Biggs: 10 thoughts after Bears' loss
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is injured after he is sacked by the Washington Redskins defense in the second quarter at FedEx Field. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune / October 20, 2013)
1. General manager Phil Emery has been consistent about many things in the nearly two years he has been on the job. He has been most firm on refusing to enter into discussions about players’ contracts, citing it as a highly personal issue that he doesn’t intend to shed light on.
Whether Emery participates or not -- and he will have a news conference Monday afternoon at Halas Hall -- the future and a contract for Jay Cutler will be front and center in a public forum, especially if the groin injury suffered by the quarterback in the second quarter sacks him for a good portion of the remaining schedule.
There is evidence after seven games with coach Marc Trestman that Cutler is an improved quarterback. He didn’t play particularly well here and he deserves at least partial blame for the Brian Orakpo interception return for a touchdown. It was a high throw into coverage that went off the hands of wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. But Cutler has been solid, clearly better than he was for Ron Turner, Mike Martz or Mike Tice for a team that has needed offensive production to overcome a troubled defense.
Now, we must sort through this latest development and answer whether Cutler has issues remaining on the field. No one is going to question his toughness. Cutler missed the final six games in 2011 with a broken thumb and he’s had two concussions as a member of the Bears, both of which forced him to miss one game. If Cutler misses significant time with this injury, it unquestionably will detract from his value.
Maybe the Bears dodge a bullet and get good news when Cutler has an MRI on Monday to determine the extent and severity of his injury. Maybe he’s out just a short period of time with the Bears entering their week off. But if that’s not the case -- and the team is quietly bracing for bad news -- where do you go then? It was a fluke injury when Cutler broke his thumb in 2011, chasing down a Chargers defender after an interception. There was nothing that looked particularly scary about how Redskins defensive end Chris Baker twisted him down in the second quarter. Another fluke play.
Since the beginning of the 2010 season, Cutler has started 47 of the 55 games. What if it is 47 of 64 at the end of this season? The quarterback position is paramount and Cutler, who turns 31 in the offseason, is in the final year of his contract. He’s played his best football for the Bears under Trestman.
Emery has a busy offseason ahead of him with heavy lifting needed for the defense. Emery and the Bears don’t need to make any decisions about the future this week. There is plenty of time for evaluations and, after that, calculations.
2. When the Bears last saw Jordan Palmer, he was leaving Halas Hall after brief work in the final two preseason games, heading off on a pre-planned European vacation. When they caught up with Palmer again Sunday, he was at The Point, a bar in Dana Point, Calif., where he had gone to watch the day’s NFL action. The Bears are bringing the journeyman in Monday and expected to sign him to a contract as a No. 3 (or backup to Josh McCown).
Palmer was at the same bar watching games last season when Blaine Gabbert was injured and the Jaguars summoned him. No, he’s not a regular, but he goes to The Point on occasion.
“How about that?” Palmer said. “Pretty random.”
Considering Palmer had almost no time to learn the Bears offense, he did well in preseason, completing 12 of 18 passes for 116 yards and one touchdown. He said at the time he expected to have good recall if he was needed in the season, and he’s been hoping to latch on with a team. Palmer was just hired by Athletes Performance to run pre-draft combine training for quarterbacks, a job that doesn’t begin until January, but he’s been working out and hoping the phone would ring. He’s also shadowed some television crews, including Fox’s No. 1 team with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, and NFL Network’s crew of Brad Nessler and Mike Mayock.
“That’s something I would like to get into one day,” Palmer said.
But more than anything else, the 29-year-old has been waiting for a chance and that has arrived.
3. Jon Bostic probably will want to forget his first NFL start as the Redskins scored 45 points and produced four touchdown drives of 80 yards or more. But Bostic got to do a little of everything, including taking over the play calling when Lance Briggs was lost to what looked like a left shoulder injury midway through the third quarter. James Anderson moved to the weak side in place of Briggs and Blake Costanzo became the strong-side linebacker.
Bostic got credit for eight tackles in press box statistics, five solos and three assists. It will be interesting to see what kind of review he gets from the coaches.
“For a run-and-hit guy, he was all over the place,” said one scout who had reviewed parts of the game before the night was out.
“Obviously, it wasn’t good enough,” Bostic said. “We came out with an L. We’ve got to get better. Next time, we’ve got to make sure we didn’t make the same mistakes we made today.”
The Bears simply popped a headset into Bostic’s helmet when Briggs came out. Only one defensive player can have a headset in his helmet, the same rule that applies for the offense.