NFC North: Jim Miller
Good mid-Friday morning and let's get straight to our morning tour:
- Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune answers several questions about Chicago Bears guard Kyle Long in his weekly mailbag.
- The Bears promoted Mark Sadowski to the position of senior national scout, notes Adam L. Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Former Bears quarterback Jim Miller has taken a communications position with the team, according to Matt Charboneau of the Detroit News.
- The mother of Titus Young's son has filed a restraining order against the former Detroit Lions receiver, according to the Associated Press.
- Hall of Fame defensive lineman Mean Joe Greene on the Detroit Lions' Ndamukong Suh, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press: "He is a powerful man. Unfortunately for him is that he's letting some of this notoriety and publicity get in his head a little bit. By that I mean it changes the way he approaches the game, cause if he changes that he's not Ndamukong anymore. And you need an edge to play in the pit. Anybody that talks about what you shouldn't do hasn't been in there. I think you have to play the game the way he does, but not go over the edge. A couple times he went over the edge, and he shouldn't be afraid of that."
- The Lions' defense is gearing up to take on four quarterbacks who threw for at least 4,000 yards last season, notes Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com.
- Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette is outraged that someone would question the job security of Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy.
- Rob Demovsky of the Press-Gazette talks to former Packers running back Paul Hornung about "Titletown Five," a horse that will run in this weekend's Preakness in Baltimore.
- Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has proposed a cigarette tax to cover shortfalls in public revenues to build the Minnesota Vikings' new stadium. Jim Ragsdale of the Star Tribune explains.
- The roof of the Vikings' new stadium is "self-cleaning," Vikings executive Lester Bagley told Bob Sansevere of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
"He's like everybody: A little bit in shock."
That's how Chicago general manager Jerry Angelo described the initial reaction from quarterback Jay Cutler upon completion of Thursday's historic trade. And if I didn't know any better, I'd say Angelo was still a bit stunned himself as he conducted an evening teleconference.
|The Broncos traded Jay Cutler to the Bears.|
I'm guessing that when Angelo woke up Thursday morning, he had no idea he would acquire a quarterback that would end the Bears' organizational drought at the position. He couldn't have predicted that with one mid-afternoon decision, he could upend his reputation as a conservative talent evaluator who eschewed bold moves in favor of developing his drafted players.
"Really, it came together unexpectedly," Angelo said. "... This is the first time for me. You look at the history of the league. I can't recall a situation quite like this. How it matriculated and came to the point it got to, I can't answer to any of that. All we did is react to a situation that we felt could help our football team."
The Cutler drama has played out for more than a month, and so Angelo has had plenty of time to think rationally and thoroughly about the issue. But when Denver announced that Cutler was on the trading block this week, Angelo reacted with a swiftness and aggression he has rarely displayed since the Bears hired him in 2001.
The Bears performed background work on Cutler's history of immaturity, but Angelo said they didn't speak to him directly until after the trade agreement. With at least three other teams hounding the Broncos, there wasn't time to dally. A man who has always cherished his draft picks increased his offer to a staggering two first-round picks, plus a third-rounder, to drop everything and follow his gut instinct.
"The rarity of this opportunity made it unique," Angelo said. "Really, being in this situation as long as I have, you just know when things are right. Part of it is ... feeling you've done a lot of homework. And we talked internally quite a bit as an organization. We try to measure twice to cut once, and everybody felt good about this. But we just said as an organization that we were only going to get into it to win it."
This is the same general manager who, up until this week, was prepared to enter a critical year with the unproven Kyle Orton as his quarterback. He's the same guy who has tried to get it done with Jim Miller and Kordell Stewart and Rex Grossman and Brian Griese. Jerry Angelo is the same man who chose a defensive coaching overhaul this winter over replacing some members of his aging defense. And a few people are still wondering how he expects his passing game to succeed with Devin Hester and Earl Bennett as his starting receivers.
Angelo, however, has made clear since the end of the 2008 season quarterback was his primary focus. That he stood by Orton for the ensuing three months generated further questions about his judgment, but he deserves credit for recognizing the rarity of Cutler's availability and taking full advantage.
"You can't minimize the importance of the position," he said. "We've talked about that. I know personally that's been something that's been my goal for the organization, and I felt that this was the right thing to do."
Shocking, but true.