Chicago Sun-Times

Packers' Driver disses Bears' wide receivers and he's got a point

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We didn't stumble across Donald Driver's assessment of the Bears' wide receivers until a big headline was plastered across ProFootballTalk.com, but the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel came across something that position coach Darryl Drake might want to print out and stick in his training camp bag. Now.

Driver, talking to Sirius NFL Radio, was very complimentary of the Bears' acquisition of quarterback Jay Cutler, and had nice things to say about the offensive line, running back Matt Forte and the defense. But the wideouts ... what wideouts?

"I think Chicago did a great job, and Lovie Smith went out there and got Jay Cutler to lead this team, but one thing they don't have is they don't have the receiver group," Driver said. "They have the running back, they have the offensive line and they have a great defense. But you're going to have to need receivers to make plays down the field, and they don't have that right now. So I can see on our end we have all of that on our offense. And then you go back to look at Minnesota. Minnesota has a great running game, but they just don't have the top-of-the-line quarterback that they need. So I'm hoping my guy [Brett Favre] doesn't go over there, but if he does then I wish the best for him."

The way the Bears' wideouts played against Green Bay last season, Driver may have let them off easy. Packers cornerbacks Al Harris and Charles Woodson did a public mugging of the wide receivers in the first meeting. The Bears managed to lose 37-3 and in the process they completed four passes to wide receivers. Yes, they lost by five touchdowns (minus one extra point) and couldn't get five passes to the biggest playmakers on offense.

Brandon Lloyd has two receptions for 17 yards.

Rashied Davis had one receptions for 36 yards.

Devin Hester had one reception for seven yards.

Four catches. 60 yards.

Granted, that was the week Kyle Orton came back a week too early from an ankle injury but Orton wasn't the only player struggling at Lambeau Field.

Fast forward to the Week 16 rematch at Soldier Field that the Bears won 20-17 in overtime. Bears wide receivers made only three receptions in this game. Hester had two for 12 yards and Lloyd had one for 16 yards. The conditions were awful as it was two degrees at kickoff with a wind chill of 13 below zero, but the Packers were not playing in sunny conditions when they were on offense. Aaron Rodgers passed for 260 yards and Driver and teammate Greg Jennings each had six receptions.

If Driver is basing his opinion on those two games, you know what, he's dead on.

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28 Comments

I agree.

All the more reason for the Bear WR corps to at least have two monster games against the Pack this year.

Much is made about the WR situation, but I don't think that it reflects the passing game as a whole. Naysayers always fail to mention Greg Olson, who is one of the better pass-catching tight ends in the league, Dez Clark who has always been constant, and Matt Forte, who may very well be one of the best backfield receivers we've seen in recent years. Yes, many other teams can boast a pair of established wideouts, but the Bears at least have enough supporting cast to spread the ball around and take some heat off the outside. Granted, that may seem like more of a necessity than a luxury coming into the season, but to me, that means our current WR corps must simply play at a fair, if not consistent, level for the Bears to remain competitive. In the words of the coach, I think they're fine with what they've got.

donald driver should'nt run his mouth so much. the bears and the pack'ers almost have the same W-L record. post it on the borad and lets see how it turns out. you need much too have a good game!!!!!

I'm not much to live in la-la land and so, I agree with Driver.
Being a bears fan places us into a "wishing and hoping" mode and I have been there much too long.
Sometimes you have to take a step back and take a look at the big picture in an objective point of view.
I'm still wishing and hoping that someone will stand out this year from the wide out group....otherwise...it's going to be a long year...another learning year. We have had too many of them.
Until some of the wide outs stand out, we will continue to rely on our tight ends and running backs to catch most of the passes, taking away a good portion of the game....and making it easier for other teams to stop the bears.
Of course...a lot of this has to do with the management too.
When we had a number one wide out, we allow the vikes to take him away...as if he was replacable. Well, he hasn't been replaced yet.
Maybe...just maybe...we will find his replacement in this year's group of wide outs.
Well....here's to wishing and hoping.

What's his address? Let's go put a hurt on him. He's 34 and his production has been declining.

But seriously, you can't blame him for (or argue with) those comments. But its all pre-season-speak. The NFC will be a slug fest this year. And frankly, opening day can't get here soon enough.

Between Forte and Jones, the Bears will keep those GB receivers drinking cool-aide and chillin' on the sideline.

