Question #3: Will there be a resurgence from Devin Hester?
Devin Hester has been great. Please note that I have included the phrase has been. Without a dramatic resurgence to his other- worldly production it’s easy to say that the BEARS should have restructured his contract. In fact, I’ll say it again: They should have also restructured Devin Hester’s deal.
Of course you never approach a player about restructuring his contract if you’re not ready to cut him loose. And, while BEARS fans the world over are hoping Devin Hester is “ridiculous,” again this year, he’s playing with a wide receiver’s contract.
Let’s face it as a wide receiver Devin Hester is an outstanding kick returner. He’s simply not a wide receiver – and it’s probably true that he never really was. One of the main reasons Cutler stopped targeting Hester is that his route running couldn’t be trusted. It seemed Devin was out of his element and in over his head when trying to read and react to defenses.
That siad, the BEARS redid his deal a few years back, when the Hester experiment began and he wanted a WR contract. I’m sure the front office has already figured out how many punts and kickoffs Hester has to run back in order to justify what is now a bad contract. If he runs a few back all the way, then BEARS fans will be over the moon and the front office will be able to live with his contract a little easier.
Question #4: Will Jay Cutler stay healthy?
Aug 29, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) during the first half against the Cleveland Browns at Soldier Field. The Browns beat the Bears 18-16. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
It’s a truism in the NFL. This is a passing league and you’re going nowhere without a franchise caliber Quarterback. Make no mistake – Jay Cutler fits that bill. Nobody: Not Brady; not either Manning; not Rogers – not a single QB listed on Ron Jaworski’s QB Rankings can throw downfield from their back. Wait…maybe Bobby Douglas. No not even that cannon, and he wasn’t on JAWS’ list anyway.
Surprisingly it took the injury of Matt Blanchard to convince the BEARS’ front office to bolster the bull pen. The same folks that espoused the benefits of competition and its ability to realize player improvement seem to be convinced that a guy who was coaching not playing last year is capable of managing the offense until Cutler can come back if he goes down. Just as disturbing is that when Blanchard did go down the front office signed two more guys who were out of the game as insurance. Apparently George Blanda was unavailable!
There were serviceable veteran QBs available in Free Agency this year. There’s no point debating who they could/should have signed, because we’re already down the road. But, with Coach Trestman’s reputation of getting the most out of a QB aside – this is an aging defense and a brand new offense – signing veteran insurance in case your franchise quarterback gets nicked is a requirement if you’re truly expecting to take this team to the post season tournament. This defense is still something special. They deserve a real shot to go deep into the playoffs, especially after losing their mentor Lovie Smith.
Let’s face it BEARS fans – even if you hate Jay Cutler – you better hope he stays healthy. But, with an offensive line featuring one returning player, going into the season with two rookies comprising half of that change makes it even harder if they don’t gel and do so early. Even then, the BEARS will need a resurgence from Devin Hester to win on special teams – let alone justify his contract. If not, the front office is already positioned to make sweeping personnel moves, and our team will have a very different look next year. With a schedule featuring two playoff teams in the first four games as well as the Steelers…in Pittsburgh, and the Lions in Detroit we might find out early if change is in the wind in Da Windy City.