NFC North: Marcus Jonson
As it turns out, Monday was the first official day of Chicago's offseason strength and conditioning program. It proved fortuitous timing for the Bears, who last Thursday acquired quarterback Jay Cutler from Denver in exchange for Kyle Orton and three draft picks.
(Chicago had its minicamp March 17-19, but players and coaches have mostly been off since then.)
Cutler was on hand Monday and began meeting with offensive coordinator Ron Turner to learn the Bears' offense. In an interview with ChicagoBears.com, Turner said he is beginning the work of identifying the parts of his offense that best fit Cutler's skills.
Turner: "We're going to run our offense We've got everything in our offense to take advantage of his capabilities. It's just a matter of the emphasis. We'll change some things there with him. That's one thing as a coach that you always try to do and I'm always trying to do is maximize the talents of our players, not just the quarterback but [tight end] Greg Olsen, the wide receivers, the running backs with [Matt] Forte and the things he can do, and we'll do the same thing with Jay. We'll run our offense, but we'll emphasize the things that he can do really well."
It will be interesting to see how that task plays out. The Bears' offense under Turner has traditionally been a run-first scheme that asks quarterbacks to manage the game with quick-read passing. Cutler's big arm is a rare commodity. How will the Bears use it? We'll start to learn more next month, when the Bears are scheduled to begin their on-field Organized Training Activities.
Continuing around the NFC North:
- Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times takes a look at some of the receivers Chicago might consider with its second-round pick.
- Cutler was hoping the Bears would draft him in 2006, writes Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune.
- Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com notes there is nothing in the NFL rule book that prevents the Lions from passing on the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. I'll have more on that topic later Tuesday.
- Green Bay wanted tight end Tory Humphrey back on its roster for his blocking, writes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Oakland's signing of ex-Minnesota offensive lineman Marcus Johnson closes the book on the Vikings' 2005 draft. None of the seven players drafted are with the team, as Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune points out.