Editor’s Note: Andrew wrote this so we’re posting it as rumors swirl around the Bears QB position.
The best way to solve a quarterback problem is through the draft, but nobody has perfected that art. Or even come close.
Ron Wolf is probably the best there has ever been at evaluating quarterbacks. He traded a first round pick for Brett Favre, drafted Mark Brunell in the fifth round, Aaron Brooks in the fourth and Matt Hasselback in the sixth. He also drafted Jay Barker, Kyle Wachholtz and Ron McAda. The Patriots hit the jackpot with Tom Brady, but they have a long, long list of quarterbacks who didn’t pan out. The Cowboys wanted Connor Cook and Paxton Lynch over Dak Prescott.
For what it’s worth, my favorite quarterbacks the past few years have been Carson Wentz, 2016; Marcus Mariota, 2015; Derek Carr, 2014; EJ Manuel, 2013; Andrew Luck, 2012 and Jake Locker, 2011. What can I say? I like guys who have big arms and can move around.
That said, I haven’t spent anywhere near as much time on the quarterbacks in the draft in the past as I have this year. Time will tell if that’s a good thing. I can say that I like all three of the top quarterbacks more than I liked anybody in the draft last year, but not as much as either Mariota or Jameis Winston.
Before I break down the top quarterback prospects, here are a few things I’m taking into consideration.
Every week somebody writes a story quoting an anonymous scout. They’re full of crap. 99% of anonymous scouts are people trying to pass off their opinion as someone else’s.
The line between a pro-style offense and a spread is more blurred than ever. Pretty much every college team runs a spread or, at least, something that used to be considered a spread. The Bears and most other NFL teams run a lot of spread concepts. The league wisely adjusted to what the colleges were giving them.
All of the top quarterbacks in the draft this year play a sort of spread system and all of them will have to have their reads simplified in the NFL. If their coaches don’t simplify it for them, the coaches will be fired. The Cowboys made things easy for Prescott, the Seahawks kept the training wheels on Russell Wilson for nearly three years and Cam Newton still runs a college offense. How did Adam Gase get Jay Cutler to limit his turnovers? He simplified the offense.
That said, there’s never been anyone who has played in the “Air Raid” offense and been a successful NFL quarterback. The player has to show at least some ability to read defenses or make adjustments.
Took the evening to sleep on Jeff Darlington’s news break that the Bears have opened discussions around the league about trading their starting quarterback of the last eight seasons. Here are three thoughts.
While some have argued that this is a bad year to need a quarterback, I strongly disagree. Over the last few weeks, I have spent countless hours watching and breaking down all of the popular veteran options the Bears may turn to in hopes of fixing their quarterback position this off-season. Below you will find a ranking of those players, not just in terms of talent but with cost and long-term viability figured in.
Some are reporting that Glennon is going to get big money to start somewhere. I’m not sure I believe that. He’s not accurate, mobile or particularly smart with the ball. He was Josh McCown’s backup.
It’s long been forgotten but Barkley did a lot of good things with the Bears last year. He just can’t keep throwing interceptions at the rate that he has throughout his career. I can’t help but wonder what a full off-season with this offense and coaching staff could do for him. He shouldn’t be brought back as a starter, but there are a lot of teams with worse backups.
Maybe the biggest problem with McCarron is the cost. The Bears would have to give up a draft pick and then sign him to a new contract. This is fine if he’s a good, starting-caliber quarterback. I just don’t think McCarron is.
It is Sunday night, 8:32 PM ET. There is a blank WordPress screen staring back from a $180 laptop, purposefully cheap because at some point an iced coffee or Guinness will be sprinting between keyboard buttons rendering it completely useless. Across from the screen sits a man, twenty pounds lighter than he was 35 days ago, blood steam devoid of alcohol, searching for something interesting to say about the Chicago Bears.
The Bears need a quarterback.
The Bears have a decision to make on Alshon Jeffery.
They Bears need professional contributors in their secondary.
Pass rush is always welcome.
Better edge blocking a plus.
Many people have found DaBearsBlog for the first time in the last year. Our traffic has nearly tripled. So let me state this now as clearly as possible, specifically for you newbies. I’m never going to waste a second of your time just filling space. If something hasn’t actually happened or I don’t have an interesting opinion (at least in my own head) on something Bears-related, you’ll never see posts for the sake of posting.
