Chicago Sun-Times

At least the Bears haven't given away a quarterback ... so far

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Got to thinking about quarterbacks and the Bears while working on a story on the return of J.T. O'Sullivan for Thursday night's preseason meeting with San Francisco at Soldier Field.

O'Sullivan had two stints with the Bears in the last four years but never merited much of a look. The one thing you can say about the organization and its search for years, make that decades, for a franchise passer is at least they haven't given one away. There hasn't been a Bears' quarterback who left and went on to greatness elsewhere. At least not recently.

Yes, the Bears dealt Bobby Layne in 1949, one year after drafting him and he went on to a Hall of Fame career. George Halas eventually called it one of his greatest errors. George Blanda spent some time in a Bears uniform as well a short time later. But recently, have they really given away a great quarterback?

Sure, they lost a coin flip with Pittsburgh in 1970 for the No. 1 pick to draft Terry Bradshaw. Kurt Warner woulda, coulda, shoulda come here for a free-agent visit in 1997 if he hadn't suffered a venomous spider bite on his right elbow while on his honeymoon. True story. But that was bad luck, a curse or both.

Yes, the organization erred in letting go of Jim Harbaugh following the 1993 season. After all, he wasn't Captain Comeback until after he left the Bears. Harbaugh went on to start the next four seasons for the Indianapolis Colts and was the Comeback Player of the Year in 1995, the only year he went to the Pro Bowl. He was a Hail Mary away from guiding his team to the Super Bowl. But did they give up on a great talent? His departure led to the ascent of Erik Kramer.

It's good for a debate.

Lovie Smith said he's not concerned about the perception of things if O'Sullivan comes in and has a good game, a performance that would lock down the starting job for him with the 49ers. That will be tough for him to do. The Niners are missing three starters on their offensive line and the defense has played pretty well since that opening drive by Kansas City in the first preseason game.

Stay tuned.

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11 Comments

Well as JT has also played for the Pakcers, vikings and lions- making him probably the only guy to ever be on all 4 NFCN teams without starting a single game.

In addition to also playing for the saints and new england- hard to blame the ebars for him "getting away".

Erik Kramer was probably the best the Bears have had in the last 15 years or so. That season Kramer had in 1995 was awesome, 3838 yds, 29tds, and a rating of 93.5. Kramer also gave the Bears another 3000 plus in 1997, 3011 to be exact. Don't laugh, but Jim Harbaugh was my favorite player growing up, well, between him and Neal Anderson. I always thought Harbaugh had potential, he had a good rating in 1990, 81.9. Also, Harbaugh was one of the first QB's to throw for 3000 plus for the Bears in awhile at the time, 3121 in 1991. Harbaugh was pretty mobile also. I think with Harbaugh, its just like with any Bear QB in the last 40 plus years, he had durability problems. Oh well, let the search continue, hopefully it will end with Kyle Orton GO BEARS!!

The thing that makes it most difficult for the organization is that we have never built our offense around the pass (except for the Gary Crowton years, and a few years where we had no running backs, affectionately known as the Lewis Tillman/James Allen era, but therapy and support from friends and family are helping me forget those years). Quarterbacks are seen as interchangeable parts in our offense, partly because of the weather, and partly because of the mindset of Chicago. We aren't a pretty boy city. We like tough guys, like linebackers, running backs, and linemen. We want to have outdoor football in December on the shores of Lake Michigan, where the windy city gets even more so. No west coast quarterback can cut through the fierce winds of Lake Michigan in December! So why do we continually run a conservative, west coast style offense? because it is designed to reduce mistakes, and control the ball. We have just sucked at executing it, making it even worse.

Not only have we not had a franchise quarterback in years, but we haven't had any HOF receivers either. Johnny Morris? Come on...Willie Gault, Dennis McKinnon, and Brian Baschnagel? Rickey Watts? Our best receivers have been tight ends and running backs, not coincidentally both tough guy positions. David Terrell, Wendell Davis, Curtis Conway, and a host of others have come to town with the promise of greatness, and have at best managed mediocrity. You give Rex or Kyle a Reggie Wayne, or TJ Houshmanzadeh, or Anquan Boldin, and we are a different team. We have long, sustained drives, we get key first downs, and we actually can pressure defenses, instead of the other way around.

We all know Peyton Manning is a great QB regardless of the talent around him, but Daunte Culpepper looked like a future HOF QB with Randy Moss, and is out of the league with no job offers 5 years later. We value neither position, because the fan base doesn't get behind those guys like they do the hard-nosed guys in the trenches who take and deliver beatings week in and week out.