I would like to point out that if the packers would have challenged that Matt Forte touchdown the Bears would have lost. You know just putting it out there. It wasn't like DD was bashing the team in fact he praised it really. But when you look at the other three teams in the division they all have a go to guy...Vikings have Barrian the Lions have Calvin Johnson and the Packers have Greg Jennings. All the Bears need to do is sign someone like Marvin Harrison and they could be a threat. They have a running game, OL, and a Defense....but like the Vikings they too miss something to get them to the playoffs...Receivers....maybe this is the year Devin Hester steps out and preforms.

lindsay and everyone else that is so high on berrian, wake up. does 48 receptions for 964 yards really sound like a go to guy? yes, he had a nice average but that just tells you that he's a big play or nothing guy. a true go to guy would be closer to 100 receptions. his high mark last year was 6 receptions (twice) and he also had two games with ZERO...and yes he started those two games. he sure as heel wasn't worth $7M when the bears had him and he sure as hell isn't now. he is a number 2 receiver, that's it.

i'll guarantee you right now that hester has more receptions and more yards than him this year. what you need is a go to QB, and guess what? we got that.

Donald Driver, 7th round pick is dissing under appreciated receivers? Classy guy.

I think a lot of the aggravation floating around is because our biggest rival pointed something all of us already know and we do not want to be reminded of that fact. Yes, our WR corps is either going to be a hit or miss this season in terms of long yardage. Val got it right- we have been wishing and hoping for a while now but our prospects look much better.
We have a real good QB, a promising RB (we should not forget that other teams are now going to strategize their pieces on Forte now that he caught everyone's attention), a promising OL and an established TE tandem. If not huge yardage we should atleast beable to pick up about 6-7 yrds per play. Sure it's going to be workman-like but atleast it keeps the other offense off the field and our D rested.

It’s borderline line foolishness to believe the Bears are not in the midst of yet another experiment at wide out. Green Bay has two of the best cornerbacks in the league so you have to agree that as much as it pains us in coming from of all places Green Bay there is a modicum of accuracy to the comment. In those two games WR production was relatively low but the tight ends production and RB production supplemented game play. Chicago had Orton go 14/27 for 142 yards in subzero temperature in the game on 12/22 so it was not about to be a bombs away game any way they also had a series of drops but I think that Cutler will make dramatic improvements on WR production no matter who you give him. I’m not buying into the doomsday panic associated with having these young guys. They have to grow in game situations at some point and we as fans have to live through the pain of that growth. Driver was right about last year but Chicago still posted a better record by the end of the season under Orton even after splitting the series with Green Bay. I say bear down and lets see if we can get some of this fake analyst to coke on their own words because no on can predict just how successful the Bears will be after the extensive changes they have made to offense.

Other than Jennings, I'll take my chances with Bennett, Knox, & Iglesias over Driver. Yes I failed to mention Hester but I will continue to fail to mention him in regards to a WR until he get yards off a catch instead of most of his yards off penalties.

I don't think Forte will lead the team in receptions this year, in fact I think he'll be 3rd or 4th behind Olsen, Bennett, Hester, & maybe Clark or Knox.

Driver is giving the Bears recievers what they need to drive(r) them, thank you. It will be fun watching GB and that new 3-4 defense without the proper personnel, and those corners that peaked last season and are a year older and slower so thank you Mr. Driver your statement will be posted all over Halas Hall, but remember you are 30+ yrs old and you have to go against a defense with something to prove and some teamates that you dissed. Remember you were a late round choice who had the benefit of Brett Farve were would you have been with Orton and Grossman? Now these recievers have a real gunslinger with an above average arm and above average mobility lets see how good your DB's really are. So you really don't have a point Mr. Driver.

You'll take a guy who didn't have a catch last year and two rookies at one of the hardest positions to play in transition from college, over a guy who has posted five consecutive 1,000 yard seasons? You are smoking something.

Given how many times Driver gets laid out in a season, I don't think I would be talking about any other team's receivers, QBs, or any other position group. When OchoCinco talks about opposing DBs, he matches up directly with them, so it becomes a pride/personal thing. When you call out players on another team who you don't directly face, it becomes "us against him" when the lights come on. There will be some harder hits, and maybe a little extra come next year from our defense to stick up for their teammates.

That being said, he isn't wrong. We have a lot of unproven commodities at the position. Hester is still learning, Bennett hasn't done anything, Davis had a bad case of the drops, and nobody else has even gotten on the field yet, with the marginal exception of Rideau. We have a chance to either become a decent group, or languish in another year of obscurity at WR. I would bet we sign a free agent no matter what for next season, but 3 rookies, Hester, Bennett, and Rideau is the group we are going to bat with.

