Chicago Sun-Times

Holmgren: I expect [Cutler] to be a very good thing for Chicago

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Mike Holmgren was largely credited with helping develop a young Brett Favre in Green Bay more than 15 years ago. Now, Holmgren is asked to weigh in on an old Favre, the one who is or isn't contemplating a 2009 return with the Minnesota Vikings depending on, well, the day or you who believe.

Holmgren weighed in on a current young quarterback with a strong arm in Jay Cutler on Thursday when he visited with Waddle & Silvy on WMVP-AM 1000. Holmgren and his Seattle Seahawks faced Cutler on Dec. 3, 2006, in Cutler's first NFL start. He threw two touchdowns, was intercepted twice and was sacked three times in a 23-20 loss.

"We played against Jay in Denver, it may have been his first start,'' Holmgren said. "He was a little wild, but he has really good ability. He can really throw it. And I didn't begin to comment on how he's developed and things like that because, but he went to the Pro Bowl. And he's a young quarterback. And I know this, those guys are hard to find. They really are.

"If you have one then you have to cultivate it and build up a trust and ride that horse all the way. And it surprised me a little bit, to be honest. I think it's a wonderful thing for the Bears. I think the Bears have always been a difficult team to play, and their defense has always been very, very strong. And they've always had some question marks over the years at quarterback, and this seems to have solved that problem. I expect it to be a very good thing for Chicago."

That led to the question of whether or not the Bears are a legitimate Super Bowl contender from the NFC, three years removed from making it to that stage with Rex Grossman at quarterback. Of course, the Bears went through Holmgren's Seahawks in the divisional round of the playoffs to get there.

"I'm reluctant to make those types of predictions, honestly,'' Holmgren said. "I think a couple things would have to happen, from an outside looking in. There's a tendency to play the game a certain way, and then you have this quarterback you think you're going to open things up and let him go. You know, you have that decision to make. And I would think that now that they have him in place, and if they like how he's playing, they have to play the game differently and don't worry about it.

"I've always said if I have a great defense, and you have those seasons where you have a great defense, instead of playing it to not make mistakes, open it up because your defense can cover for anything. And a lot of teams with great defenses have a tendency to just pound the ball and let our defense do this. I would take the other track. And it will be interesting to see how the Bears do that, really.''

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24 Comments

From someone who knows Football and QB's

I like where the BEARS are sitting this year ! ! !

Bears ball on the 50. Third and one. Cutler back to throw. He hits Johnny Knox on the deep post-touchdown! Dream on.

So Holmgren reportedly wants to coach again. I sincerely hope the Beloved Bears give him strong consideration after this season, no matter how Lovie's Bears fare.

so let me get this right...

if the bears were to win the superbowl that would mean 2 SB in 5 yrs and you would fire the coach thats done that?

how in the world does that make sense?

holmgreen has been to exactly 1 SB in the last decade

Homegrowns a good coach but I'd take Lovie anyday!!

Aw gee, Justin, do ya think it's cuz Holgren won the Big Game and Lovie didn't?

How about someone who has won 2 Super Bowls, back to back, no less? How about a head coach who knows the new Quarterback's strengths, and has already designed a high-powered offense around him? How about a local guy who would probably be so happy to coach his hometown team that he might actually do it for the McCaskeys' predictably lowball contract offer?

It's highly unlikely, but Mike Shanahan would be a great hire for this team...

Lovie smith is the highest paid coach in the NFL

Justincredible..

You sure got a lot of IFs in your statement.
Are you counting the chickens before they hatch?
I personally think the offense is going to look much better this year...but the defense is going to stink up the field...not because of the players but because of the person running the show...namely...lovie smith.
As usual, the bears coaching staff will again be responsible for loosing a handful of games due to their brilliant decisions.
That will be enough for them not to get the the big game.

