Bears

An Angelo strength: Backup QBs

618506.png

An Angelo strength: Backup QBs

With Josh McCown expected to be named this week as the Bears game-15 starting quarterback (I just want to be available if they do call my number, just be ready to go, McCown said), the Bears are hoping that he proves to be a surprise continuation of a Bears pattern under GM Jerry Angelo.

There is in fact one position that Angelo has been consistent in addressing very well in his tenure as Bears general manager: Back-up quarterback.

Angelo arguably has had better luck solving the No. 2 spot than the No. 1 job.

The carnage of the four Caleb Hanie starts has obscured the fact that in the last decade, Angelo has regularly put pieces in place at the linchpin second-level position that have produced not only wins, but occasional playoffs. Angelo has had suspect results in the draft, but he has regularly assembled a roster with a proven veteran backup quarterback.

One primary personnel change over the past two years may account for the current QB problems. More on that later.

Consider (by offensive coordinator):

The John Shoop Time

2001 Starter: Shane Matthews Backup: Jim Miller
Matthews is injured in the week-two game against Minnesota. Miller leads the Bears to a 13-3 finish.

2002 Starter: Jim Miller Backup: Chris Chandler
Injuries throughout the offense and defense derail the season. Chandler, with injuries of his own, finishes 2-5 as a relief starter with a passer rating of nearly 80.

2003 Starter: Kordell Stewart Backup: Chandler, rookie No. 1 Rex Grossman
Behind an offensive line with Steve Edwards and Aaron Gibson at tackles, nothing at QB goes real well in a 7-9 season, Dick Jaurons last.

The Terry Shea Interlude

2004 Starter: Grossman Backups: Chad Hutchinson, Craig Krenzel, Jonathan Quinn
Grossmans ruptured ACL in game three starts QB freefall. Quinn had played for Terry Shea. Krenzel a draft choice, Hutchinson never mind.

Enter: Ron Turner

2005 Starter: Grossman Backup: Kyle Orton
Grossman goes down early, rookie Orton operates down-sized offense of new coordinator Turner. Bears finish 11-5 and in the playoffs.

2006 Starter: Grossman Backups: Brian Griese, Orton
Even with Orton, Bears add Griese but Grossman stays healthy.

2007 Starter: Grossman Backups: Griese, Orton
Grossman starts three, gets hurt. Griese starts six, gets hurt. Grossman starts four, gets hurt. Orton goes 2-1 in final three.

2008 Starter: Orton Backup: Grossman
Orton starts 15, Grossman one. Orton tries to play through ankle injury, Bears come up a half-game short of playoffs.

2009 Starter: Jay Cutler Backup: Hanie
Turner and Cutler clash, QB struggles but stays healthy. Hanie mops up in Cincinnati, Baltimore blowouts.

The Martz Waltz

2010 Starter: Cutler Backups: Todd Collins, Hanie
Mike Martz lobbies through the offseason for a veteran backup, Bears bring Collins off the NFL shelf for 1 million, three relief nightmares. Hanie nearly salvages NFC Championship game.

2011 Starter: Cutler Backups: Hanie, McCown, Nathan Enderle
Martz OK with Hanie as No. 2, Cutler goes down vs. San Diego with Bears 7-3, assessment of Hanie turns out to be in error.

Trying a few things

McCown has been expected since Sunday to replace Hanie after the latters latest failure to get the offense into any sort of rhythm or state of momentum. Ironically, neither would be playing if Angelo had his way.

The Bears attempted to regain Orton after he was waived by the Denver Broncos; the Kansas City Chiefs claimed him first. A call had been made to former St. LouisBaltimore quarterback Marc Bulger, whod played for Martz but turned down the offer to come out of retirement.

The Bears also had looked at securing Matt Moore after he was let go by Carolina last year but Moore opted for the No. 2 job in Miami.

Are expectations too high for Bears WR Allen Robinson?

Are expectations too high for Bears WR Allen Robinson?

Allen Robinson was signed in free agency to become the alpha dog of the Chicago Bears' wide receiver corps. The three-year, $42 million contract that general manager Ryan Pace signed him to is proof of how high expectations are for the fifth-year pro.

Robinson isn't coming to Chicago with a flawless resume, however. His massive breakout year in 2015 (1,400 yards, 14 touchdowns) was followed by a pedestrian 883 yards in 2016 and a torn ACL in Week 1 last year. That begs the question: Is the forecast for Robinson's impact in 2018 too high right now?

According to Bleacher Report's Doug Farrar, the answer is yes. Robinson was named as the Bear most likely to disappoint this season.

Robinson practiced for the first time since the injury during the Bears' May minicamp, but it's safe to say Chicago isn't sure what it has in Robinson. If he gets back to his 2015 numbers, that would be huge for the Bears' passing offense, but given his 2016 regression and the specter of the 2017 injury, that's a tough bet.

Robinson will have an impact that goes beyond the traditional box score, and it will happen this season. Is he a lock to reach 1,000 yards and double-digit touchdowns? No, but his presence on the field will be enough to see a return on investment. The Bears haven't had the kind of threat he poses to defenses in several seasons, and his ability to pull a defensive coordinator's attention away from the running game will do wonders for Chicago's offensive output.

Determining whether Robinson is a disappointment in 2018 will depend on who's evaluating his season. Sure, he may disappoint in fantasy football circles if he doesn't re-emerge as a game-changing stat monster. But if he makes the Bears offense a more well-rounded and productive group, he'll live up to the expectations set by Pace and coach Matt Nagy.

As long as Robinson is pleasing Pace and Nagy, nothing else really matters.

Mitch Trubisky jersey sales trending in right direction

Mitch Trubisky jersey sales trending in right direction

Positive press about the Chicago Bears' offseason is having a strong impact on the jersey sales for the team's highest-profile player, Mitch Trubisky.

According to Dick's Sporting Goods, Trubisky's No. 10 is the fifth-most popular jersey among offensive players over the last 30 days. He's No. 6 among all players, regardless of position.

The Bears' offseason has been full of superlatives since their aggressive approach to free agency. The signings of Allen Robinson, Trey Burton and Taylor Gabriel put the spotlight on Trubisky and the potentially surging passing game. The second-round selection of Anthony Miller and word of Kevin White's offseason emergence has turned positive momentum into higher-than-anticipated expectations for Trubisky this season.

For Chicago to have any chance at meeting those expectations, Trubisky, who's entering his first full season as a starter with a new head coach and offensive system, has to thrive. Fans must be confident that he will, considering the investment they're making in his jersey.

Trubisky ended his rookie season with four wins in 12 starts, throwing for 2,193 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. He completed 59.4 percent of his passes. He should have a much more productive season in 2018 with his new arsenal of skill players and an innovative coaching staff, led by coach Matt Nagy and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich.