Saturday, June 26, 2010

Bulger, Martz and not wanting to disturb Cutler

Over on the Ravens site I read, the admin noted that it was interesting the Bears - with Martz, wh has a connection with Bulger - weren't interested in him.

"It’s a bit interesting that the Chicago Bears didn’t make a play for Marc Bulger. Given Bulger’s ties to Mike Martz one might safely conclude that the fit was a natural. Could Martz know something that the Ravens don’t?"

I'm actually not convinced this was anything more than a play to keep from disturbing Cutler. Let's think back to a year and a half ago, when Josh McDaniels apparently inquired about Matt Cassel. We all remember the subsequent Cutler hissy-fit, right? A prolonged, ugly fight developed which resulted in Cutler crying his way out of town where the Broncos salvaged the situation by turning the guy who led the NFL in INTs last year into Kyle Orton, Knowshon Moreno, a complicated set of traded picks that probably just resulted in some portion of the Tim Tebow pick and maybe a handful of other stuff. Neither team made out particularly well in the deal although we can probably best say the Broncos got screwed least.

Bottom line though, bringing Bulger into Chicago would have brought about questions of whether or not Cutler was going to get pushed for his starting job. We can safely assume Cutler doesn't react well to being pushed for his job, and the Bears aren't likely to trade a guy they just extended to 2013 for $30MM. So the lack of even inquiry there is probably more due to not wanting to rock the boat than anything else.

Bulger, on the other hand, brings immediate legitimacy to the Ravens backup QB spot. Word was that Flacco was actually more hurt than many were led to believe last year, and that if they were confident at all in their backup QBs, they'd have sat him for a couple games to let him heal. The Ravens almost seem to be taking an "all in" attitude toward this season. They've beefed up their weakest position by bringing in Boldin and Stallworth (and retaining Mason). And now they've added significant depth where they had poor depth prior to this year; both by signing Bulger at QB, and by signing Ken Hamlin and Walt Harris in their defensive backfield. It could be argued Harris and Hamlin may be a move to protect whether or not Ed Reed will retire, but that still seems unlikely at least for now. But either way, they've added some significant pieces to a roster that has already taken them to three playoff game wins the previous two seasons. They clearly seem to be gearing up for a major push this season.

I actually somewhat wonder how much may be related to wanting to win prior to the prospective lock-out...


  1. Isn't the more elegant answer simply that the Bears felt good about their quarterback situation? Martz and Bulger haven't been together in 4 years.

    Cruising one of the Bear boards there wasn't even a comment about Bulger.

    Agree though that conspiracies are more fun.

  2. Yeah, though I'll note that I'd find it tough to feel good about my QB situation if I were part of the Bears organization...

  3. Maybe this makes me a moron, but I still think of Cutler as a Pro Bowl QB. Or a potential Pro Bowl QB, or whatever. 2007-8 were excellent years. Not just anyone can throw for 4500 yards in the NFL, even on 600 attempts.

  4. You know who the guy reminds me of a LOT? Elvis GrBac. They've actually got a pretty similar pedigree, although GrBac had more years in the NFL prior to his rise than Cutler did. Both had a pair of solid seasons with one statistically fantastic one prior to moving on to a different team where they flopped into an inconsistent mess. The Ravens cut tied with GrBac early...the Bears certainly aren't doing that with Cutler this early in the game.

    But how long does he get? '07 really wasn't a "great" year by any stretch. #13 completion %, #10 yards, #13 TDs, t-#9 YPA, #12 QB rating. Certainly very good for a second year QB, but I wouldn't define it as great. He's had one Pro Bowl year, and it certainly was great. But let's say this year he's as bad as he was last year (certainly not a stretch...where has Martz succeeded since his time with the Rams?). What happens next? Can they give him a third year to try to turn it around? Especially with that franchise completely taking a "win now" attitude...

  5. It really seems like you are trying to fit a theory here Chris.

    Cutler was very widely considered a young star quarterback prior to the McDaniel episodes. GrBac never was. GrBac was just a good quarterback who was ruined by the hatred of Raven fans and decided to retire rather than return.

    As for using ratios to compare Cutler to - really anyone - it is dangerous. He was 2nd in the NFL in passing attempts and there is going to be diminishing marginal returns past a certain number of attempts. IOW passing plays become less and less high percentage as total attempts/total plays increases.

    Cutler was not the best quarterback in the NFL but teams were certainly lined up for him.

    Regardless, going back to Bulger, it is clear that like it or no, the Bears have hitched their wagon to Cutler. It is difficult to perceive much of a benefit to the team to add a high priced backup.

  6. Good enough.

    Regarding the high price backup though, I think the Ravens did that too though I feel pretty certain they like Flacco as much as the Bears like Cutler. It feels to me like they're prepping in a just-in-case scenario though. They look like they're trying to make a strong run, and if Flacco gets hurt they want someone that they can feel confident will step in and provide solid play so they still have a shot at a title.

    The Ravens really look like they're all in this year...


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