Tell me? Who is the head coach during a football game. It can't be Lovie smith...he is busy playing defensive coordinator.
Oh yeah...I forgot...the job falls to the assistant head coach...you know...that 0-16 looser that the bears hired from detroit.

Get the picture?
It will be another wasted season because the Bears can't make the tough call of firing lovie smith. His cover-2 defense is outdated. Tampa, who created that defense, finally realized it and trashed that scheme. Lovie is going to attempt to prove to the world that he can make it work (why? because that is all he knows)or die trying.
The cover-2 is a prevent defense. It will continue to tire out the defense because they have to spend too much time on the field.
The defense will continue to be weak in the 4th just like last year and the year before. It funny that this was not a problem when Ron Rivera was defensive coordinator...maybe because he mixed it around ...you know...doing what a good defensive coordinator is suppose to do....play what works.

if lovie is the highest paid in the nfl then the bears got burned by the 06 season. jay, and the bears may not do as good as people think. for sure no super bowl for them this year. the defense maybe
improved this year maybe not. with the recievers we have and lovie coaching this team well you will find yourself in the crazy house thinking we are going to the big dance, even if we did we would lose
after this year lovie should be shown the door and kicked out of it.
there are too many great coaches out there who need jobs and would they would love to coach the bears if the mc cheapies would at least pay them well. you can only go so far with a team that is better than the coach. remember the jordan bulls fired doug collins and got phil jackson, also the current bulls are a much better team
than vinny is a coach. vinny walked the ball up the floor when the celtics were hurt and to slow to keep up with the young bulls. they should have won in five games. i hate lovie's cover 2 defense cause we have nice corners and linebackers who play so far from the line of play that it's easy for teams to control the time of possession and get first downs.this is not tampa and we don't have those players. why blitz when your d backs and linebackers are too far from the line of play,where's the pressure? at best lovie is a bridge coach and the bears have a bright future if they get a real!!!!!!!! coach.

so, val, carlos, etc...

lovie smith takes the bears to the superbowl in 06, wins more games than any other team in the nfc over the past four years other than the new york giants and has had one losing campaign since 2004 (no one should hold 2004 against anyone- totally a rebuilding year)and you people are asking for his dismissal? would you like jc himself to come back and coach? i hear he's available.

i believe last year most people thought the Bears were going to finish 4-12, 3-13? mostly from guys like you, i would assume. and then you guys cried like babies when they came one game away from going to the playoffs.

grow a set and shut up. lovie's fine. not infallible- he made a mistake in getting rid of rivera, for one- but he's fine. and don't give me the "if you're not serious about winning the sb every year" argument. it's gone stale- smith has been by and large a successful coach considering he's been asked to mostly coach AROUND his offense the majority of his tenure here- notable exception being 2006.

when angelo has been able to provide him with players on BOTH sides of the ball, he's done well. heck, even when that wasn't the case, he's done well by any rational person's standards.

come back from the ledge.

how many times has a seahawk team been rated higher than a bears team-players win sb not coaches !bear under!

Getting rid of Rivera and promoting Babitch was the dumbest move they've made so far.

The Bears immediately went from a top tier defense to the bottom rungs.

Easy boys - Lets have this year play out and see what happens- I am more excited then ever. Negate the bad vibes and stay thirsty my friends.

If Rivera is such a GREAT Defensive Coorinator or potential Head Coach, why isn't he one? Why hasn't ANY NFL Team jumped on this Ron Rivera Fan Club? Fact is, he had a good year cause the players were good and Lovie had design input. Sure, Lovie isn't the best head coach available. And sure, Lovie let his ego rule his better judgment when he fired Rivera. And sure, Babich is out of his league as D Coordinator. But, let's not ordain Rivera as this Great D Coordinator for THAT he is NOT.

""Tell me? Who is the head coach during a football game. It can't be Lovie smith...he is busy playing defensive coordinator.
Oh yeah...I forgot...the job falls to the assistant head coach...you know...that 0-16 looser that the bears hired from detroit.""


