Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Jay Cutler is on the Clock

I've been very quiet lately. Work’s been busy. I've been spending time outside. I just haven’t been spending as much time sitting on the computer. Anyway, I thought I’d do another Chicago Bears post to get me started again.

If you've read my posts on the Bears before, you probably know that I’m a fan of Jay Cutler. I’m not his #1 fan or anything, but I have a lot of respect for him. I chose the picture above to illustrate a point. Jay Cutler is the best QB the Bears have seen in a long time, but there has been entirely too much of what you see above happening. Some of it is Jay’s fault for holding onto the ball too long and trying to make a play out of nothing. Most of it is the organization’s fault for having been too much in the “getting off the bus running” mindset for far too long.

The days of the QB who is simply a game manager who can simply hand the ball off to the running back are long gone (well…except maybe for Minnesota). Cutler has been in Chicago since 2009 and this is the first year that the Bears have truly decided to surround him with the supporting cast that a successful quarterback needs to have. Getting Brandon Marshall last year was a great move, but with the injuries that plagued the rest of the receivers last year. Defense against the Bears was simple. Over-cover Marshall, then squish Cutler when he had nowhere to throw the ball. Now he has the makings of a good offensive line to protect him, and a play caller who knows something about calling plays. From what I saw, Mike Tice was able to put together a reasonable o-line for what he had to work with, but a good play caller he was not. Now we’ve got a guy who is supposed to be a real whiz kid when it comes to play calling and from what I’ve seen from OTAs, the plan is to nip the sack count in the bud.

Now to get back to the title of the post and my long and meandering point. Assuming the line performs like it’s supposed to and Mark Trestman has a reasonable game plan in his head, Jay Cutler is out of excuses. As I’ve said before, I’m firmly in the camp who believes that those excuses up to this point have been legitimate. I imagine it’s hard to look like a great QB when you’re getting knocked on your ass every other play. However, if he doesn’t have a stellar year this year, Jay Cutler will have no one to point the finger at but the guy in the mirror.

That said, I think the combination of the surrounding cast and the last year of Jay’s contract will add up to one heck of an offense this year. With Alshon Jeffery coming in with a little more experience under his belt, a tight end who can actually catch a ball, and someone who understands that “run Matt Forte up the middle” doesn’t actually work, I’m excited to see what the Bears offense can do this year.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Music Monday: Special Star Trek Edition

A year ago I started a weekly feature to share some of the music I enjoy. It fizzled out by the end of the summer, but I thought it was time to bring it back, if only for a single post. A "One Night Afternoon Only" special event.

What's the occasion?

If you're a regular reader, you already know I recently had a birthday. And while I didn't get my laptop back from Staples like I was hoping (it's been WELL over a month now... c'mon, guys, get it together!), I did get some actual presents, including two CDs from Pat (yes, I still listen to CDs, now get off my lawn) -- the soundtracks for Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness.

I know I've already mentioned that the music is one of my favorite things about the Star Trek reboot, so you can imagine how excited I was to get these. And I figured what better occasion to bring back Music Monday.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Happy Blogiversary to Amy!

Today is the second blogiversary of one of my favorite bloggers, Amy at Lucy's Football. Her past week of posts have been an epic countdown to this moment, filled with the "Best of Lucy's Football" (according to the masses anyway; there are many wonderful posts that didn't make the Top 7) and other bloggery goodness.

For me, it's been just over a year since I first stumbled across her blog, and probably just under a year since I started reading it regularly. And Amy is one of those people who I love having in my life (if only virtually) because she is so passionate about what she loves. Sometimes it's books, a lot of times it's people, but the one that really jumps out at me is her love of the theater.

Now, I am not a theater-lover. I'm not a theater-hater, and I like to think I have a greater appreciation of the arts in general than a lot of people do, but theater just isn't one I've ever been really passionate about. But the way she feels about theater is the way that I feel about music, and the fact that it's such a huge part of her life... well, it makes me nostalgic and more than a little sad, because I haven't made the effort these past seven years (oh God, has it really been that long since I graduated college?) to keep music in my life. Last summer I decided I was going to join the Dubuque Chorale so I could sing again, and then my social anxiety got in the way and I chickened out. I keep wanting to go to the Dubuque Symphony, but they only have a few concerts a year and I'm always either out of town that weekend or forget until it's too late.

But Amy makes me remember what having that passion in my life feels like, and her theater stories go a long way in keeping that dream alive in me rather than just letting it die.

So, Amy -- even though this got a little more self-centered than I'd intended -- here's to two years of blogging, and hopefully many more. The internet wouldn't be the same without you!

Saturday, June 8, 2013