Bears

Jay Cutler urges Bears not to start Mitch Trubisky in 2017

Jay Cutler urges Bears not to start Mitch Trubisky in 2017

Now that Jay Cutler has officially joined the broadcast booth, he can speak his mind when it comes to his former club.

Fresh off announcing he's joined FOX Sports as a broadcaster, teaming up with announcers Kevin Burkhardt and Charles Davis, the former Bears quarterback shared some advice on how the Bears should handle their new first-round quarterback Mitch Trubisky.

Joining ESPN Radio's Waddle and Silvy on Friday afternoon, Cutler said that he would advise the Bears not to play Trubisky even if they're playing bad.

"If it's going downhill, I don't really see any reason to play the kid," Cutler told ESPN Radio. "I'm sure there's going to be a lot of people calling for his name, because you draft him at No. 2 and draft him for a reason, and that's to play football and win games. But if you look at a lot of quarterbacks throughout this league, until you've got some people around you, some pieces around you, it's hard to win football games in this league as a quarterback.

"If it's going downhill, there's no way I'm playing him. For what? So he can go out there and take a beating and he can get off to a rough start as an NFL quarterback?"

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Cutler even vowed to reach out to current Bears starting quarterback Mike Glennon, who he believes the team put in awkward spot after they signed him to a three-year deal with $18.5 million guaranteed prior to trading up in the draft for Trubisky.

Bears fans will get their first chance to watch Cutler analyze his ex-club when he works in the broadcast booth for the Bears-Titans preseason matchup on Aug. 27.

How the new kickoff rule may impact the Bears

How the new kickoff rule may impact the Bears

NFL owners voted for sweeping changes to the kickoff play Tuesday, a decision that presents a new challenge for Bears special teams coach Chris Tabor.

Player safety was the focus of the rule change. Collisions will be reduced and the play will look more like a punt than the traditional kickoff fans have become used to. Here's a breakdown of what's coming in 2018:

With less contact and physicality in the play, Tabor's game planning will be tested. Kickoffs won't require as many power players like the ones traditionally seen in the wedge block. Skill players like receivers, running backs and tight ends could be viewed as more valuable special teams pieces, as was suggested by NFL Network's Bucky Brooks.

Tarik Cohen could become even more lethal under the new rules. If kick returners end up with more space to navigate, Cohen will improve on the 583 return yards he managed as a rookie. He'll conjure memories of the recently retired Devin Hester.

The ability to contribute on special teams is critically important for players on the roster bubble. It'll be interesting to see if the Bears apply the approach suggested by Brooks. If they do, undrafted players like Matt Fleming and John Franklin III suddenly have more value and a better chance to make the team. 

For a complete breakdown of the new kickoff rule, click here.

Charles Leno dubbed Bears' best-kept secret

Charles Leno dubbed Bears' best-kept secret

Chicago Bears left tackle Charles Leno, Jr. deserves a lot of credit. After starting his career as a seventh-round pick and something of a longshot to ever earn a starting job, he's become an irreplaceable fixture at the most important position along the offensive line.

The four-year, $38 million contract extension he signed last offseason is evidence of that.

Despite his value to the Bears, Leno is still somewhat underrated across league circles. That may be about to change.

Leno was recently named Chicago's best-kept secret.

Leno has consistently improved as a pass protector since he was drafted in the seventh round in 2014 and is now one of the team's top 10 players. If he hit the open market, Leno might be a $60 million player with the way the offensive line market is exploding. Over the next four years, the Bears should save about $20 million on the market price for their starting-caliber left tackle.

Leno has enjoyed steady improvement since his rookie season. His grades from Pro Football Focus reflect that: 53.6 (2014), 56.3 (2015), 71.2 (2016) and 80.4 (2017). 

The Bears' offensive line is poised for a big season in 2018. Leno and Bobby Massie are back as starters at tackle. Rookie second-round pick James Daniels will pair with Kyle Long at guard and third-year pro, Cody Whitehair, will get back to focusing on being the team's starting center.

If Leno's trend of improved play continues, he's a great candidate to go from best-kept secret to league star in 2018.