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July 2, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Michael Wright

Nick (NJ)

is this year going to be Cutlers break out year in a bears uniform

Michael C. Wright
  (1:03 PM)

Hey guys, happy to be here. Let's get this thing rolling. Nick, you don't think Cutler has already broken out? He set a few franchise records in his first year as Chicago's QB. In my mind, that qualifies as breaking out. His interception totals weren't anything to be happy about. But I think his touchdowns will actually go up in Mike Martz's scheme. I could see him throwing for 30 TDs.

Pavan (Atlanta)

From what you've seen of him so far how much of an impact can Major Wright realistically make for the Bears this season?

Michael C. Wright
  (1:05 PM)

Pavan, it all depends on how quickly Wright learns the system (which shouldn't be too difficult because it's not overly complicated). If Wright learns the system quickly, I could see him challenging for a starting job. Wright doesn't blow you away with his physical gifts, but his intangibles are off the chart. He's got the type of personality/playing style that will inspire his teammates.

Tim (El Cajon, CA)

Just a quick note even Bears fans have to agree with. I read something this morning about Don Coryell and his not being in the HOF. It read:One Hall of Fame selector once told me he tries to reduce his criterion for induction to one question: Can you write the history of the game without this guy? In Coryell's case, I would say you cannot. I totally agree. Even Mike Martz said:"Don is the father of the modern passing game"He will be missed.

Michael C. Wright
  (1:07 PM)

Tim, I'm in total agreement with you. I spent a couple of years covering the Redskins when Joe Gibbs was coach. Gibbs always raved about how much of an impact Coryell made on his coaching career.

Hayden (Logan, Utah)

how big of a deal is it that bears legends are speaking out against the team?

Michael C. Wright
  (1:09 PM)

They've definitely earned a right to their opinion, I'd say. I don't see a problem with it. If the Bears want their former players to stop speaking out about the team, they should do something about it. Win.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

What NFL Team Are you Actuallly a Big Fan Of?

Michael C. Wright
  (1:11 PM)

This is going to get me into trouble, I'm sure. Growing up in Texas, I was surrounded by Cowboys fans. So naturally, I rebelled, and became a 49ers fan. Doing this job, though, I haven't been able to be much of a fan (it's the nature of this business). I will say the 9ers have always been my favorite team, but I was a big fan of the Bears (yeah, I jumped on the bandwagon) back in 1985.

Jesse (Midland, Texas)

Whats this I hear about Chris Harris not being as good as previously thought? Is this another bad move by Angelo? We are in trouble if the safeties dont come through.

Michael C. Wright
  (1:12 PM)

Jesse, I agree the Bears are in trouble if they don't get the safeties playing up to par. From everything we've heard, Harris didn't exactly blown away the staff in the offseason. Was it a bad move by Angelo? I'm not sure. Lots of guys crank up their play a notch or two once the lights come on.

Tony (Myrtle Beach, SC)

Why isn't anyone talking about the other DE position? Is this Anderson's job for sure? Is someone going to push him, if so, who else would be a candidate?

Michael C. Wright
  (1:16 PM)

We've been talking about it, Tony. As it stands now, yes, it's Anderson's job. But the guy hasn't made a significant impact on the field since his rookie year. It appears that although Anderson will start, Israel Idonije will get plenty of snaps in the rotation. I could see them basically splitting snaps this season.

Bob (Ft. Worth, Texas)

Im surrounded by Cowboys fans and constantly get into discussions of who is a better QB, Cutler or Romo? Whats your take? We have to remember that Romo has been in the league 3 years longer therefore he is more mature in the mauturation QB process. Thanks

Michael C. Wright
  (1:18 PM)

Good question, Bob. If we're comparing them strictly from a standpoint of physical attributes, it's Cutler hands down. No contest. But you've got to admit that Romo has some improvisational skills that we haven't really seen yet from Cutler. I say this all the time about Romo: Yeah, he's gonna make all types of plays for you in the regular season. But he'll break your heart in the playoffs. Hasn't that been the case for Romo up to this point?

James (Chicago)

How do you see the Bears finishing this year?

Michael C. Wright
  (1:19 PM)

I think they're a nine or 10-win team.

Josh. Weslaco, Tx. [via mobile]

How has Jay Cutler looked under Mike Martz's system during offseason workouts? Do u expect Jay Cutler like i do to have a huge season considering Martz's track record with past QB?

Michael C. Wright
  (1:21 PM)

It's been a work in progress, Josh. You can tell that Cutler's comfort level in the offense has grown with each practice session. Yes, I do expect Cutler to have a huge season. I've covered quite a few quarterbacks, and have never seen anyone with an arm like Cutler's.

Sam (Pine Grove, LA)

One writer compared 2006 Bears to this years Bears and thinks that they compare favorably. Are the Bears as good as the 2006 Bears?

Michael C. Wright
  (1:23 PM)

I could see that comparison somewhat from the perspective of talent. But it takes more than talent to win in the NFL. Chemistry plays a huge role in how a team performs. I'm not sure this year's group has the same chemistry as the 2006 team. But then again, I didn't spend a lot of time around the 2006 team to know.