I don’t care about clicks.
I don’t care about traffic.
Those numbers do one thing for me: allow me to gauge the interest level of the fans at particular times. This season, for example, our site traffic did not decline in December. This was a three-win team playing out the string in front of an empty Soldier Field but our day-to-day traffic remained consistent (and substantial).
What did this tell me? Keep writing. Stay in it. The fans are.
Things will start happening soon, the NFL calendar tells me. And when they do I’ll meet the fight in the OK Corral. Until then? Poll questions, pictures and links. (Or go to my Twitter feed where all I do is waste people’s time.)
Alshon Jeffery is a very good football player. A barstool drunk with Bushmills breath and 20/80 vision could tell you Alshon Jeffery is a very good football player. But NFL personnel people are paid duffels of ducats to decide whether a player is bad or okay, okay or good, good or very good, very good or great. They are paid to decipher where to slot a particular talent within the structure of the NFL’s rigid salary cap.
Is Jeffery a great player? That’s the question currently wallpapering the offices in Lake Forest. The more important question may be…does it matter?
From the one and only Adam L. Jahns of the Sun-Times:
“I think Alshon expects more,” Pace said during the Bears’ season-ending news conference Jan. 4. “I think he’s a good player. And that’s a big decision for us.”
But how good is he really?
It’s actually a complex question, considering that the Bears are rebuilding, that the team will have their third receivers coach in three years and that a new quarterback could be coming to town.
The better question might be: Do Jeffery’s talents transcend change?
He had mixed results last season with three quarterbacks. According to Pro Football Reference, Brian Hoyer’s passer rating of 83.3 when throwing to Jeffery was better than Cutler’s (74.3) and Matt Barkley’s (50.9).
On the other side, the argument can be made that the Bears desperately need Jeffery, especially with uncertainty surrounding Kevin White after his second surgery. (White and Jeffery share the same agent.)
Being pragmatic about this decision, there are three options.
The latter two options come with significant risk.
Did the Buffalo Bills hold Tyrod Taylor back or was it the other way around? That’s the question I kept asking myself as I watched him play.
There were times where Taylor was Russell Wilson.
There were other times where I wondered if the Bills called conservative games because Taylor was their quarterback.
This same debate is prevalent among Buffalo media, who are radically divided on Taylor’s tenure with the Bills.
Buffalo GM Doug Whaley doesn’t like Taylor. Taylor was Rex Ryan’s guy and even though new Buffalo offensive coordinator Rick Dennison is said to be a fan of Taylor’s, Whaley isn’t like to care. Most signs point to the Bills opting out of Taylor’s lucrative contract and the 27-year-old hitting the open market.
He’ll get paidt for his play the last two seasons, with passer ratings of 99.4 and 89.6, but nobody really knows what they’re getting. He could be a quality player on the ascent or he could be a player destined for mediocrity.
The common thought of people covering the NFL is that the Cincinnati Bengals should try to find an upgrade over quarterback Andy Dalton. A common thought among many Bears fans is the team should bring in Dalton’s backup to be their new starter.
It is every bit as illogical as it sounds.
Every time someone suggests the Bears trade for Jimmy Garoppolo, someone chimes in that they should spend less and bring in AJ McCarron instead. McCarron is a fine player but his current job is where he belongs. There is no shame in backing up Tom Brady like Garoppolo has had to do, but if McCarron were capable of being a top tier starting quarterback, he wouldn’t be watching Dalton take all the snaps.
McCarron did some nice things when he got to play at the end of 2015. He made several good throws down the field and consistently showed good touch on deep passes. He’s an NFL quarterback but not all guys are meant to be starters.
The Alabama product’s stats are fine. He completed 66.4 percent of his passes for six touchdowns, two interceptions and a passer rating of 97.1. If you took his averages from the four starts — including the playoffs — and averaged them out over 16 games, it would come out to roughly 3,500 yards with 24 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. Not bad, but he was playing in a stacked offense. Dalton managed a passer rating of 106.2.
When I watched McCarron, the performance didn’t match the statistics. I had him with an inaccuracy rate of 33.4 percent in his four starts. While he only threw two interceptions, he had a number of other passes that should have been picked off. It was Josh McCownesque.