That makes little sense val....

Marinelli is the D-line coach and was given the "assistant HC" label as a gesture by Loive. Ron Turner enjoyed the same thing when Lovie brought him in to be the OC....

Make no mistake, this is Lovie's team regardless if he is calling the Defensive plays or not. Lovie approached Angelo in the off-season so he could save his BFF Bob Babbich from the firing squad. Angelo made it clear he wanted Bob out of the way but Lovie stepped up and said he would fix it and let Bob go back to what he does best, coaching the LB's. This is Lovie's scheme, Lovies defense so who better to run it the man himself right ???

If you take the approach that Lovie can't multi-task and be in control of the team while telling Urlacher through his ear piece what he wants done every 20-something seconds for half of a football game then you could be correct. I will side with the dozen other headcoaches that will be calling thier Offensive or Defensive plays as well and say that Lovie will have little problem doing double duty.


Go Bears !!

Just saying guys, it would be crazy not to give Holmgren strong consideration. He knows how to develop & utilize QBs. When was the last time Lovie developed or properly utilized a QB? Holmgren, Shanahan, heck even Gruden should be at least given consideration. The idea is to get better & that shouldn't only be a guideline for the players but also the coaches.

It's just timing. Lovie will drop down to the middle of the pack in salary next year. For some reason this last couple NFL off-seasons cycled to promoting (cheaper) coordinators to replace head coaches. Next year guys like Gruden, Cowher, Holmgren and Shanahan will be getting hired again. You can be assured they won't come cheap.

Holmgren raises a good point about offensive strategy with Cutler. An elite arm is only valuable when you are allowed to throw the ball down the field. There isn't much difference between Cutler and Orton when it comes to handing off the ball to a running back or throwing a screen.

It seems to me that the Bears are setting up their roster this year to compete and win, but not dominate, on all three phases of the game. We aren't used to that. For decades the Bears have tried to field a dominate defense, good special teams, and a "hold em" offense. Now, with Cutler, they are much more balanced. On top of that, Lovie's cover two is vulnerable straight up, but it is most deadly against teams trying to play catch up. I think that's what Holmgren was talking about.

If you plan to have Cutler "manage" the offense, he is not that much of an upgrade from Orton. The only way it will work is to turn him loose with the game plan. Bears are not leopards, so one has to wonder if they can change their spots?

Dacamase, you make the best point on the board. holmgren already sees what needs to happen on offense, and it's not all about sending hester on a deep out after two running plays...the bears need to develop more into what the pack were when holmgren was around...strong running game combined with a creative pass attack (mid-deep throws). here's to hoping mr turner's got it in him, and that the bears can find the next donald driver!

Jay Cutler is the Best QB Chicago has ever had, and he hasn't even taken a snap. He made Marshall, Stokley, and a few no names great. Many want to talk about the "bad" receiving core that Chicago has. Just remember....they never have a QB. Every WR Chicago lets go gets a little better at the next team. Why? Because of QB play. Just remember, that D was on the field an aweful lot the last two years, and with duel threats in the backfield like Cutler and Forte, the Bears offense will make the defense look good instead of the other way around.

The best free agent pickup the Bears made this offseason was not a player, it was Rod Marinelli! The problem with the "D" last season was no pass rush from the line. The Bears had to blitz all the time. The line could not get to the Quarterback so they had to blitz to get pressure. When you have to blitz to get pressure the other team knows it and game plans for it. When you blitz you leave your LB's and DB's one on one and pro teams will eat that up. The years the Bears went to the superbowl the D line was great. Tommy Harris was a beast. He demanded a double team and that helped the others get free. Letting Tank Johnson go might have hurt more then first thought. Rod is louded by all that he has been coached by and the Sapps, Rices and others give him the credit for there greatness not Monty. Not all coachs are cut out to be head coachs and because you were not great as a head coach does not mean you are not a great asst coach. to get the job as a head coach you had to be a good asst coach. Rod is a great D line coach! If we can get that line back to dominating the defence will inprove a great deal. You show me a great defence and I will show you a great D line. If the line can get pressure with out blitzing and demand a double team, that also helps the linebackers because the O line can not rub off and block a linebacker. It also makes the blitz much more effective because if you can not or are having a hard time blocking the line one on one then you are not going to pickup the blitz. The key is the D line