Hayden (Logan, Utah)

what is your favorite flavor of pop tart?

Michael C. Wright
  (1:24 PM)

I'm a toaster strudel guy.

LeRoy (Gary, Indiana)

I say this is the year Devin Hester breaks out as a No. 1 receiver, if he doesnt do it this year then he is never going to do it. Actually, I like the other Devin much better as a receiver than I do Hester. I think Aromashudu can flourish. What do you think?

Michael C. Wright
  (1:25 PM)

LeRoy, I agree with you. I've been saying the same thing. At this point, Devin Aromashodu appears to be the most polished of all the receivers. I don't even think it's close.

Rick (Chicago)

9 or 10 wins? You're out of your mind. This team is finishing last in the division this year. Cutler=Jeff George, no running game, old offensive line, old defense. Lovie and company are getting run out on a rail at the end of this year. What are you seeing that the rest of the country is not??????

Michael C. Wright
  (1:28 PM)

In the offseason, hope springs eternal my man. Maybe that's what I'm seeing. Seriously though, I like what I've seen from Cutler, and I think Mike Tice will do wonders with that offensive line. Matt Forte seems to have more quickness and agility than I thought prior to watching him in person. If they can get some heat on the quarterback with Julius Peppers and company, it'll make the secondary's job a lot easier. It's not all bad Rick. I promise.

Adrian (Bloomington,IN)

If DA is the most polished then why is everyone else being touted as the starter?

Michael C. Wright
  (1:30 PM)

Your guess is as good as mine. An NFL head coach once told me to trust my eyes when I'm out there watching practices. So I'm going by what I see. Johnny Knox has great speed, but is a little raw as a receiver, and still drops too many passes for my taste. Devin Hester has great speed, too, but seems a little robotic as a route runner. To me, D.A. is the most polished all around.

James (Clanton)

Do you write for anybody other than ESPN?

Michael C. Wright
  (1:31 PM)

I do not. I'm exclusive to ESPN, my man.

Andrew (Chicago)

I think this team underacheived last year. Not saying they should have won 11 games but at least 9 games. This is a better team than people give credit for. Yes they have issues but what NFL team doesnt? The key is playing smart football (no turnovers and getting turnovers) and getting hot at the right time.

Michael C. Wright
  (1:32 PM)

Good to see that you understand how it works. New York's Super Bowl win over the near-perfect Patriots is a great testament to that.

Spencer (Tennessee)

Is it a realistic hope to see Vincent Jackson in a Bears uniform? The team seems satisfied with what's at receiver now, but there have been reports that Chicago could be mildly interested in him. Is this any more or less likely with his suspension?

Michael C. Wright
  (1:34 PM)

I'm not sure, Spencer. The Bears have been overly complimentary of their receivers in my opinion. But I think given the situation (everyone could be out the door if they don't have a good season), the brass is looking to improve the roster in any way possible. I don't think Jackson's suspension has any bearing on Chicago or anyone else's interest in him. Everyone knew the suspension was coming.

Christy (Los Angeles)

They are touted as starters because Devin Hester is being paid the bucks and Johnny Knox, while he showed much potential, is a draft pick that needs to work. If Devin Aromashodu doesnt work, they dont lose credibility. Am I correct in this assumption?

Michael C. Wright
  (1:35 PM)

I like it, Christy. I like it.

Jay (Atlanta )

Have you heard the rumor of D. Aromashadu and a 2nd rnd pick for V. Jackson

Michael C. Wright
  (1:37 PM)

I have, Jay. And I don't like it. Aromashodu is coming into his own, and the Bears should've learned their lesson by now when it comes to giving away picks to add veterans. For good personnel men, draft picks are like gold. You don't give them away.

Casey (Peoria, il)

Where does Nick Roach stand as far as getting a chance to start? I think he earned the right to have it be his job to lose, since Pisa could not stay healthy and proved nothing.

Michael C. Wright
  (1:39 PM)

Casey, I really think it's Roach's job to lose. Tinoisamoa even admitted that at minicamp.

luis (chicago)

how many games do the bears need to win in order for lovie to keep his job? we will not win a superbowl with lovie as our coach!

Michael C. Wright
  (1:40 PM)

I'd say they've got to get to the playoffs. Anything less could equal a pinkslip.

Chris (Minneapolis)

Do you think Gilbert or Melton will have any sort of impact this year?

Michael C. Wright
  (1:40 PM)

Gilbert, maybe. I'm not sure Melton even makes the team to be honest.

Peter (Washington, PA)

All these superstars (Cutler, Urlacher, Peppers, Hester) and has anyone stopped to think that maybe, just maybe this might not come together? Im not expert Michael, but my gut tells me that building a Championship is not like the NBA where you get the biggest superstar and win, its done through the draft by providing your superstars with a good supportin cast. Im worried about this season, is this a valid point?

