- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner56 mins ago
At age 31, Jay Cutler is experiencing something new. He had never been benched before.
With the news that the Chicago Bears replaced him as their starting quarterback for Jimmy Clausen, he has the same questions about his future with the team that everyone else has had.
“Yeah, of course. Everyone would wonder that,” Cutler said in a press conference Thursday that was broadcast on NFL Network. “That’s the natural response to wonder that. Going forward, it is what it is. Whatever happens at that point after the season, in March or whenever, we’ll cross that when we get there.”
The Bears’ offseason will be interesting, to say the least. It's safe to say that some major changes will be coming, whatever they are.
Cutler was shocked to hear he was being benched, then he was disappointed, he said. But he understood it. His $126 million contract he signed this past offseason raised the bar for his play, and he didn’t reach it.Sun, Dec 2110:00 AM PSTDetroit at ChicagoPreview Game
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner3 hrs ago
The NFL has changed in many ways. For the better, in many ways. For the worse in terms of player nicknames.
Where have all the nicknames gone? Mean Joe and Papa Bear would be so disappointed.
How has it happened that Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers and Tony Romo have gone this long without a recognizable and good nickname? (As an aside, I’m quite disappointed “Breesus” never took off. It should have been a classic.)
There aren’t many nicknames that ring out for the current players. The type of nicknames that are interchangeable with the players’ names are hard to come by lately. And no, shortening a guy’s name isn’t good enough. Sorry, Gronk.
But there are a few. How about running down some of the great NFL nicknames, from the present and then the past? In no particular order …
Fine, I lied. This one is in the correct order. It’s the best nickname in football, maybe the best in sports. With one word, you know who I’m talking about. And it fits.
When Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson were teammates on the Detroit Lions, Williams gave Johnson the name based on the “Transformers” character.
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner5 hrs ago
This season hasn't exactly been a memorable one for Michael Vick, but then you could say that about pretty much anybody who's quarterbacked for the New York Jets for the last four decades. Vick's on a one-year deal with New York, and so it's no surprise that he might be looking elsewhere.
At the top of his list? None other than the Washington Redskins.
"That's home," Vick said, while "beaming like a child," according to Newsday. "That's home for me. Don't get me excited. Don't get me excited."
The idea of Vick playing for Daniel Snyder in the chaos that is Washington is sheer perfection. But on an on-field level, Vick might do well from a reunion with his old Philadelphia teammate DeSean Jackson.Sat, Dec 201:30 PM PSTPhiladelphia at WashingtonPreview Game
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner6 hrs ago
Troy Aikman retired from the Cowboys in 2000, but hevery nearly returned to the field as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Aikman, a longtime commentator for Fox Sports, told sports station KESN this week that years after he retired, he received a call from then-Eagles head coach Andy Reid after Donovan McNabb went down with an injury. This call happened to come in the middle of a game Aikman was calling in San Diego. (Aikman recalled it as 2003, but it was actually 2002.)
As Aikman recalled, he walked out onto the concourse at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego to get cell service, and had the strange conversation with Reid about coming out of retirement to replace McNabb, who'd gone down with a broken leg. Aikman promised to think on it, and he did, consulting with friends and former coach Norv Turner.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner6 hrs ago
If the Chicago Bears were willing to bench Jay Cutler for Jimmy Clausen, it seems like anything is on the table for the franchise and Cutler going forward.
The Bears made a mistake signing Cutler to a massive contract last offseason, and now they might try to get out from that error by trading him. The good news for the Bears is there are always general managers and coaches in the NFL on the hot seat, willing to make a bad move in a self-serving attempt to save their jobs. If Cutler doesn’t work out in 2015, it won’t be their problem in 2016 anyway.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner21 hrs ago
The Chicago Bears made a heck of a statement this offseason. They gave quarterback Jay Cutler a $126 million contract.
The team was telling everyone that even though Cutler was a mediocre quarterback for eight years, the ninth would be different. He would be paid like he was on the same level as the game's best quarterbacks. And now, 14 games later, they’re benching Cutler for Jimmy Clausen.
ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter reported the news. It’s a stunning move by a team that is falling apart at the seams through constant backbiting, both public and private. The Bears have lost three in a row, there are reports that coach Marc Trestman will be fired, and now the team is starting Clausen (three touchdowns, nine interceptions in his NFL career) over the man they paid like one of the best quarterbacks in football less than a year ago.
Mistakes? Oh, there have been a few.
- Kristian Dyer at Shutdown Corner22 hrs ago
An NFL fan embracing the passion for his team on a holiday card is nothing new. But for New York Jets fan Rich Nagle, his holiday card is hoping for coal in the stocking of the team's general manager.
In recent weeks, second-year general manager John Idzik has come under intense scrutiny from Jets fans, tired of the step backwards from their 3-11 team. There is a website, FireJohnIdzik.com, whose domain name leaves nothing to the imagination. There are billboards asking for his firing by owner Woody Johnson, and a planned protest for this weekend's home finale against the New England Patriots.
And now, the "Season of Giving" has Jets fans wanting to give him a new job. Nagle, a Jets fan in north Jersey, has included the "Fire Idzik" movement into his seasonal spirit, turning the family's Christmas card into another call to fire the team's GM.Sun, Dec 2110:00 AM PSTNew England at NY JetsPreview Game
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner23 hrs ago
Prison will always define Michael Vick. But in a very tangible way, he's almost shed one of the heaviest burdens of his days behind bars: an $18 million debt.
Vick's career out of prison, six seasons, is now as long as his career before it. But as ESPN's Darren Rovell notes, much of the second half of Vick's career, which is now in low gear in New York, has been spent paying off a $17.8 million debt to creditors. Vick declared bankruptcy while in prison on federal dogfighting charges in July 2008.
Vick has spent the last five years on a budget in an effort to pay back creditors. Vick had to pay back the Atlanta Falcons $6.5 million in salary, among many others.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner23 hrs ago
A few things happened in Week 15 that caused us to reshuffle our playoff projections.
Here's how the playoff field looks right now entering Week 16 of the NFL season, with the Arizona Cardinals still sitting atop the NFC field with home-field advantage and the Super Bowl being played on their home turf.
However, with the Cardinals' shaky quarterback situation (and injuries elsewhere), we're projecting a new team landing the coveted top seed — the Seattle Seahawks — in advance of their meeting with the Cards this weekend.
Losses by the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles and victories by the Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints also tilted those respective divisional races and the wildcard picture. One double-digit team will miss the field entirely, and right now it's the Eagles on the outside looking in.
With that in mind, here's how the first-round matchups could end up looking if our projections are accurate.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner1 day ago
The Chicago Bears have become a joke. Football teams that have become jokes illicit jokes from the people who watch them.
But there's a line of taste and standards, too, and one Chicago broadcaster certainly crossed it.
After the Bears lost to the New Orleans Saints, deeping their nightmare of a season, WLS-TV sports anchor Mark Giangreco spoke over while a sixth-grade pun of a chyron headline — "Cut him or cut your wrists" — ran next to a picture of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, who has drawn the continued ire of Bears fans after another slew of turnovers in the loss.
Suicide-prevention advocates likely didn't see the gallows humor in the caption.
After a strong negative response to it, Giangreco issued an apology, via mediabistro.com.
“My remarks were inappropriate, and I deeply regret and apologize for this incident. I will be issuing an on-air apology in [Wednesday] evening’s newscast,” Giancreco said.