Monday, May 18, 2009
Cutler may lack big name targets, but he might not need them to succeed.
Its hard for me to relive Super Bowl XLI. I of course speak of the Colts vs. Bears battle in which the Bears came up on the short 29-17. It was especially painful for me as a Bears fan because at the time, I was a student at Indiana University. Therefore, I had to face Colts fans on campus on a daily, hourly and even perhaps minute-by-minute basis in the wake of the loss, which meant a fair amount of verbal torment. After awhile, the anger faded and the trash talk dwindled, but it pains me as I look back on the game. And the pain that I speak of can really be attributed to one person: Rex Grossman. I would say that I wish he knew how much anguish he caused Bears fans, but I'm pretty sure he already knows. After all, he was the subject of a media frenzy for quite some time that continuously pinned him as a misfit, an underachiever, and a bust. It would have been nearly impossible for Rex to avoid looking at some of the things that were written about him.
Back to the Colts/Bears Super Bowl battle...as big of a dummy as Grossman may have appeared to be that year, he still semi-led a professional football team to the championship game. And who was he throwing to that season? Muhsin "My hands turn to concrete when I get to Chicago" Muhammed, Bernard "all I can do is run a fly route" Berrian, Desmond Clark, and Rashied Davis (sorry for no obnoxiously long nicknames for Desmond and Rashied, they're actually both rather serviceable). Those players were the top four receivers during the 2006-2007 campaign. Sounds like a deadly combination of players to me...yeah, except exactly the opposite. The fact is that Rex Grossman and the less than glamorous receiving core that I just listed made it all the way to the Super Bowl and were actually relatively competitive in the final game.
Fast forward to today. The Bears now have Jay Cutler and are also coming off a draft in which they actually took something that they needed: receivers. So now its time for a little simple math. Subtract Muhammed and Berrian from the four that I discussed earlier and add a dynamic Devin Hester, a reliable Greg Olsen, a veteran Brandon Lloyd, and promising rookies Joaquin Iglesias, Johnny Knox, and Derek Kinder and you've got an intriguing list of targets for Cutler.
I realize that the receiving core that I just mentioned above may seem mediocre to many, perhaps even laughable to teams that have been blessed with the likes of Boldin and Fitzgerald or Harrison and Wayne, but us Bears fans are used to a lineup like that. People may laugh and laugh about Cutler's targets this year, but it's going to work.
All I've heard since Cutler's arrival and even post-draft (in which we took 3 WRs) is "Nice job getting Jay Cutler, but he's got nobody to throw to, so its a worthless trade until they get him some help." Wrong. Dead wrong. What the critics in the media and among the fans must realize is that Jay Cutler has far better targets for this upcoming year than Rex Grossman had in the Super Bowl run. Now, I'm not saying that the Bears are going to make the Super Bowl this year because of the offensive improvement. I think that there are, for the first time in awhile, some defensive issues that may hold the Bears back from such a feat this year. But at least the new faces in the Bears offense could provide Cutler with some exciting options.
So can you blame me for having thoughts of "what could have been" in the Colts/Bears Super Bowl showdown if we actually had a competent quarterback with a few more weapons? It doesn't surprise me that outsiders still look at the Bears offense as a weak point because that's the way its been for years. It's easy to do. But for once, I'm confident in saying that the critics are wrong. Jay Cutler has targets that will more than suffice. They may not have big names, but they'll do. And for once as a Bears fan, I may be asking myself this: Is it the defense I should be worried about?
Feel free to comment on the blogs. They'll be more content on the way soon, so stay tuned.