Lovie, Lovie, Lovie,

Lovie started out pretty well when he first came to town. He promised wins against Green Bay and for the most part that has happened. He had the team motivated, at least the defense up through the 2006 season.

Well he has made some big mistakes as well. Babich obviously was a big mistake and his decision to go with Babich cost him credibility with the team. Half time adjustments have never been a strong point for Lovie. Remember the playoff losses to Carolina and Indianapolis. After halftime in those games what happened, nothing, plain and simple, nothing. Against Carolina, Steve Smith was killing the Bears but no the Bears after halftime kept the same defense, no wrinkles to better cover Smith thinking they could play it the same as they did in the first half. The season in 2007 after the Superbowl was mostly lost in the Giants game at home with a half time lead lost that game and the Giants went on to win the Superbowl. Minnesota, Atlanta, Carolina and Tampa Bay last year were losses that simply were inexcusable. Win any two of those and the Bears are in the playoffs. This with the easiest schedule in the NFL.

The coach is the guy who sets the tempo and gets his team motivated, establishes the team discipline and ensures that they are prepared each and every week. Who is to blame when a team like Atlanta throws an out pattern 25 yards down field with 1 second left on the game clock and wins the game. Who is to blame when a team has a lack of discipline and a scrum breaks out in the late fourth quarter with the Bears leading and the Bears lose the game to Tampa. Who is to blame when against Carolina a large lead is lost and then the Bears call the infamous 1 yard plunger and get stopped at the 50 with time expiring. A field goal would have won that game. Who is to blame when in Minnesota the Bears with a lead just before half time on the 1 yard line call the predictable 1 yard plunger again and Minnesota on the next play the Queens throws a 99 yard TD. Even a field goal in that situation would have changed the whole complexion of the game and widened the lead at halftime or calling a play action and passing for a TD or anything but that one yard plunger play.

My belief is that Lovie has had sufficient talent to at least make the playoffs for the last two years. The Bears have been ill prepared game in and game out, they haven't played 100% for the full 60 minutes in many games and when some of the players even comment to the press that commitment is a problem, well who do you blame.

An old business phrase of "the fish stinks from the head" may be appropriate.

If Lovie and the Bears don't go deep into the playoffs with this years team. The talent seems to be sufficient to get there particularly with Cutler at QB. Then in my opinion it is time to make a change with the coaches either Lovie or Turner or both. Based on how the team plays in all areas. JA has provided enough talent to have a little more time as General Manager, but the coaching has been poor since 2006.

I would love to see a coach with some fire in their belly like a Holmgren, Shannahan, Gruden or Cower take the reins and ride this horse, that we call the Bears.

With Cutler, the Bears have the best QB in their division.

A thought -- the Vikings should forget about Brett Favre and his iffy
shoulder and sign Rex Grossman for much less. Grossman knows the division. He is much younger and healthier than Brett.

He is way better than Rosenfels or T. Jackson. He also has good rapport with Berrian, the top Viking receiver. He's been to the Super Bowl.I'd rate Rex second only to Cutler in the NFC North.

In fact, if Bears fans were not so nasty to him, I'd sign Rex to be Jay's backup -- as long as the money is right.

Mike shannahan as head coach norv turner as Off coord.and ron rivera or mike singletary as d coord.or head coach any of these would have been better than the coaching staff now.Lovies overrated babbich is just not there period.ron turner needs to call his brother for help and rod marrinelli? come on? you guys arent gonna see a superbowl anytime soon...lmao. And im a die-hard bears fan...

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