Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: CHICAGO BEARS, Sports — Rick Moran @ 9:29 am


The date April 2, 2009 will live forever in Chicago Bears lore. On that date, the franchise pulled the trigger on the most significant trade in many a year when they acquired Pro-Bowl QB Jay Cutler from the Denver Broncos in exchange for former third string QB Kyle Orton.

It was almost too good to be true. In fact, if the trade had occurred a day earlier on April Fools, it is likely most fans wouldn’t have believed it. They would have chalked it up as one more cruel joke Bears management played on fans over the last couple of decades when it comes to drafting or acquiring starting quarterbacks.

The team has had 29 different QB’s since Jim McMahon and his Punkadelic Freak Show pulled up stakes at Soldier Field and moved on to greener pastures. This record of absolute, embarrassing futility has probably never been surpassed, nor is it likely to be. Bears “saviors” drafted or traded for at the QB position have included:

* Mike Tomczak, a second stringer at Ohio State coached by a guy who is famous for saying, “Only 3 things can happen when you pass the ball and two of them are bad.”

* Jim Harbaugh, a product of Michigan whose collegiate career was spent handing off to brilliant running backs

* The eminently forgettables; Peter Tom Willis, Will Furrer, Steve Stenstrom, Moses Moreno, Henry Burris, … must I go on?

* Rick Mirer - bust. Erik Kramer - former Detroit Lion (nuff said). Jim Miller - best of the lot but couldn’t stay healthy.

Shane Matthews was drafted from the national champion Florida team. Had an arm like spaghetti and a head filled with oatmeal. Cade McNown was drafted from USC. He was under the impression he had been drafted to play running back. Both were gone within 3 years of being touted as “The next Jim Harbaugh.” Seriously.

Trades that didn’t quite work out; Kordell Stewart who also believed that the QB position was to be filled by a running back; Chris Chandler, who wasn’t too bad but who was such a delicate flower, if a defensive lineman sneezed in his direction, he would be injured and out for the season; and Brian Greise whose daddy may have been a Superbowl QB but had the arm strength of the girl who won the 9-10 year old Punt, Pass, and Kick contest.

Then there was Wonder Dog. It’s not easy to discuss Rex Grossman for me. I really thought he might be “it.” He had all the tools except one; a headfull of brains. For 3 years (he was hurt for 2 more) he was the most inconsistent QB in NFL history. It was a running joke in the media prior to each game he started whether “Good Rex” or “Bad Rex” would show up.

In the end, “No Rex” became the battle cry of the Soldier Field faithful.

As for Kyle Orton, he was never supposed to be anything more than a backup. He too, never panned out, despite doing well as a rookie and, like many a Bear QB, looking like a Hall of Famer in September and October.

But when Autumn falls away and the winter winds begin whipping off Lake Michigan, turning Soldier Field into a nightmare of cold, snow, and ice, Bears QB’s begin to look like the foliage in Grant Park; dull, gray, and dead. And this is where Jay Cutler comes in.

The 25 year old QB played in snowy Denver for three seasons and has eye popping arm strength which will come in handy later in the season when being able to rifle a ball through the gales that swirl around Soldier Field will come in mighty handy. My Beloveds have never had a QB with Cutler’s abilities - and that includes Sid Luckman, the only Bear QB in the Hall of Fame. He also brings some intangibles to the position that haven’t been noticeable in years. Leadership, a fierce desire to win, and a sixth sense that allows him to read defenses correctly.

Forget his horrible game in Green Bay. This guy can play QB and it will be fascinating to see him develop chemistry with a very young, but talented group of receivers.

But all of this is overshadowed, of course, by the loss last week of defensive captain Brian Urlacher. Coupled with the injury to veteran Pisa Tinoisamoa who signed with the team after 7 excellent seasons with St. Louis, what was once a Bears strength - the linebacking corps - will now struggle to fill the gaps on the run and make the Cover 2 work.

Urlacher is, quite simply, irreplaceable, and without him, My Beloveds will probably finish under .500.

But at least the offense will improve. And who knows? Perhaps the defense will surprise. The defensive line has improved significantly thanks to the addition of line coach Rod Marinelli who has instilled confidence and desire in a unit that performed very poorly last year. But huge question marks remain in the defensive backfield with unproven rookie Al Afalava at strong safety and little known 3rd year man Kevin Payne at the other safety spot. Also, former all rookie team member CB Nathan Vasher has lost all confidence and appears to be a liability while the team’s best cover guy Peanut Tillman has been injured and is playing at only 75%.

On offense, RB Matt Forte is ready for an explosive year and will run behind a marginally improved offensive line. The addition of the aging Orlando Pace may not pan out while the addition of Frank Omiyale from the Panthers as well as a healthy Chris Williams should open a few more holes for Forte. Whether they can protect Cutler is the nub of the matter. They better, because if Cutler goes down Bears fans will be treated to the incompetent stylings of Caleb Hanie, a second year man who has never played a down of professional football when it matters.

The receivers are all young (Hester is a third year man) and all very inexperienced. This was painfully driven home several times in the Green Bay loss. But speedsters Johnny Knox, Hester, and Juaquin Iglesias can get deep and will be prime targets for Cutler once they get to know each other a little more. Tight ends Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark will no doubt play a huge role as the season goes on. Both have tremendous pass catching ability and Olsen especially may have a break out year.

Special teams appear to be their usual spectacular selves with dead eye kicker Robbie Gould set for another Pro-Bowl year. Will Devin Hester return to his former glory and return kicks for TD’s? He may have to if the Bears expect to win ballgames this year.