We are still missing a true split end, unless Rideau, Bennett, or Kinder emerge as a physical presence on the outside. Iglesias, Hester, Davis, and Knox are all better suited to flanker and slot, as they are not physical enough to beat the jam on the line consistently. I would like to see all 3 rookies make the squad, and Davis and Rideau go elsewhere. Davis has hit his ceiling, and it is not very high (more like a crawlspace). Rideau has shown flashes of something, but never translated it into real production. You show up on Sundays with Hester, Bennett, Iglesias, Knox, and Kinder, and you lean on Olsen, Clark, and Forte to be the strength of your passing game. Kansas City managed to have 2 or 3 4,000 yard passing seasons in a row where Gonzalez and Holmes were the entire passing attack, and Eddie Kennison was the only real contributor at wideout...Cutler has more potential than Trent Green, and between the two of them, Olsen and Clark can equal Gonzo's numbers. Forte/Holmes will eventually be about even, but right now Forte is not that good. We will be fine, and with a couple of good breaks in player development, we could be pretty interesting to watch.

not that i disagree with jennings on what he said, but his argument is a little hypicritical considering the past few years at the reciever position with the Packers. Other than driver, there has been a substantial youth movement at that position over there. Greg Jennings started as a rookie. Other players for whatever reason also started as rookies. so for DD to blast the bears becausew they are going with an unproven corps, is an ignorant blast because the packers did that two years ago and ended up in the NFC championship. As Jerry Angelo said in what now seems like an eternity, QB's make the recievers, not the other way around, Greg Jennings was i believe a 4th round pick from Western Michigan and Favre and now Rodgers have turned him into a star. In fact wasn't Driver a little known wide out coming into the league and Favre turned him into a star. The Bears have typically used the same philosophy in picking Wideouts under angelo, they don't use first round picks on them, they try to develop them and if they ever had the QB position stabilized, they could have been great. Berrian is considered a threat, justin gage is making headway to name a few, mark bradley if healthy will do some things in KC, so give Bennett a chance, give Iglasius and Knox a chance, and by the way and i know i am rambling, take a look at curtis conways first 3 or 4 years with the bears under ron turner and compare the first two years with devin hesters first two years, then look at conway's third year with Erik Kramer as his qb and then wonder if Hester who is built and as fast if not faster as conway was is going to struggle if he is healthy

ok, seriously, does any of this actually matter until they are on the field? Leading pass catcher in 85? Walter Payton I believe. In terms of Hester, how does a guy become a legitimate #1 receiver anyway? Oh yeah, he goes out and catches enough passes to be considered one. Well, if Hester goes out this year and catches 80 balls for 1400yds we will never have this chat again. Hines Ward, who was also a bit of a hybrid coming out of college, didn't have his first break out receiving year until year 4. And what about Donald Driver? Year 4. Hmmm, and that was will Favre chucking the ball up 40 times a game. Boldin was a monster his rookie year, and its obvious that every team knew about his impending greatness because he was selected 54th overall! How about Brandon Marshall? 119th overall in the draft. When is comes to receivers I agree with Angelo, it starts behind center. I would not be surprised at all to see solid years from many of the Bears wideouts, namely Hester.
I am just not sure what the issue is here. Being great on paper in the spring is important I guess, but being great on the field seems to be the bigger issue. I think I am growing tired of this argument.

"so for DD to blast the bears becausew they are going with an unproven corps, is an ignorant blast because the packers did that two years ago and ended up in the NFC championship."

The Packers have drafted a receiver in the 2nd round for 3 straight years. All three have been at least solid. That's pretty lucky considering how many WRs fail to do anything in the NFL. That said, though, none of them had a huge impact as a rookie. None had more than 700 yards receiving and none had more than 3 TDs. Now, considering that, it's hard to project your third and fifth round draft picks to be anything special this year.

But either way, a few years ago, even Favre criticized the Packers for not having any WRs, and I'm almost certain Driver would have agreed with him (with the obvious exception being himself). They've built that corps up, like I said earlier, with 3 straight second round draft picks. Until your GM is willing to put forth that kind of investment in the receiving corps, I wouldn't expect much.

Finally, I don't believe that Driver necessarily meant it to be disrespectful, considering that a) It's an accurate critique, and b) he heaped praise on every other offensive position group.

Damn, I was in a good mood when I woke up this morning. I had drank the cool-aid every day this summer and was feeling good probably because I forgot all about that 1st packer game last year, when yes, their DB's completely shut us down.

Not this year though. Improved O-line, improved QB, improved coaches, second year running back vs. a rookie back (who tore it up despite being a rookie).

PS. Is Old Man Driver still in the league? I thought that slow, old man retired already.

You have to love these comments that go straight to bashing the messenger while agreeing with him the whole time.

Driver is a very solid number 2 receiver, compliments Jennings very well.....He's just being honest he's not dissing anyone. If he was in Chicago he'd be your number 1, no offense to Hester. Driver has took the young receivers in Green Bay and showed them how to play. A Marvin Harrison would help Chicago's young receivers learn as well. In Driver's opinion he believes the Bears receivers aren't good getting off the line of scrimmage and getting deep. Yes, Cutler is great, but still if your receivers can't get off the line and create separation then it's going to be hard for any quarterback to complete passes. Ask Favre, when the Packers didn't make the playoffs it was either because he didn't have good enough receivers or the defense sucked or a combination of both. A few years ago he wanted Moss and that's part of the reason why he's not here now. Ted Thompson didn't get him and then the bad blood started to spill.

That being said Driver's only going off last years assessments. He said Minnesota didn't have a great quarterback I don't think Minnesota fans aren't arguing that. When, or if chicago receivers prove him wrong then he'll have to eat his word but until then HE'S RIGHT!

I don't like the assessment either, but I know that the bear's receivers are looking for some respect. That's why I think they are going to come back and surprises people this year. If Earl Bennett can improve from his OTAs, then he'll do pretty good this year. And, Jay Cutler is a big improvement over Kyle Orton, so our recievers should do better as it is.


Also, for all your fantasy football information, go to www.FantasyFootballTalk.net!

I am a true bear fan and have been one all my life but I agree with the cheesehead ... .did I say that? Everyone knows we need to add another veteran receiver. Will the decision makers in Halas hall figure it out or will they do like they usually do and ignore the fact until it becomes a crisis (ex: QB) I am also a little worried about our safety situation. I would rather had Brown to return then address the situation the way they have. I am looking forward to camp and the season! Let's get another veteran or two and get it done!

The PACK is gonna SMACK da quears (and that "crew of flunkies" known as the hahahah WR CORP hahaha, quears, WR CORP, hahahaha)... 9/13/09!

BOOK IT!!!

GBP 4 LIFE


BYAAAAATCH's

Well, what can you say? The Bears have had one of the worst sets of receivers in the league for quite awhile. The best group they've had lately featured a No. 2 trying to play a No. 1 (Moose) and a speed receiver who doesn't run good routes or have good hands (Berrian). So Driver is right on in his comments about the Bear receivers.

However, it's not real bright saying bad things about opponents in public. Even Dick Butkus didn't do that, and everyone was afraid of him. It's up to the Bear players to make Driver pay for those comments, right or wrong. And it's up to the receivers to prove him wrong, here's hoping they can do it.

No one respects Donald Driver more than I do. In fact, I think he was a major reason for Favre's success. On the other hand, being a great receiver does not make you an astute analyst, and he shows that big time here.

Donnie D was right about the Bears receivers, they may turn out to be OK but lets face the facts they are not proven NFL talent and usually rookies do not come in and become big stars that often in their first year as a pro.

With that said, lets assume that the Bears need at least one proven NFL vet receiver to complement Hester. That proven vet receiver must be someone that is respected by the competition and would draw defensive coverage that may open up others on the offense, such as the tight end or slot receiver or even provide more one on one opportunities for Hester, as Hester seems to be the most feared receiver that opposing defenses prepare for and interfere with so as to not be beaten on a play.

The other factor of getting an NFL proven receiver, is that when the playoffs hit and assuming that the Bears will be part of that scenario, an NFL vet receiver most likely will be more able to deal with those pressures of the playoffs better than untested rookies that the Bears will have on the field this upcoming year.

Well what to do?

If there is any chance to get a player like Brandon Marshall, who would be a perfect complement to Hester, they would have to give someone up with talent and Urlacher still probably has 2-3 years left at above average talent, plus another one or two players or even a draft pick may have to be given to the Donkey's. Urlacher is expendable because the Bears have Briggs who could probably cover the middle effectively and he is particularly better against the run. The Bears have Jamar Willliams for the weak side LB or the young rookie from Ohio State. If not Urlacher than Vasher may be used as trade bait since the Bears are quite deep in the CB group.

The fact is that the Donks need D help and the Bears need WR help, what better solution could be made than Marshall since he is pushing for a trade right now, would be a star in the NFL for years to come, Cutler wants him, he is all pro and is a WR that has a skill set similar to Terrell Owens, big and strong, move the chains, take it to the house, a he would open Hester up for glory as the opposing defenses must be concerned about too many Bears players allowing Hester more one on one opps.

So Angelo, get er done. This could be the missing ingredient and may really ensure a run at the roses of the Super Bowl and of course another statue of your likeness on top of Sears tower or in front of the lake, you name the location for the statue, maybe your front yard?

I don't like giving up talent on D but the Bears talent I speak of is getting long of tooth and will bring value now, that they may not in the next few years.

Jerry, one more big move could do it!!!!1

Last year the receivers sucked because the quarterback SUCKED!!!! Bottom line!!! Hester would have been a Pro Bowl receiver if Orton could get him the ball deep!!! How many more TD's would he have had last year?? He would have posted Pro Bowl numbers!! You watch this year!!! Driver is just jealous!!!!! Afraid too!!! BEAR DOWN!!

Hester would have been every bit of a complete receiver last year, had we had somebody to throw the deep ball. Cutler will actually be able to utilize Hester's skills, and be a little more than a QB who has to keep it under 15 yards. Throw in good TE's, receiving RB's, a veteran OL, and Cutler himself, and we could dang near be explosive this year.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on July 16, 2009 9:16 PM.

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