Bears

Could Bears overlook Josh McDaniels factor and repeat QB mistake with Jimmy Garoppolo?

Could Bears overlook Josh McDaniels factor and repeat QB mistake with Jimmy Garoppolo?

The Bears once thought they knew more than Josh McDaniels did, about Jay Cutler. If the Bears have targeted a No. 2 quarterback that McDaniels, Bill Belichick and the Patriots are willing to turn loose, do they AGAIN think they’re quarterback-smarter than McDaniels?

The Bears buzz around New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo started quite some time ago (when is there NOT some sort of buzz around the Bears and “quarterback?”) and is now going to increase in volume as the 2017 league year — and free agency and trading window — open in March.

Trading for the largely untested Patriots’ backup would constitute addressing the Bears’ quarterback concern. But “addressing” is not the same as “solving,” and the Bears have been undone once before with a short-sighted infatuation with a quarterback just because of apparent NFL “credentials.”

But there was a reason why Cutler was made available, just as there would be a reason or several why Garoppolo, whom the Patriots thought enough of to invest a second-round draft choice in a few seasons ago.

One common “reason” that Cutler and now Garoppolo presumably have been available is McDaniels, the incoming Denver Broncos coach who ousted Cutler and New England offensive coordinator tasked with mentoring Garoppolo and Tom Brady, the latter both before and after his stint in Denver.

Meaning: McDaniels may not be a fit as a head coach, but he does know something about what an elite quarterback should play and act like. He was quick to dump Cutler, and as the highest-ranking offensive coach under Belichick, McDaniels is intimately involved in any decision regarding Garoppolo.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

If the Bears are good with Garoppolo, then they are addressing their quarterback situation with a second-round draft choice, which Garoppolo was and has thrown exactly 94 NFL passes (albeit, without an interception). If that were the stated plan this upcoming draft, the reaction would be ... not good.

The instant love gush over Cutler after the 2009 trade was bizarre, if only because he had little record as a winner and a Pro Bowl as his credential. (Never mind that, to cite Georgetown legend John Thompson, “Pro Bowl” isn’t a distinction won; it’s given by vote.)

What makes the infatuation with Garoppolo particularly amusing, is that Garoppolo was a decent quarterback at Eastern Illinois — 61 percent completions, but with pedestrian rates of 63 percent and INT rate of 3 percent (118 TD’s, 51 INT’s). Against Ohio Valley Conference competition. Really?

Just for comparison purposes, of course: But Deshaun Watson completed 67 percent of his Clemson passes (every year, 67-plus percent), with an INT rate of 2.7 percent. Against ACC competition. And then there’s the National Championship thing...

Jimmy Garoppolo? It Could work. But brining in another quarterback that Josh McDaniels is OK with going forward without? Really?

Pro Football Focus: Bears should sign Jameis Winston

Pro Football Focus: Bears should sign Jameis Winston

Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston had one of the most polarizing seasons in recent NFL history when he threw for 5,109 yards, 33 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in 2019. He was the first quarterback to throw for more than 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in the same season.

His hard-to-figure-out year makes his pending free agency even more confusing. Does Tampa Bay have enough confidence in the former No. 1 overall pick to lock him up on a long-term deal? Are they better off using the franchise tag and buying another year of evaluation? Or should they just turn the page and move on?

Those decisions are far from being made at this point, but if Winston is allowed to test the open market, Pro Football Focus believes the Bears should go all-in on signing the big-armed yet mistake-prone passer.

Trubisky has struggled to generate any positive plays and is in Winston’s realm as far as negatively graded play rate. Winston’s decision making absolutely needs some work, but at his best, he is “ballin.'” Chicago isn’t in the position to grab a high quarterback prospect in the draft. They could get themselves Jalen Hurts in the second round, but that’s the best they’ll do. A one-year trial is the best option for the Bears, so buckle up and get ready for the ride Chicago — what’s the worst that could happen?

Winston's strength -- pushing the ball down the field -- would be a welcome site in Chicago, especially after Trubisky's brutal 6.1 yards per attempt last season. Winston, in theory, would take advantage of what wide receiver Allen Robinson does well, too, with an aggressive mentality that's led to high-end production for pass-catcher Mike Evans.

But are the Bears really going to invest more than $25 million on a one-year deal for a player as turnover-prone as Winston? Chicago doesn't have much salary-cap space as it is, and cheaper options like Bengals veteran Andy Dalton (albeit via trade) seem more realistic.

If Chicago is truly going to apply the Titans' model from 2019 to their offseason plan this year, Winston wouldn't make sense. But as we've learned with the way this front office has handled the quarterback situation over the last few years, not much seems to make sense anyway. 

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Bears gather intel on Temple center Matt Hennessy at 2020 Senior Bowl

Bears gather intel on Temple center Matt Hennessy at 2020 Senior Bowl

The Bears have an obvious need along the interior of the offensive line after the retirement of guard Kyle Long and the average-at-best play of his replacement, Rashaad Coward, in 2019.

The 2020 Senior Bowl kicked off its second day of practices Wednesday with the North team (coached by the Lions) beginning the afternoon with an aggressive session. It offered a great opportunity for Bears scouts to get a long look at some of this year's top senior offensive line prospects. 

RELATED: Top 30 free agents of 2020 NFL offseason

One player who stood out in one-on-one drills was Temple center/guard Matt Hennessy. He was arguably the best offensive lineman on the field and consistently stonewalled opposing defensive lineman regardless of their rush move (power, speed or a combination of both). Chicago took notice.

Hennessy was the target of several teams who used their post-practice on-field time to gather more intel; the Bears were one of them.

Hennessy has had some injury issues during his tenure as an Owl, but he's been a quality starter (center) for Temple over the last three seasons. Here's what The Draft Network's scouting report of Hennessy lists as his positive traits:

Possesses good size and length at the position. Football intelligence jumps off the tape each game. One of the most consistent pass blockers in the country. Excellent coordination with his hands, eyes, and feet. Consistently plays with good balance. Projects well to a zone-blocking scheme. Effective at walling off second-level defenders and reaching three techniques.

The Bears had issues at center last season when former second-round pick James Daniels went through some midseason struggles. It eventually led to a position switch with Cody Whitehair, who stabilized the interior (at least a little). 

But Hennessy, who started the week as a likely Day-3 pick, would be an ideal selection for a Chicago team that needs to just add talent to the position group. 

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