Bears

Bears need to replace 'old' Jay Cutler? Don't tell that to John Fox

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Bears need to replace 'old' Jay Cutler? Don't tell that to John Fox

BOCA RATON, Fla. – Few topics in Chicago football engender greater emotion than Jay Cutler, particularly his future as Bears quarterback now that he is turning 33 in a month.

As far as his head coach is concerned, there is no discussion.

Not because of Cutler’s age. Not because of Cutler’s performance. Not because of pretty much anything Cutler-related. If you want to talk Bears quarterbacks, talk to Fox about Cutler’s backups, not his replacement.

“He might’ve been the most pleasant surprise on our team of a year ago,” coach John Fox said on Wednesday at the NFL owners meetings. “What’s interesting about Jay, is I don’t see a 32-year-old guy. The moving, the mobility – I see a young quarterback. As long as they move like they’re 28, it doesn’t really matter.”

[RELATED - Patterns say Bears got just what they wanted in free agency]

Cutler’s roster status is further buttressed by having support in absolutely the highest corners of the organization.

“I’ve said for a long time now that I’m a big fan of Jay’s, on and off the field,” said Chairman George McCaskey. “I don’t think he gets enough credit for everything that he does off the field. He established himself in 2015 – again – as a leader of our team. He had a great year statistically, really solid play, cut down the turnovers.

“We’re looking forward to even more from him in 2016.”

If there is a single epic twist in all things Cutler, it lies in the fact that, unlike Jerry Angelo and the Bears giving Cutler an extension less than a full year after trading for him, unlike Phil Emery proclaiming him a “franchise quarterback” right after inheriting him, Fox and GM Ryan Pace were explicitly non-committal on Cutler this time a year ago.

Cutler then produced his best NFL season in one that began with reservations on the parts of both his coach and general manager.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bears fans!]

“I’d see tape on him. I’d seen stats,” Fox said. “There are a lot of things we evaluate. But until you actually get in a meeting room, get on a practice field and start teaching, that’s really when you kind of find out what kind of student you have. You can’t just look at him across the room or just look at them on film.”

The surprise will be if the Bears do not draft a quarterback sooner rather than later in the draft. Fox prefers to begin training camp with three quarterbacks, ideally four. Right now there is only David Fales behind Cutler.

Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears learning from LA Clippers coach Doc Rivers

Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears learning from LA Clippers coach Doc Rivers

The Bears are reportedly getting value out of the virtual speaker series they launched while under stay-at-home orders

According to the Los Angeles Times, one particularly gripping guest was Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who spoke to the team for an hour and fifteen minutes on May 21.

“I’ve heard a lot of people talk to groups,” Matt Nagy said via the LA Times. “And Doc, to me, not to take anything away from anybody else, but that was one of the most powerful hour-and-15-minute discussions that I had selfishly for myself and we had as a team.”

Rivers is one of the most successful basketball coaches in NBA history, leading the Boston Celtics to a championship in 2008 and winning Coach of the Year in 2000 with the Orlando Magic. He’s also tied with Red Auerbach for 12th all-time in wins at 938.

He’s also a Chicago native who attended Proviso East, so he’s a big Bears fan too.

“Talking to the Bears, the whole team, are you kidding me?” Rivers told the LA Times. “I was jacked up about that.”

Apparently the Bears were pretty “jacked up” too, because according to the report after the talk ended Nagy’s phone blew up with players and coaches wondering if they could ask Rivers more questions.

Some of the things they did talk about, according to the report: how Rivers scored 54 points in a high school game only to be pushed harder by his dad, organizing a duck boat ride for Boston’s “big three” in 2007 to motivate them for a future parade route, and Kawhi Leonard’s leadership style.

“Man, there was so much good stuff in there,” Nagy said. “A lot of the stuff I don’t even want to tell because I don’t want other people to know.”

RELATED: Leadership lessons Ryan Pace learned from time with Sean Payton, Saints

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Did fear of Aaron Rodgers lead Bears to vote down change to onside kick rule?

Did fear of Aaron Rodgers lead Bears to vote down change to onside kick rule?

The Chicago Bears have had the unfortunate reality of playing against Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers twice a year since he became the team's starter in 2008. 

In total, the Bears have faced Rodgers 23 times and have an atrocious 5-18 record against him. Simply put, he's owned Chicago, and the last thing the Bears want is for Rodgers, or any quality quarterback, to be given a chance to keep a comeback alive with the proposed (and voted down) change to the onside kick rule.

In case you missed it, the league voted against allowing teams the option of a 4th-and-15 play instead of the onside kick to keep possession of the ball. The proposal failed by a ridiculously close 16-16 vote, and the Bears were one of the teams that voted against it, according to NFL.com's Mike Garafolo.

Garafolo shared some insight as to why the Bears voted it down, even if it was tongue-in-cheek.

"One team said in jest, 'if you have a future Hall of Fame quarterback on your roster, you should be excluded from the conversation.' I'm told the team that joked about it was the Chicago Bears," Garofolo said. "So they were referencing Rodgers. How about that one?"

Unfortunately, the Bears haven't had the benefit of fielding a future Hall of Fame quarterback...ever. And in a season where the team doesn't know who their starter will be, it's no surprise they treated this rule as a competitive disadvantage.

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