Bears

Bears signing Brian Hoyer a statement bigger than just a backup QB

Bears signing Brian Hoyer a statement bigger than just a backup QB

The signing of Brian Hoyer was just another margin note to another NFL Draft weekend. But of all the moves made by the Bears this weekend, none might have made any clearer mission statement than the addition of this 30-year-old (31 in October) backup quarterback who is on his fifth team in the last six years and had winning records as a starter with his last two but might be remembered as the only quarterback to lose his job to Johnny Manziel.

For one thing, the last time the Bears signed a backup quarterback from Michigan State was in the late 1990s when they became the fifth team for Jim Miller, who sat behind Shane Matthews and Cade McNown before rescuing the 2001 season and taking the Bears to the playoffs.

And that in fact appears to be the plan with Hoyer, that if something befalls Jay Cutler, the Bears will not spiral down the way they did in 2011, when Caleb Hanie let a 7-3 start turn into an 8-8 playoff miss after a Cutler injury.

Because, whether skeptics agree or not, the Bears do in fact see the 2016 playoffs as very much within reach.

Privately the internal expectations for 2015 were exponentially higher than the way the season played out, vindicated in some measure by five losses by four or fewer points and one on an overtime touchdown with a roster that lost two of its three wide receivers (Alshon Jeffery, Eddie Royal) for seven games each, their projected No. 1 draft pick (Kevin White) for all 16, virtually all of their projected top defensive linemen and being physically without their No. 1 tight end (Martellus Bennett) for five games.

A team resigned to any sort of rebuilding mode typically does not take developmental time away from a quarterback prospect and put a veteran No. 2 in place ahead of him, not unless there are lofty expectations in the short term. And Hoyer was signed for one year while the Bears ignored the quarterback position in the draft.

This is in the vein of the Bears’ securing Brian Griese in 2006 to back up Rex Grossman despite the distinguished rookie season turned in by Kyle Orton that ended in the playoffs. It was there in acquiring Todd Collins as a veteran behind Cutler in 2010 despite some seeming promise in Hanie; in Josh McCown for the 2013 season; even in Fox and the organization choosing to re-sign Jimmy Clausen last offseason, a quarterback familiar to Fox and a former No. 2 draft choice. Those teams didn’t accomplish their goals, but the plan was there.

The 2012 Denver Broncos under Fox did bring in Hanie to back up Peyton Manning (who hadn’t missed a game in 13 years before his 2011 neck issues). But they also invested a No. 2 pick in Brock Osweiler, who was Manning’s backup through this season. The Bears don’t draft quarterbacks high, none higher than the fourth round since 2003, which does explain some things, but that’s a topic for another time.

Veteran journeymen don’t necessarily come even close to working out. But the intention is clear: Development is always good, but not at the expense of what is considered a promising present, particularly with a starting quarterback at his best at age 33, and not at the risk of precipitous backsliding if that backup is needed.

Hoyer does not pose a job challenge to Cutler; he wasn’t signed to push Cutler. And no member of the 2016 draft class was going to, either. Early last offseason, Fox and Ryan Pace pointedly withheld any “he’s our quarterback” sentiments. This offseason, both have been so clearly pleased with Cutler’s performance and personal makeup, it was amply apparent that Connor Cook, Kevin Hogan, Paxton Lynch or any other member of this draft class was a challenger. If the Bears weren’t pleased with their starting quarterback, they could have traded well back in Round 1 and taken Lynch long before the Broncos did.

Fox and Pace subscribe to under-predicting and over-producing. But their actions have the feel of a very strong expectation.

Where are Bears skill players being selected in fantasy football drafts?

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USA Today

Where are Bears skill players being selected in fantasy football drafts?

For fantasy football players planning their annual summer draft strategy, reviewing a player's average draft position (the average draft slot where a player is being selected in fantasy drafts across the country) is a great place to start.

It's also a great place to look to gauge the national opinion of the Bears' skill players on offense. For example, Todd Gurley, the Rams' feature running back, currently sits atop fantasy draft boards with an ADP of No. 1 overall. Le'Veon Bell is second, and Dallas' third-year runner, Ezekiel Elliott, is third. Essentially, they're considered three of the best -- if not THE best -- running backs in the NFL by fans.

So where do guys like Jordan Howard, Allen Robinson and Mitch Trubisky rank? Let's take a look.

Note: Average draft positions are from Fantasy Pros.

Jordan Howard:  ADP = 25 (RB15)

Players ahead of Howard include Bengals second-year back Joe Mixon, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and Packers receiver Davante Adams. Call it a hunch, but Howard will outproduce this ADP.

Allen Robinson: ADP = 42 (WR17)

Robinson trails players like Josh Gordon, Doug Baldwin and Stefon Diggs on draft boards. This seems fair with Robinson coming off a torn ACL.

Mitch Trubisky: ADP = 168 (QB26)

Trubisky has a chance to be one of this year's fantasy football league-winners if he quickly takes to Matt Nagy's offense. He's being criminally underrated in fantasy circles.

Tarik Cohen: ADP = 77 (RB32)

Unless Cohen becomes the Bears' feature back, which is a long shot, this ADP and overall ranking seem about right. The only way he makes a jump up fantasy rankings is if the Bears use him like the Saints used Alvin Kamara, with similar results.

Trey Burton: ADP = 94 (TE9)

Burton is one of the Bears' favorites among fantasy GMs. He's expected to become Chicago's Travis Kelce this season. If he does, he'll be a fantasy star.

Anthony Miller: ADP = 206 (WR65)

Fantasy players like Miller the most of all receivers opposite Robinson this season. He's got a chance to prove them right with his blend of inside and outside receiver traits.

Taylor Gabriel: ADP 357 (WR110)

Yikes. Gabriel is essentially undraftable in fantasy leagues this season, according to this ADP. No one is suggesting Gabriel will be the next coming of Tyreek Hill, but this seems awfully low.

Kevin White: ADP 328 (WR105)

White has a slightly higher upside in the opinion of fantasy owners than Gabriel, but he's still nothing more than free agency fodder at this point in summer drafts.

Jay Cutler is the most unsurprising 'breakout star' of 'Very Cavallari'

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USA TODAY

Jay Cutler is the most unsurprising 'breakout star' of 'Very Cavallari'

After producing one-liners as amusing as “I’m looking to do the exact opposite of work,” in his reality TV debut, Jay Cutler was at it again.

The former Bears quarterback had more gems to offer in the second episode of his wife’s reality show, “Very Cavallari.” Cutler’s general apathy towards, well, everything continued.

In one of the more unintentionally funny lines of the show, Kristin Cavallari, Cutler’s wife and the star of the show, said Cutler has no game. Keep the giggles to yourselves, Bears fans.

She wistfully talked about how much fun the couple used to have early in their relationship until Cutler cut her off and said “You decided to go to bed at 8:45 every night.”

“He can be a little s*** sometimes, but he makes me laugh,” Kristin Cavallari said of her husband on the show.

That line might be something Bears fans can relate to.

While the show has plenty of your standard reality show drama, Cutler’s scenes are a humorous change of pace. The way things are going, Cutler could be in for a bigger part. In the meantime, maybe Bears fans will skip around until Cutler appears on camera.

Who knew? Bears fans, Kristin. All Bears fans knew.