Bears

Mullin: Panthers should look at Bears' QB history

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Mullin: Panthers should look at Bears' QB history

Monday, April 11, 2011
Posted: 9:41 a.m.
By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Platteville buddy Peter King of Sports Illustrated recounts an interesting chat with Carolina Panthers GM Marty Hurney in his Monday Morning Quarterback, appropriately titled because the talk around Cam Newton is picking up. The Panthers have the No. 1 overall pick and itll be primarily Hurneys call on which player, or players, first-time head coach Ron Rivera is given.

Missouris Blaine Gabbert has been the consensus pick if Carolina goes quarterback but the Panthers have gotten tapes of Newton playing at Blinn Junior College, which raises eyebrows as well as draft stock. A variable in Carolina is the presence of Jimmy Clausen, a Hurney second-round pick last year, and the fact that the Panthers are still looking at a quarterback might not bode well for Clausen long-term.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper is one who thinks Carolina would be making a major mistake giving up on Clausen, who struggled horrendously against the Bears (12.0 passer rating, pulled) last season. Can Clausen still be successful?

No question about it, Kiper declared. Jimmy Clausen written out as a reject? I dont see it.

Mel has questions, as do most evaluators, about Newton but a lot of them are the kind raised about every highly rated quarterback. And you wonder if those Blinn tapes are going to create an even loftier image of Newton that hell have to maintain.

Things came easy for Cam Newton, Mel said. I hope he doesnt think its going to come easy in the NFL. When he hits that adversitywhen he starts being called a bust, how does he deal with that? Thats something to concern yourself with... Anytime your transitioning from one level to the next, its tough.

The Dallas Cowboys once went after Steve Walsh with a No. 1 pick in a supplemental draft after already taking Troy Aikman No. 1 overall in the regular draft. The San Francisco 49ers traded a couple draft picks for Steve Young even with Joe Montana in place and still at an MVP level. Howd those work out?

You can never be too rich, too thin, or have too many potential franchise quarterbacks in your pipeline. Just ask the Bears what happens if you dont.

Get it right the first time

Whether the Bears address their offensive line on the first or second day of the draft, or both, the football absolute at work is the need to get the pick right. Very, very right.

This is beyond the obvious need to acquire talent now. It involves not having to go after the same position again and again if theres a miss near the top of the draft. Because the cost of a failed pick ripples into subsequent drafts, as the Bears have found too often.

A reason the Bears are still in need of a dominant offensive lineman is in part because Chris Williams hasnt been, which is the expectation of a 14th-overall pick. A reason the Bears needed to bring in guards Ruben Brown and Roberto Garza via free agency was the lack of impact from third-rounders Mike Gandy and Terrence Metcalf in 2001-2002.

Replacing players because of age or free-agency departures is part of the deal. But needing to address the same position year after year is a hidden disaster. When Jim Coverts career was cut short because of a back injury, the Bears went through Stan Thomas (1991, No. 1), Troy Auzenne (1992, No. 2) and Marcus Spears (1994, No. 2) trying to find a tackle and ultimately had to buy Andy Heck to stop the draft hemorrhaging.

The Bears need a hit up front, particularly with elite-level guards costing upwards of 6 million a season.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: It's Packers week!

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: It's Packers week!

Adam Jahns, Chris Bleck and Jay Cohen join David Kaplan on the panel.

0:00- Former MLB GM turned analyst Jim Bowden has some good news for White Sox fans. He believes that the South Siders are now the frontrunners to land Bryce Harper. Could this actually happen? And how much would his signing turn around the fortunes of the franchise?

7:00- It's Packers Week. The guys discuss how satisfying it would be for the Bears to clinch the division against their ancient rivals.

10:30- Mitch Trubisky returned after missing two games with a shoulder injury and threw three picks. Should fans be concerned? Could he hold them back from making the Super Bowl?

15:30- Jim Boylen gets a vote of confidence from his boss. John Paxson supports the extra practicing but is the Bulls president missing the players' point?