I am fully prepared to be disappointed in this season. I guess the best I can hope for is some exciting, close games with the offense clicking. Other than that, I am not hopeful that My Beloveds will be able to squeeze out many victories with a crippled defense and so many question marks all over the field.


Today’s Steelers game:

Got a bet going with Ed Morrissey who is a huge Steelers fan so Go Bears!

Prediction: Steelers will run for over 200 yards and Big Ben will avoid the pass rush. Bears will score enough points to keep it close until toward the end of the 3rd quarter when Steelers will pull away.

Final: Steelers 31 Bears 20

UPDATE II: Stars are born

It looked like my prediction about the Steelers pulling away at then end of third quarter was going to come true. But the Steeler’s kicker Jeff Reed missed a relatively easy 37 yarder that would have given them a 10 point lead and the momentum shift was huge.

Jay Cutler made the plays. Johnny Knox showed that he is going to be a threat for years to come. The offensive line played barely well enough. And Robbie Gould hit the game winner - as cool a customer with the game on the line as anyone in the league.

But it was the defense that stepped it up after that horrible first quarter and kept Big Ben, Hines, and the rest of the Steeler weapons in relative check. Typical Lovie defense, they played “bent not broke” for the rest of the game, stuffing the run, (except for 3 or 4 long gainers), keeping everything in the passing game in front of them, sacking Big Ben 3 times.

Cutler? Other Bears QB’s in the past led the team to last second wins. But the 25 year old proved that he has an ineffable quality to rally the offense to step up their game a notch and make the plays to keep drives going. Hester made two catches in traffic on third down. Knox proved he is a weapon after the catch. Olsen proved he can take a hit and keep on ticking. And third stringer Kellen Davis made up for some early drops with a stellar catch in the end zone for the Bears’ second score.

Still don’t like the defense. Steelers pounded the middle and Hillenmeyer ain’t no Urlacher. But he got some help from the nickel back Manning on several passing downs so hopefully, the adjustments without the all-pro middle linebacker will continue.

An extremely satisfying win - especially since Ed Morrisey must now link to this post as the loser of our bet. Ed should have stuck with rooting for Favre and the Vikings.

Today - he is rooting for the losing team.


  1. Well I’m back now.

    Comment by charles — 9/20/2009 @ 9:32 am

  2. I don’t know how I missed it, but I didn’t realize B.U. was gone.

    My condolences. Since I’m not a Bears fan I’m not unhappy to see him go, but I’d have been more pleased to see him poached over to my boys. Truly a legend (or a monster, depending on which side you’re sitting on).

    Your prediction sounds very likely, but without Troy P. I don’t know if I can emotionally deal with watching the game. He reminds me of a Greg Lloyd, but with more “joi de vive” and less “Intent to Permanently Cripple”. Guess I’ll just catch the highlights later.

    semi-off topic: I never noticed your opinion on the update to Soldier Field (the “spaceship”), although I’m sure you commented on it. Now that the initial jarring impact has probably worn off, do you like the addition?

    Comment by busboy33 — 9/20/2009 @ 11:27 am

  3. Best of luck, Rick. My wife and I are pulling for “da Bears”.

    Urlacher is a huge loss, but I think Cutler’s ability will help them win more than 6… I’ll bet they win at least 8.

    Of course, I just watched Davis (Chicago #87) drop 2 passes, so maybe you’re right.

    Comment by lionheart — 9/20/2009 @ 2:58 pm

  4. Feel better now Rick?

    Comment by Ronald Earl — 9/20/2009 @ 5:10 pm

  5. [...] II: I bet Rick Moran, and he won.  The Steelers blew two field goal attempts in the final quarter and lost by three.  That’s [...]

    Pingback by Hot Air » Blog Archive » NFL Week 2 open thread — 9/20/2009 @ 5:31 pm

  6. Jay learned a valuable quarterbacking lesson today.

    When you are standing next to the ref and call time out, get out of the way!

    Comment by jms — 9/20/2009 @ 6:01 pm

  7. Cade McNown went to UCLA, not USC.

    You’re right - no wonder he sucked.


    Comment by Damian P. — 9/20/2009 @ 7:49 pm

  8. Da Bears 17, da steelers 2 missed field goals and 14 points. My 2 favorite teams won today, the Bears and whoever is playing the Packers.

    Rick, just out of curiosity how the hell do I contact you via e-mail about a terrestrial radio appearance? Your email form either isn’t there any longer or doesn’t load.

    Sorry - I only do extraterrestrial radio. (Just kidding).

    Your first sentiments, I agree with wholeheartedly. What is wrong with the world today is not enough Packer hatred.

    Email form on this site is sort of like an appendix - one of those useless things that you don’t know why you still have. It is a holdover from my last design and has not worked in years.

    Reach me at elvenstar522@aol.com.


    Comment by Pope of Hyde Park — 9/20/2009 @ 11:48 pm

  9. “…rooting for Favre and the Vikings.”

    I’ve been a Vikings fan for over 20 years. Trust me, rooting for them both isn’t easy.

    Comment by sota — 9/21/2009 @ 5:11 am

  10. Congratulations, Rick. I see Ed tipped his hat to you and to Cutler’s performance over at HA.

    I don’t think it would have been so close if the Bear’s receivers could catch. I saw a lot of dropped passes.

    Comment by lionheart — 9/21/2009 @ 6:18 am

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