The organization has not changed in my lifetime, and I do not see them changing in the near future. Unless Caleb Hanie is lightning in a bottle and becomes the next Kurt Warner (god help us if he does, especially if he has a Brenda Warner-type spouse), we aren't getting a franchise QB anytime soon. And Earl Bennett will be solid, but he won't make anybody start punching tickets to Hawaii anytime soon.

We are a defensive team with a committment to the running game. George Halas founded the team that way, and we remain true to that, despite the fact that the other 31 teams have realized that you need to throw the ball effectively to win games. You need to keep your offense on the field as much as possible, as it allows your defense to rest, and tires out their defense. But we don't need silly things like sound strategy to win football games....we just need to run the ball and limit mistakes, right?

Kelvin Davis is big and mean. Put him in at FB and he will run over people. If you are going to run get some power guys in there.Bear fan since1935


Mr. Felicelli,

Would you please submit your resume to the Bears front office so you can be the next General Manager?

Or would that make too much sense...

Joe F, your comments are right on. Please excuse the following rant...The league is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, driven by quarterbacks. When will the Bears Brass learn that weather conditions do not dictate style of offense? Of the 15 NFL teams that I would consider cold weather teams, the only one that has a good/great QB that is a bad team is Cincinnati, but we all know there are other reasons for their continual ineptitude. There is a reason why the Bills, Jets, Ravens, Chiefs and Bears are usually bad. Just like there is a reason the Packers, Giants, Patriots, Seahawks, Eagles and Steelers are usually good. The other two cold weather teams are Cleveland and Washington. Both these teams have average QB's, thus resulting in average to good teams depending on their respective defenses. Look at the teams that made the playoofs last year. The only teams that did not have a great QB (Redskins, Titans and Tampa Bay) all lost in the first round. To further prove my point, can anyone name me the last team to make repeat appearances to the Superbowl that did not have a great QB? Every team that won consecutive Superbowls or at least made consistent deep playoffs runs had great QB's. The one and done teams (85 Bears,01 Ravens,02 Buccaneers) did not, regardless of weather. It is so frustrating to watch this hopeless offense year after year. The key to success in the NFL is simple...Good owner + Good Coach + Good QB = Good Team. The Bears are 0 for 3.
P.S. Since the Bears consider themselves to "get off the bus running," shouldn't they know that they can't continually avoid drafting offensive lineman on the first day of the draft? YOU NEED LINEMAN TO RUN THE BALL TOO ANGELO!!! If the Bears insist on keeping this GM, they should look into hiring a offensive GM counterpart, because he clearly can't identify offensive talent.

So in other words.......we should hire a new QB scout?

P.S. We'll be lucky to be competitive this year. Just wait. What kind of team do you think cheap McCaskey will field when there is no salary cap? BEARS will = Pittsburgh Pirates

Will they be dumb enough to try to sneak Hanie onto the practice squad, where he surely will get snapped up by another team? This will be interesting to watch...

Will they be dumb enough to try to sneak Hanie onto the practice squad, where he surely will get snapped up by another team?


Yes they would.

you all have good points and great gripes about the bears so heres mine. about the same as all the rest, but im so frustrated with the bears i have to get this off my chest. bears defense is fine, special teams is fine. offense friggin sucks as usual!!! we will be lucky to get 10 TD all season. how the hell is our running game gonna get anywhere if we have no line? i do think we have some good runningbacks too. our line is horrible, everyone thinks its just the left side, but i still say tait sucks, he cant move worth a shit. the wideouts are just mediocre at best, and hester isnt the answer there everyone is looking for. the QB situation is a joke, orton isnt gonna be able to do anything, maybe alot of 2 yard dump off passes that get us alot of (and i mean alot) 3 n outs!!! i hate the way lovie has NO emotions, show us something and quit sitting there like a bump on a log. jerry, you should quit making us the fans suffer for your mistakes, your a bad GM and you cant pick worth a shit. owners need to spend some money on great players, quit keeping it all to yourselves.

the guy i blame the most is RON TURNER!!! he was no good here the first time around, he sucked at UofI and now lovie brings him back again and he sucks again. WHY? ok, i feel better

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on August 21, 2008 12:29 AM.

First-round pick Williams: "I'd like to play at least half the season" was the previous entry in this blog.

Union in tenuous position following Upshaw's passing is the next entry in this blog.

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