With not a whole lot of Bears news to talk about until training camp begins, I’m going to breakdown the Bears depth chart at every position. I’ll give a high-level overview of each position, highlight potential battles for both starting roles and roster spots and point out a few players to watch.
I’m starting with probably the most boring position on the roster, considering the roles are already defined, but it’s also the most important position on the team and seems like a good place to start.
Depth Chart: Quarterback
The starting quarterback position is Jay Cutler’s and there isn’t any doubt about that. Cutler is coming off the best season of his career with a 92.3 passer rating and a respectable 21 TD / 11 INT ratio.
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Granted the Bears designed their offense to limit Cutler’s mistakes, but he still executed the plan and put the Bears in position to win games. He also led the NFL in 4th quarter comebacks for the 2nd year in a row. Keep that stat in mind the next time a Cutler hater says that he can’t perform in the clutch.
Cutler limited his mistakes more than he has in any season as a Bear and despite being surrounded by possibly the worst receiving core in the NFL during the 2nd half of the NFL season (Mariani, Bellamy, Wilson), finished with his best NFL QB rating and lowest interception total.
In an under the radar move the Bears signed Brian Hoyer as the primary back-up QB. Hoyer doesn’t get a ton of respect in the league but has a career record of 15-11 as a starter, with 38 TDs to 26 INTs, and a career passer rating of 82.2. Hoyer’s numbers are as good as most starting QBs in the league and gives the Bears a respectable back-up if Cutler were to get hurt at some point of the season.
Last year’s back-up David Fales doesn’t have an NFL resume, but has looked really good in the pre-season and the Bears supposedly turned down at least four different trade offers for Fales during last season (Ravens, Patriots, Browns, 49ers), which makes you think there could be some real potential there at least as a competent back-up.
Fales hasn’t been given many chances to show what he can do with only one start last preseason against the Browns, but he made the most of it with 14/18 completions, 131 yards, and 2 TDs. Granted he was playing against the Browns, but Fales moved well in the pocket, threw an accurate ball, looked off defenders, and threw two TD passes. A guy like Fales only gets so many chances and he made the most of his one start verse the Browns.
The Bears added QB Matt Blanchard to the practice squad late in the season when Fales was promoted to the active roster. Blanchard has been on the Bears roster before (2012) and has been brought in for multiple workouts over the last few seasons, so clearly the Bears see something they like.
They actually liked Blanchard enough to pay him what he would earn on the active roster instead of the standard mini-camp invite salary, in order to keep an unnamed AFC team from signing him. Blanchard, 26, has spent time with the Packers, Colts, Panthers, and Browns since leading Wisconsin-Whitewater to consecutive DIII championships (2011, 2012).
Next: Position & Roster Battles