEFF HUGHES writing a blog for the site? Now I have no beef with Mr. Hughes, except for the fact there is a ton of good comments to his post and he responds to none of them. However, chicagonow has Blackjack Mcdowell, a white sox legend who gets back to all his fans. I think its about time for J.H. to step up to the plate looking to swing away, or get someone who cares too.

  • How many rookie WR's do that successfully on teams that have no proven #1 or #2 WR? A lot more pressure to succeed with a lot more defenses focusing on you (although our nasty TE's and Deucedeuce certainly help take some pressure off). I am just saying if our unproven commodities fizzle, we have a Ferrarri on blocks for the season for the most part.

  • Good Brad Biggs post at the bankrupt Sun-Times.

    http://blogs.suntimes.com/bears/2009/06/safety_picture_begins_to_clear.html

    Seems as though Steve Young...I mean...Caleb Hanie is impressing the coaching staff who have give him the second spot. Zack Bowman is also doing reps with the first team.

  • Also, Cutler doesn't seem to be too impressed with the fact that Brandon Marshall or Plaxico Burress are on the market. Jay seems happy with what they've got.

    As am I.

    For now.

  • Wow, I really liked Haugh's piece. Here's a couple quotes from JC...

    "I played with him for three years and put up some big numbers with him, and wherever he ends up, I'm sure he's going to be successful," Cutler said of Marshall. "Whether or not it's here, it's up to the guys upstairs. As of right now, I'm 100 percent happy with what we have."

    Asked how he would survive without a No. 1 wide receiver, Cutler offered a response that only will help establish his rapport in the locker room.

    "We have one in Devin [Hester]," he said.

    Regarding Burress, if Cutler chooses his receivers as well as he chose his words, the quarterback will be as good as advertised.

    "If it happens, it happens," Cutler said. "I'm not going to speculate whether we're going to get him or not. The guys that we have right now, I'm 100 percent confident in and comfortable with."

    After reading that piece I wonder if the previous lack of talent behind center played a role in our receiver's lack of seperation that was often commented on 670 the SCORE. You wonder if subconsciously they didn't stretch that little bit more because they didn't have confidence in KO that it really would matter because KO just couldn't quite get it done talent-wise. Sure they liked him as a leader and respected him because he was putting forth his best effort (same as Rex), but he just didn't quite have the "stuff".

    Will our receivers now be more talented because the excitement of a guy like JC makes them try just a little bit harder? Maybe an analogy or comparison can be made to Michael Jordan's presence making those around him try just a little bit harder. The rest of the team feeding off of his talent and becoming much more talented because of him.

    This is an exciting concept. It makes me delve further. In the 80's our Bears had the best D and they went head to head with our Offense. You can say that because Jimmy Mac had to go against the Samauri Squad in practice that any D they faced on gameday brought no fear, making them much better.

    Now our D needs to get back to form and they have to face JC in practice, he is supposedly spectacular and he can only make them get back to where they belong too. Maybe facing Kyle, Rex, Brian and Caleb made our D soft because it wasn't a challenge and then when facing better offenses they allowed the meltdowns. This may not hold water, just thinking.

    This is a thrilling concept. The only flaw (there may be more) is that the 80's practices were more physical, Offense vs Defense, in terms of today's more non-contact, protect your players from injury style.

    Either way, it's all I have to stretch another day out so we can be just a little closer to July 31st and beyond.

    Go Bears!

  • Mike Brown is still not picked up by anybody, even though he was supposed to visit the Browns, what are the chances they will reconsider him? What are the chances that he will be around as some of our secondary potentially get's banged up during preseason? If we go to the playoffs or even ended up making it to the Superbowl, winning it etc.. It would be a shame for him not to be onboard for it. Not that I would cry too hard about it, I'm just stubborn and I think he still has something to offer.

  • By the way, can somebody please tell me how to put on my own picture box instead of the default one?

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