With the holiday season right around the corner, one thing is certain. The playoffs are coming.
As the Chicago Bears finished their first five games at 2-3, they went on a 5-game win streak to go to 7-3 and own the top wildcard spot for the playoffs. A few hours after their most recent win over the San Diego Chargers though, Bears players, and fans got horrible news. Jay Cutler broke his thumb on his throwing hand while trying to tackle following an interception.
Two weeks later, Matt Forte suffered a grade 2 MCL sprain in his left knee. Chicago now sits one game behind the Lions, and Falcons (both 8-5) at 7-6, and their playoff chances now seem very slim. There are many things that the Bears would like to have under tree this Christmas, and limiting just three gifts is a tall order, but here are the three biggest presents the Bears would like to wake up to on Christmas morning.
1. A new thumb for Jay Cutler
Jay Cutler really had a good season before his thumb injury. His numbers are not big (2,319 yards 13 TDs, 7ints 85.7 QBR), but if you have watched every game that he has been here, this is by far the best I have seen him. If the Bears hope to make the playoffs, he needs to come back for the Christmas Day game in Green Bay.
Cutler was on ESPN 1000 in Chicago on Wednesday with Waddle and Silvy, and they asked if he could return next week against Green Bay if the Bears are still in the playoff hunt, Cutler said, "I'd say outside. I wouldn't say it's good or definite or even a real possibility, but there's always a chance." Cutler, who was seen throwing a bit on the sidelines last week, also added, "It's kind of like I have to relearn it. Those pins in there, I had a little bit of shooting pain. So going forward these next few weeks we just have to figure out, once all the swelling's gone, whether or not I can manage with these pins in or whether we'll have to pull 'em."
2. A true Wide Receiver
With the receiving core the Bears have there isn't one player that would be a good number three on any other team. That has not been made any more evident than it has been the last three weeks. Many of you will probably disagree with me, but as good as Aaron Rogers is, his receivers make him a better QB. With the Bear's situation however, Jay Cutler made his receivers look better, and really covered up a lot of the issues they have at the position. Probably the best fit would be San Diego's Vincent Jackson. If Mike Martz does decide to leave, a "West Coast" OC would be huge upgrade as I will explain later.
3. A new Offensive Coordinator
As much as I would hate to see the Bears have to learn a new offense, Mike Martz leaving would be the best thing for them. My number one wish for a replacement would be Norv Turner. Turner is almost sure to get a pink slip at the end of the season, due to another bad year in San Diego. His "West Coast" offense is exactly what Jay Cutler and the Bears need. This offense is what made him so good in Denver, and if they would happen to find a nice receiver under their tree this year (yep..Vincent Jackson), Cutler, and Jackson could help the other players learn the system pretty quickly.
Another good OC would be Jeremy Bates, who was let go from Seattle earlier this season, is another "West Coast minded" OC. Bates is the man Cutler and Jerry Angelo wanted to come here before they hired Martz, or should I say before Lovie Smith hired him. Bates was with Cutler in college, and they have a good relationship, so we probably wouldn't hear Cutler dropping any "FU's" on Bates.
Lump of Coal?
A lot of people may not agree with this, but the equivalent to a lump of coal would be getting rid of Jerry Angelo. Now before all of you call for my head, let me explain why I think this.
Have any of you heard of Tim Ruskell? The former Seattle Seahawks President, and GM. Do any of you know what Tim Ruskell does now? He is the assistant GM here in Chicago. That means that his job is basically doing the jobs of former college scouting director Greg Gabriel and former pro personnel director Bobby DePaul, as well as assuming some of Angelo's responsibilities.
What that means is, all the bad draft picks they have had, Ruskell told Angelo.."This kids good, let's get him". Do you know what Ruskell's last two years in Seattle was? 9-23. If Angelo goes, Ruskell will almost surely take over as GM. If you thought Angelo was bad, what till Ruskell takes over. How would you like to be the new Seattle Seahawks when they were bad? Some could say "Well they didn't have any talent". How do you think they got that way? All I'm saying is..."Be careful what you wish for".