20:00- It looks like Joe Maddon might have another new coach on his bench. With Brandon Hyde heading to manage the Orioles, should the Cubs name David Ross their bench coach?

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

Sports Talk Live Podcast

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Focused on himself, Mitch Trubisky isn’t here to talk about Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers

Focused on himself, Mitch Trubisky isn’t here to talk about Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers

Mitch Trubisky had zero interest on Wednesday in fielding a line of questions about his high school nickname, which was bestowed upon him thanks to a comparison to a certain former Green Bay Packers quarterback. The days of him being “Favre” are, as he put it, in the past. 

“I’m done with that nickname,” Trubisky said. “No one calls me that anymore. I’m just focused on playing this week and doing my job.”

Trubisky clearly wasn’t thrilled with that line of questioning, and Matt Nagy didn’t entertain it, either. This is a Bears team with far more important things ahead of them as they stare down a game against the Green Bay Packers in which they can accomplish two season-defining things: First, clinching the NFC North; and second, effectively eliminating the Packers from playoff contention. 

Trubisky was sharply critical of himself after Sunday’s 15-6 win over the Los Angeles Rams, a game in which the Bears won but he had, by passer rating, the worst game of his career (33.3). He emerged Wednesday with a clear head about his bad game, citing sloppy footwork and an over-eagerness to be back on the field for the first time since Nov. 18. 

Rust from that layoff, Trubisky said, was not a factor. 

“I think that's just making excuses, saying that I could be rusty,” Trubisky said. “Bottom line is I just came out and I didn't make the throws that I needed to make. I didn't do my job necessary when my team needed me to do my job and I know that I can play better.”

The more specific root of Trubisky’s problem, he said, was trying to do too much against a Wade Philips defense that deployed plenty of zone coverage. That took away the opportunities for Trubisky to make a big play, but he tried anyway, sailing two throws for interceptions while getting picked off on an aggressive third-and-10 throw, too. 

Along those lines, too — the primetime Sunday Night Football stage wasn’t why he tried to do too much. It goes back to an over-exuberance for being back on the field for the first time in three weeks. 

“I should have just had a more focused mindset of, OK, I just need to do my job,” Trubisky said. “I just need to find completions. I just need to catch the snap, do my footwork and get the ball to my playmakers rather than being too amped up about being out there with my guys and trying to make all-world plays. I just need to go out there and do my job.”

This is about as encouraging of an explanation from Trubisky as possible, in a few ways. The issues had something to do with his layoff, but not necessarily rust. And they didn’t happen because the moment was too big for a guy who will play in a few more big moments come January. 

The word “shoulder” was also not mentioned during Trubisky’s media session, too. 

While Trubisky was clearly frustrated with play against the Rams, he made sure to note the most important thing from Sunday was the Bears emerging with a win. Adding to that, Nagy said Trubisky’s positive attitude didn’t waver on the sidelines, which is important to note. 

“He's the leader of this offense and the guys look to him for any frustration, any type of ability of him to not show leadership or any of that, we don't want it,” Nagy said. “He hasn't done it.”

The lasting impression from Trubisky’s media session on Wednesday was this: Focus. He came across as willing to not only engage in self-criticism, but willing to be specific about it (which, it should be said, is not uncommon for him this year). But anything general, or about a topic he didn’t think was relevant for this weekend’s game against the Packers? He didn’t have time for that. 

And, at least publicly, that presents as a quarterback frustrated with what he showed against the Rams, but focused on exactly what he needs to do to be better on Sunday against the Packers. 

The Favre thing is one example. How he answered a question about Aaron Rodgers — and what he might admire about him — is another. 

“I don't know, I haven't really watched much on him this year,” Trubisky said. “I’m really just focused on continuing to learn this offense and focused on what I got to do and my job this year. So just continue to learn and master this offense and focus on myself and my teammates. Obviously he's had a lot of success, but I'm just focused on what I got to do for my team this year right now.”

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