Michael C. Wright
  (1:42 PM)

It's a very valid point, Peter. Intangibles such as chemistry play a much bigger role in determining a team's success in the NFL than other major sports leagues. Football is truly the ultimate team sport.

DJ (Chicago)

Angelo said he's out of the trading future picks business. personally i'd prefer him to do this rather than use it himself and screw it up somehow. That being said, with everyone's job on the line why haven't they shown interest in Haynesworth? He'd be a perfect fit next to Peppers and he could either motivate Tommie Harris or open up everyone's eyes to the fact he's a bad player who has the maturity of a 4 year old. Your thoughts?

Michael C. Wright
  (1:44 PM)

I'm not sure you could call Haynesworth the model for maturity, either, D.J. I'd say Chicago's system is definitely a perfect fit for a guy like Haynesworth. But I'm not sure you want a guy like him influencing some of the younger players.

Bucky (Chicago, IL)

The Cover 2 defense is predecated on getting pressure on the qb with their front four. The engine that drives those front four is the three technique tacke, i.e. Tommie Harris. If this defense is going anywhere it'll be because of him. What have you seen from Tommie this offseason? Does he appear to be healthy and have that same burst off the line he had the first part of '06?

Michael C. Wright
  (1:46 PM)

Tommie looks good, man. He's moving around well, and instead of being in the training room rehabbing, he's actually been out on the field working with his teammates. Harris told me during minicamp that this is the healthiest he's been in a long time. Harris also seems to be really excited and motivated.

Sean (Saint Paul, MN)

Who would be your pick to run the front office/coach when Jerry/Lovie fail this year?

Michael C. Wright
  (1:50 PM)

Maybe I'm a little biased here, but Gene Smith in Jacksonville is a virtual unknown and would come cheaply. He's an astute talent evaluator who is well-respected among his peers. He also trusts his own evaluations over any hype about certain players. When he traded a second-round pick to draft a corner nobody had heard of last year, everyone was like, "What the heck?" The corner, Derek Cox, wound up starting all 16 games last season. As for a coach, why not try to get Bill Cowher out of retirement?

George Greer (Brady, TX)

WOOO, MIKE! Bears fans MUST be victims of too much WINTER! I look at the bears and see TALENT. Big QB, still with BIG upside. Mike Martz, offensive coordinator. FAST young receivers. Excellent 3 down back equipped with equally servicable, VETERAN backup to spell. Freak-of-Nature pass-rusher. Great Linebackers. Veteran Safeties with young vultures in the wing. What's NOT to like, my friend. These guys need SUPPORT. Bears fans should give it to 'em.

Michael C. Wright
  (1:51 PM)

Now all you need are some pom-poms, George.

Joe (Chicago, IL)

Do any of our rookies interest you? That Guy Dan LeFevour looks pretty good. Any thoughts?

Michael C. Wright
  (1:52 PM)

LeFevour has a lot to learn about playing quarterback in the NFL. I like his athleticism, but his arm isn't as live as I'd like. I think he's got a future in the league. He just needs to sit back and learn the position.

Dan (Chicago)

What happened to Al Afalava? He went from starter to 3rd stringer in a heartbeat

Michael C. Wright
  (1:53 PM)

Dan, I want to ask Lovie Smith this same question. He started 13 games last season, and finished second on the team in pass breakups. Now he's a third stringer. What? Seems like they just forgot about this guy.

Junior (Kansas City)

Every year it seems like they are hungry and motivated in the offseason, whats different about his team? Whats not to say that this hunger and desire goes away at the first sign of trouble? This team seems to cave in or put their heads down once things go bad.

Michael C. Wright
  (1:56 PM)

Junior, that characteristic would signal a lack of strong leadership in my opinion. And you're right, every year, you'll read stories about teams being hungry and motivated. But that's really what the guys are saying. For the Bears, though, I think it's real. They've got an elite quarterback, and an elite pass rusher. So there's more excitement about the prospects for atoning for last year's underachieving season.

Sean (Saint Paul, MN)

I like the Cowher idea... good to have another powerful mustache on the sidelines! He was an offensive minded coach, do you think they could get Ron Rivera back to town?

Michael C. Wright
  (1:57 PM)

I doubt it, but you never know.

C0DEZ (Lafayette IN)

I've always viewed Urlacher as the face/leader of the team. When he plays well the team does. Do you think him being back is going to make a noticable difference, or do you think enoughs changed that the team is going to go as Cutler goes now?

Michael C. Wright
  (1:59 PM)

I think the team will go as both of them go. Urlacher is the leader of the defense. Cutler leads the offense. Both units playing well is the team's best chance for success.

Carl (Charleston, SC)

Before you sign off. Your prediction: Is Lebron going to be a Chicago Bull?

Michael C. Wright
  (2:00 PM)

Put me on the spot, Carl. I've got to be honest -- maybe it's the pessimist in me -- but I really don't think so.

Michael C. Wright
  (2:01 PM)

Guys, my time is up. So I've got to get going. Had fun chatting with you guys as usual. You're an incredibly knowledgeable fan base. Until next time...