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Full day of football with the trip up to Evanston this morning for the Northwestern pro day. There were 32 players from other state schools at the workout too. More on the pro day action later. Right now, let's get into the mailbag. We'll have one more Four Down Territory on Friday--get your questions in now--and then we're going to move to an abbreviated schedule next week with minicamp. Here we go.

Q: I was just listening to the Score and they were saying Tampa was in trade talks for Jay Cutler. If Tampa can be in trade talks for Cutler, why can't the Bears be? Tampa doesn't have a quarterback and the Bears have a higher first-round pick than them. Shouldn't Jerry Angelo at least try to get in there for a quarterback of his caliber? Did he not say fixing the quarterback position was a priority? With all of Angelo's first-round busts would this not be a safe move? Cutler is not Matt Cassel, he has all the good and has shown it, he is a fan of the Bears and has the type of arm and feet you need in Chicago.

Creighton, Parts Unknown

A: I haven't found one report that the Broncos and Bucs have engaged in any recent contract talks involving Cutler. Tampa Bay, of course, was in the three-way deal that was proposed prior to free agency and included the New England Patriots. But nothing indicates Cutler trade talks have happened again. The Broncos finally got Cutler on the horn earlier this week and that didn't go over so well. It will be interesting to see if he shows up next week for the beginning of the voluntary offseason program, a pretty big step under new coach Josh McDaniels.


Had an interesting conversation with a defensive coach from another team at the combine last month. He talked about the cover-two defense and the core positions that fuel it. It was a good discussion and what he did was rank the core positions for the scheme.

The cover two has lost some of its glitter recently and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have thrown it overboard in favor of a scheme with bigger players under new defensive coordinator Jim Bates. Some of the Tampa Two's best teachers--Tony Dungy, Monte Kiffin and Herm Edwards--will not be in the NFL in 2009. The Tampa Tribune's Ira Kaufman takes a look at the trend of teams switching to a base 3-4 scheme, including the Green Bay Packers.

Three teams from the Tampa Two tree of defenses finished in the top 11 last season. Minnesota, which is a hybrid Tampa Two with the Williams Wall at defensive tackle, was sixth. The Buccaneers came in at No. 9 and Indianapolis was No. 11. The Bears, of course, stumbled to finish 21st.

Lovie Smith might not remember it, but Jon Hoke recalls first meeting him at Humble (Texas) High School outside of Houston.

Smith was working for Ohio State at the time and landed prized wide receiver David Boston for the Buckeyes. Hoke, who was hired Tuesday as the Bears' secondary coach, also recruited the Houston area at the time for Missouri.

The next stop in Hoke's career was at Florida, where he became defensive coordinator under Steve Spurrier and that is when he got to know Smith. Members of the Gators staff would occasionally travel to Tampa to visit the Buccaneers coaches.

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