Some may be wondering why I labeled this as "Weekly Musings from a Confused Blogger." Ever since the Cutler trade, I've become more optimistic about our team. I'm not used to mass quantities of optimism. Usually, being cynical is right in my wheelhouse. Unfortunately, I've gotten used to being optimistic about the Bears and suddenly, being cynical is starting to become awkward for me.
Optimism seems rampant among most Chicago fans. The Bulls arguably just finished one of the best series in NBA playoff history. The Blackhawks, who were once left for dead, are alive and kicking. And the Bears traded for Jay Cutler and had a decent draft by most accounts.
However, I want to temper the enthusiasm for a moment. I'm just as excited as all of you, so why would I attempt to take a sober look at our roster? Even with our offseason acquisitions, we have some major holes on our roster.
Jay Cutler is our quarterback. Sweeter words have never been spoken. Most of us don't care who our backup quarterback is, which is a dangerous thought process. Why? Ask yourself one question: What would happen if Jay was injured?
Currently, we have Caleb Hanie and Brett Basanez. I'll admit that I'm a fan of Hanie. Granted, I realized he looked pretty good in preseason due to the third string defense that he was playing against, but he flashed good signs. But even though I'm in Hanie's corner, I want to see him play against the 1st or 2nd string defense in preseason before I feel fully comfortable having him as our 2nd string.
And before someone mentions this, no, I don't want Rex Grossman.
We addressed this position three times in the draft, and yet it's still a problem. For better or worse, Devin Hester will be our #1. Earl Bennett will most likely end up as the #2, leaving the slot to Juaquin Iglesias, Johnny Knox, or Rashied Davis.
This is the time of year that I hate for two reasons:
1) Not much news along the NFL front
2) Reporters are writing about the "next big player"
Case in point: Earl Bennett, Mr. All-Training Camp last summer. We were all excited that we might have a solid player at a weak position. And then he didn't hit the field. After the season ended, the story was that he didn't know the playbook.
Now, the Chicago reporters are focusing on Johnny Knox and how good he looks out of the slot. For my sanity, I truly hope that he is as good as advertised. At the same time, I'm not dumb enough to fall for the same trick twice. Until the receivers get onto the field and show otherwise, this is a weak group. We're one Devin Hester injury away from being awful.
Jason McKie is still a Bear.
Craig Steltz, Josh Bullocks, and Zackary Bowman headline this group. Nervous? Me too.
In all seriousness, I don't know what to think of this group. Steltz showed flashes of brilliance last year but wasn't spectacular. Zackary Bowman really impressed me with his play before he got injured. Josh Bullocks is just pure garbage.
If I had my say, I'd want Bowman starting over Steltz. Nothing against Steltz really, but I was impressed with what I saw out of Bowman last year; granted, it wasn't much. Regardless, if either Steltz or Bowman steps up this year, we could be better off than we think.
Remember at the end of last season when a lot of us were calling for Jerry's and Lovie's heads? Some thought that the duo had one more year to get us to the playoffs or they should go. Others wanted them gone as soon as the season ended.
What if we don't make the playoffs this year?
Again, I know optimism reigns supreme around these parts now, but should The Terrible Twins be fired if we don't make it?
My thought: For better or worse, Jerry bought himself an extra year or two to see how the Cutler experiment turns out. Likewise, I'm convinced that Lovie has one year to bring us to the playoffs or he'll be gone. Why?
Let's assume for a minute we don't make the playoffs. Two things would work against Lovie: Jerry brought in Cutler and Lovie decided to call the defensive plays. Regardless of our current roster situation and the weaknesses we have, Jerry has a built-in excuse: "We gave him some elite players to coach and he couldn't get it done." If we don't make the playoffs next season regardless of how Cutler performs, I'm positive that Lovie will be fired.
Hopefully we'll make the playoffs and this will be a moot point.