Bears

Boyle: Knee-jerk reaction truly shameful

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Boyle: Knee-jerk reaction truly shameful

Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011
12:44 a.m.

By Pat Boyle
CSNChicago.com

There are two things I know for sure about Jay Cutler: He is a very durable NFL quarterback and there are plenty of people who think he is a jerk.

The latter is the reason he was more popular on Twitter the last 48 hours than Jack LaLanne RIP shout outs. I get that Jay comes across at times like a smug, arrogant athlete who doesnt feel like media sessions and fan interaction are part of his job description. He gets paid to play football and Sunday, prior to his injury, he didnt do that very well.

Tweet all you want about Cutler overthrowing a wide open Devin Hester, but think twice about hitting send if you question Cutlers toughness. He has been sacked 92 times in the last two years. Triple that sack number and you will get the approximate number of times he has been hit.

READ: David Kaplan says Cutler controversy bigger than this

All of that punishment from some of the best athletes in the world and Jay has missed only ONE start. That day off came after he was sacked a record 10 times by the Giants and I thought for sure he was going to end up like Jimmy Hoffa under the Meadowlands turf.

The formercurrent NFL players that have taken shots at Cutler seem like a group that were not Cutler fans to begin with and are kicking a guy while he is down. I have never been to the NFL Network in LA, but after hearing Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders' comments, I can assume the studios arent made of glass. I figure its more like a White House, right Michael?

Brian Urlacher and Olin Kreutz did their best to end the Jay is a quitter stuff by quickly refuting his critics as soon as the NFC title game was over. I only wish the Bears organization had the same punch in their initial post-game remarks. Lovie Smith, Jerry Angelo and many of Cutlers teammates came to his defense 24 hours too late.

WATCH: Angelo rips reactions

Everyone knows Jays reputation and how this story, occurring on such a big stage, could hurt their franchise quarterback for years to come. A better game plan may have eased the Cutler bashing and the potential long-term effect it could have on this team.

Reports say that Cutler was brought to tears after he was told his NFL brethren were ripping him. That doesnt sound like a reaction from a guy who doesnt care about his reputation.

Im hoping this fuels Jay to work harder at his entire craft and ultimately prove his detractors wrong. I hope the MRI results, that revealed a grade II MCL tear, are enough for most fans to understand that Jays knee was not stable enough to continue playing.

If Cutler keeps the Bears on course towards the Lombardi trophy, this knee issue will be forgotten. But, Jay also needs to help himself and realize some folks arent giving him the benefit of the doubt because of the way he carries himself. If Jay refuses to work on his image, this knee-jerk reaction could fester into a Donovan McNabbPhiladelphia Eagles kind of relationship, which deteriorated following his performance in Super Bowl XXXIX.

Social media has made everyone a reportercolumnist, minus the editor. You can tweet a disparaging comment about Cutler and maybe we mention it on Bears Postgame Live. While viewer feedback and opinion has become a vital part of many news organizations, its up to those mainstream media outlets to filter items that can be considered character assassination or a detriment to the rest of their audience.

One last thing - this criticism of Cutler was driven by his peers. If there were not dozens of tweets from the NFL community taking aim at Cutler, I dont believe this topic would have reached DEFCON 3.

Its funny, for years athletes have been blaming the media for unwarranted criticism and now they are the media, making unsubstantiated allegations.

Pat Boyle hosts Bears Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet. You can also watch Pat on SportsNite, Sunday through Thursday at 6:30 and 10. Follow him on Twitter @CSNBoyle.

With Roquan Smith and others, Bears moving closer to elite defense in a hurry

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USA TODAY

With Roquan Smith and others, Bears moving closer to elite defense in a hurry

As encouraging as some elements of the 2017 season was for the Bears defense, it wasn’t enough. Ranking in the top 10 in fewest points and yards allowed left linchpins like lineman Akiem Hicks setting “top five” as a declared goal.

With what has happened within the last 13 days – from the first preseason game vs. Baltimore through the long-anticipated arrival of Roquan Smith – the Bears have had arguably seen a handful of developments that could put “elite” within reach of a defense intent on being just that.

The developments have been the play of linebackers Kylie Fitts and Isaiah Irving, and now topped off by the Smith addition. The reasons are obvious – a linebacker-dependent defense (as all 3-4’s inherently are) has moved to the brink of realizing impact from not one, not two, but possibly three.

None is being given a leading role in an already good defense. But what they all represent are high-speed additions in a sport where speed rules and rivals pad-level in importance. Fitts and Irving have flashed off the edges, and Smith was the No. 8 pick of the draft for his speed in getting to targets, followed of course what he does to them when he gets there.

How any change occurs remains to play out, and Vic Fangio has used rotations in his front seven’s. One scenario could be Smith easing in as part of nickel packages, where the Bears have used a 4-2 front and would have Smith and Danny Trevathan as their ILB’s. Likewise, Fitts and Irving present edge options in that package as well as in base 3-4.

Perspective, please

Understand: No criticism of any sort is directed at either of the incumbents. No knock on Nick Kwiatkoski, who has in two seasons and this training camp established himself as an NFL inside linebacker. Nor is it a diss of Sam Acho, who is a physical edge presence with some pass-rush pop. The Bears need both, REALLY need both. 

But the 1983 Bears ranked fifth in the NFL in points allowed with Al Harris as part of a linebacker corps that included Mike Singletary and Otis Wilson. Jim Finks drafted Wilber Marshall in the 1984 first round and Ron Rivera in the second. Harris remained the starter but the Bears also jumped to third in points allowed with Marshall and first the two years after that.

Elite.

Hall of Fame defensive lineman Dan Hampton said years later that Marshall – nicknamed “Pit Bull”by teammates – was the single best individual player on that elite defense, and the player that took things to another level entirely. And as Marshall told Hall of Fame NFL writer Rick “Goose” Gosselin, who created the special-teams ranking system used by every NFL team and now hosts "Talk of Fame Radio:”

"They had Mike [Singletary] sitting on the sidelines when I’m playing middle linebacker on third down. So I wasn’t just a rush guy, like the guys on the end that you see them go 90 percent of the time."

Sounding like a bill of particulars for Smith.

Best guess that Smith – wearing the No. 58 that Marshall wore – will have a new level of impact for a defense that just added a piece with a chance to earn the designation of “elite.”

Fitts and Irving are younger, faster options on the edge. Fitts is bigger and faster (4.69 sec. 40) than Irving, but one can never be too rich, too thin or have too many edge rushers.

And Smith, who had 6.5 sacks last season at Georgia (his only credited sacks in three seasons there), projects to be the fastest Bears linebacker with a documented 4.51-sec. time in the 40 – faster than Lance Briggs, Brian Urlacher and…well, you get the point.

And speed is the route to “elite.”

SportsTalk Live Podcast: How much pressure is on Roquan Smith now that he is finally in the fold?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: How much pressure is on Roquan Smith now that he is finally in the fold?

On this episode of the SportsTalk Live Podcast David Haugh, Mark Gonzales and Leon Rogers join David Kaplan on the panel.

Roquan Smith’s holdout is over. How much pressure is on him now that the first round pick is finally in the fold?

Plus, the panel discusses how Joe Maddon can use grand slam hero David Bote down the stretch and if Tiger Woods is a lock to win a major in 2019.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: