Chicago Sun-Times

Smith open to adding veteran quarterback

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ORLANDO -- Bears coach Lovie Smith said the team has discussed the possibility of adding a veteran quarterback to the roster.

During a wide-ranging interview at the annual NFC coach's breakfast at the NFL owners' meeting, Smith said the Bears opted against adding a third quarterback in 2009 after looking at the landscape.

Smith, though, noted that was an exception and highlighted several reasons a veteran could benefit the group, which currently includes starter Jay Cutler and Caleb Hanie.

"It wouldn't be a bad thing if we end up with a veteran," Smith said, "and that has nothing to do with Caleb Hanie.

"We think Caleb is a heck of a football player. But, when you do go with two quarterbacks, it is a little scary each week. You never know."

Smith said a veteran could be a sounding board for Cutler and likened that player to a second coach.

"Probably more so than any other position, you can have even an older veteran around," he said, "because unless there's an injury, it's not like he's going to be physically beat up every day."

Here are some other highlights:

* Smith said Devin Hester will be a full-time receiver and also handle punt returns. So no kickoff returns for him.

* Smith said Brian Urlacher is healthy and said on two occasions that the middle linebacker is still "the face of the franchise."

* Smith said he expects "pretty much 100 percent" of his players to attend the start of the voluntary off-season conditioning program on Monday.

* Smith said he hasn't committed Julius Peppers to one side.

* Smith said he would like to "lock" Israel Idonije into defensive end more than tackle and "see how good he can be" (on the outside).

* Smith said he fully engaged tight end Greg Olsen when the team was looking to add an offensive coordinator and before they added tight end Brandon Manumaleuna.

* Smith reinforced that the Bears will not become a pass-heavy team. "We're in Chicago. It's not going to change. We'll continue to run the football. We just want to be able to pass the football, too."

* Smith said Nick Roach will, at this point, get the initial looks at strongside linebacker, ahead of Hunter Hillenmeyer and Jamar Williams.

* Smith said he was on board with the team's decision to vote yes for the new overtime rule modification. "We voted for the rule, so that's what I liked. That's it," he said.

* Smith said the club felt it was time to give cornerback Nathan Vasher a chance at a fresh start. "You want to be fair with the veterans," he said. Time for the player and the team to move on, Smith said.

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16 Comments

Izzy at end is interesting.
I hope that it is because Anthony Adams is going to get more snaps.
Izzy seems fast, he might make a lot of plays at end.

Goodbye Wale.

I thought the Bears re-signed Pisa Tinoisamoa ? Wouldn't he be the starting strong side linebacker ?

Sean have you heard any rumors about anybody looking at Hanie in a trade?

The Bears now have Cutler as the long term answer. One of the indirect benefits for teams with a relatively young francise QB is that they can get some bling by developing young backups as trade bait. Some examples are Schaub, Cassel, Hasselbeck.

From a time in the league perspective Hanie is reaching the point in his career where some teams may be interested in letting him compete for a starting job. Anybody heard anything along that line?

What about Craig Steltz? Will he get a shot a SS ahead of Afdaradar and Payme? I bet he will. Give him 3 starts and he will flourish beyond any expectations. Lovie knows it.

Well a veteran QB a little older to provide Cutler a sounding board. HMMM, I hope the Bears continue to develop Hanie and don't stunt his development as a result of going after a veteran. Are there any QB's that come to mind that would fill that role well. Simms to me is not that guy. Wouldn't a QB that would have Cutler's respect be someone that has accomplished something in the NFL, maybe Kurt Warner wants to come back in a role of a mentor (third string QB/coach that coachs and mentors both Caleb and Cutler while developing his own coaching ability. I know that is the longest of long shots but what the heck, he knows the system and would have immediate respect.

Does Lovie ever really know where to play his players? Certainly Idonije is an example, that Lovie is sometimes clueless as to where players have their strengths and weaknesses. I truly wish that Lovie would quit this stuff of always moving players around and not letting them get into a position long enough to be successful. Idonije is an example, Manning is an example, Payne is an example, you can go on and on. Lose weight one year to be fast and gain weight the next to be stronger and slower, play DT, play end, Olimiyale play guard oh no maybe you should play tackle, the week before the season starts he names Manning as the free safety..... We all know how that worked.

Lovie, please do not move Cutler to the wildcat postion or to the slot, I do not think it will work, you might try him at punter however.

if they cut bulger from the rams and he doesnt cost a lot could be a good mentor for cutler on martzs system.. like hanie but not sold on him as of yet..

Dahlillama's objections to Smith moving players around has a good deal of merit. Certainly players get comfortable playing one position and are able to perfect their performance if they stay there. On the other hand,some players do not realize how their particular strengths might be better suited to a different position. I think here of the number of offensive backs who ended up as top-notch defenders.They still show their running ability when they return interceptions but are of greater value to the team playing defense. A great coach will consistently recognize when a change in position is likely to be beneficial, but there are not many of such coaches around.

MS,
I like what you are thinking, but I think we need to get a game or two out of Hanie in legitimate game action before any team considers him a desirable prospect to trade for. Martz has kind of been QB kryptonite except in the case of Warner, so having him might not help our chances.

I am with you on Izzy as well. We have moved him every single year he has been here. He has gained and lost weight more times than Oprah. Every position group has had this issue, except for QB, and we have compensated there by rotating so many guys through there, we looked like a reality show (gone horribly wrong).

It all boils down to not having a plan. The organization was convinced that they had the pieces in place to compete for a title, and that the only adds they needed to make were for special teams. So we have a team of aging starters, and awesome special teams unit, and a few young building blocks. The strategy has to be totally revamped, especially now that we have our QB of the future in place.

If Jerry wants to gain some credibility as a GM in the league, and in Chicago, he needs to start with a 2-3 year plan. Looking at each position on the roster, where are we set for the long haul, and where do we need to start making plans. Instead of drafting special teamers, we need to draft future starters who will cut their teeth on special teams. They need to determine which positions will be "fixed" each season of the 3 year plan, and supplement draft choices with free agents to make it happen. Obviously, no team accomplishes 100% of their objectives in a single offseason, but they also get pleasant surprises in cases, major disappointments in other. For example, the remainder of the offseason needs to be focused on 2 major areas: Solidify the offensive line for 2010, and straighten out the safety position.
Tice needs to deliver his assessment, and Angelo needs to fill in the gaps. At the same time, you can't lose sight of the fact that Olin's contract is coming up, and Garza isn't getting any younger, so if they are part of the immediate solution, the process of a long term replacement strategy needs to get underway.

That is where this organization has repeatedly failed under this regime. They have made the assumption that we are close to championship level play, and that we don't need to upgrade our starters. Part of that is coaching, part of that is organizational mis-diagnosis. Sooner or later, it is going to come to a head, and it sounds like Jerry is getting the messsage, but at the same time, that doesn't mean he knows what to do. We'll see how he does over the next month leading up to the draft.

Another thought. Would Marinelli be able to get the first round ability out of Greg Hardy as an NFL player? Latest rumors I am hearing are that he is dropping into late 3rd or 4th round status. If we could get a player in the 4th (assuming we fill either LG or FS with our first pick) that was considered a potential top 10 pick going into this year, I would think you could call that a steal.

There are concerns about work ethic and desire, but there were also several nagging injuries and a season-ending injury this year that altered his work on film. He dropped his 40 time from 4.95 to 4.77 from the Combine to the pro day, and improved his other measured skills significantly as well, so the kid is capable of putting in the effort needed to get better. Solid coaching by Marinelli on the effort and grunt-work part of the job, and his natural pass rush skills could be maximized.


Just a thought, especially if we are able to get one of our starting holes filled by draft day.

Nothing about the safety position? Seems like that would be a hot topic to get an answer for! Is the position going to be just addressed in the draft? Or are the Bears waiting for June 1 for their shot at Atogwe? Or is Sharper still an option? I thought this position was the one of prime interest to the Bears this off season? Yes, I understand the money and the signings of Peppers, Taylor and Manumaleuna. But what is the plan? Did Lovie not want to talk about it? Go Bears!!!

We should not waste a roster spot or money on another QB. Martz is going to be in Cutlers ear 24/7 so what do we need another mentor for? After another off-season and training camp Hanie will be better than Orton was and Bulger is, or any body else available! Spend the money on a true FS! And bring in Holt to "mentor" the young recievers! Wake up and BEAR DOWN Lovie!

Todd Collins is the veteran QB they are talking about. He is a good QB and was very successful for the Redskins a few years back. He's well tenured in the league and is a really respectable man. I like the idea of bringing him in to help out with our two younger QB's.

jon kitna is unemployed, isn't he? he knows martz's schemes and tactics as well as anyone and he's supposedly a good "team player", meaning he doesn't have a huge ego.

Israel Idonije, too me, would be a much better fit outside at defensive end. I like that move. I think the main reason Idonije was inside these last couple seasons was due mainly to Tommie Harris health, and a lack of overall depth at the under tackle position. With Idonije outside, 2nd year player Jarron Gilbert will probably get a look inside at the under tackle position, I think he's gonna be a surprise there, we'll see.

As far as Nick Roach, what does this guy gotta do to have the strongside position locked down. Over the last two seasons he's played very good at that position, and anywhere else Chicago has lined him up. Over the final 10 games just last season, all at strongside linebacker, Roach had 41 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, one sack, and 3 forced fumbles. He should be the guy for the strongside job GO BEARS!!

Dahli you must have missed it last year but Lovie did put Cutler at reciever in a Wildcat formation.

People are saying Lovie and Martz are saying different things and the truth is they are not. Martz said he wants Hester in the slot and Lovie says he wants him as a full time reciever. Martz main formation is a 3 wide single back formation with a blocking TE, thats about 60-70 percent of his offensive sets. Add in the 4 wide sets and Hester will easily be on the field as a reciever often. He just won't be the so called number 1 that Lovie blurted out a couple years back. He has no say in what Martz will do during a game when it comes to who the primary reciever is on a play. Martz does not set 15 plays like Turner he goes in and calls plays according to what the defense is doing at that moment. He does not try to force the ball. He does play high risk high reward and will just throw some crazy play out there from time to time, his slot guy is often a check down.

Olsen as an H-Back, wow a first round pick on an H-Back on an offense that doesn't use an H-Back for much more than blocking. Lovie claiming Olsen can block as well as mst TE is a joke, I know he doesn't pay attention to much but really? Olsen a Blocker?

Its being said that Steltz and Manning will be the starters, hahahaha, good luck with that pair.

If Izzy is going to End, Gilbert is done. The Bears prefered Gilbert at End, Izzy has been backing up Harris most of the time, and the Bears like Melton better at the under tackle than Gilbert but nobody is impressed with either. Could we get another DB and MO incident? Basically it looks like the Bears are just rying to set up to take the best available in the draft. The only position they probably won't look at is End and maybe reciever. But I wouldn't rule out DT sense they need one in a bad way.

Kevin the problem with Roach is he didn't play in STL. Can't have to many of those guys on your Bears even though their is only one guy from that team any chicago Bear fan wants at this point and we are not getting him, cause the Bears blew their wad already. I will say this, Roach had problems in coverage against TE's thats his biggest problem.

HEY LOVIE!!!!!!!


STELTZ IS TOO SLOW!!!!!!!!!

stop lying to us.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on March 24, 2010 7:36 AM.

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