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Columnist
Real Bears story is in the trenches
By Barry Rozner | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 7/31/2009 12:00 AM

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If you believe everything you hear about Jay Cutler, he'll throw for 5,000 yards and 50 TDs this year.

That's not asking too much, is it?

And while the hype for Cutler is off the charts, the success or failure of the 2009 Bears season - just like the 2008 season - will be much more about the team's questionable offensive and defensive lines than about the quarterback position.

There's no doubting Jay Cutler's physical ability, and that he's an upgrade at the position. He's also capable of making plays no Bears quarterback has made in decades.

But like Kyle Orton before him, if the Bears' lines don't perform, Cutler won't be able to prevent the Bears from losing as many games as they win this year.

Now keep in mind that GM Jerry Angelo said when they acquired the QB that Cutler has to prove he can work and play well with others.

There's already some question about whether he can do that here in Chicago, but it matters not a bit if anyone on the defense likes him.

It matters a lot that his offensive linemen and running backs, the men paid to protect him, like him.

Assuming he can get along, and assuming Cutler learns to force the football less than he did in Denver and thinks more about winning than being a hero, he'll throw it less frequently to the opposition, more to his own teammates, and he should have a very good career here.

That said, he won't win if he's flat on his back, or if the Bears' defense can't put the opposing QB on his back. Or stop the run. Or get off the field.

So while the 24-7 coverage of Cutler has already begun with the traditional carrying of TVs to the dorm rooms, lost in the hysterics are the issues on the O-line, at receiver, on the D-line, at linebacker, at safety and at corner.

The Bears, like nearly every NFL team, have more holes and questions than they have strengths and answers.

The excitement of a new QB always turns Chicago on its ear, but the reality is the Bears still have to run the ball and stop the run, protect the QB and get to the opposing QB.

Jay Cutler will do his job and he will earn his money.

The concern should be over Tommie Harris and Brian Urlacher, and whether they can do their jobs and earn their ridiculous salaries.

If they again can't, it seems unfair to ask even a superhuman quarterback to save them.

The PED list

Ozzie Guillen said again Thursday that he wants the steroid list out in its entirety and is sick of hearing one name at a time, and having to comment on it each and every time.

Everyone, it seems, wants Bud Selig to do something about it, but here's a rare defense of Selig.

That list was of sample testing and was supposed to remain confidential in a legal agreement with the players union, and the last thing Selig can possibly do is get caught up in any scandal involving the list, or do anything to get the full list released.

In the meantime, said the Yanks' Derek Jeter, "You wish the questions were about Mark Buehrle throwing all those (perfect) innings, and how we've got to face him (this weekend), or pennant races, or the trade deadline. Instead, we're talking about this again.''

Wild thoughts

Not only are the Cubs back fighting for the division lead, they've also jumped into the battle for the wild card, having leapfrogged four teams since the all-star break and are right with the Giants, who've had the top spot for some time.

That's big because there's certainly no clear favorite for the wild card with two months left to play.

Interesting name

He may not move before Friday's deadline, but Oakland starter/reliever Justin Duchscherer will return soon from elbow and back injuries and if healthy could offer a lot to either the White Sox or Cubs.

Rumor mill

Craziest gossip of the day had the White Sox acquiring Toronto starter Roy Halladay and center fielder Vernon Wells for a package including half the population of Bridgeport, but not including Gordon Beckham.

Rumor mill II

The most wishful thinking of the day had the Cubs scooping up Indians switch-hitting catcher/first baseman Victor Martinez, but the problem again is the $2 million remaining on his contract this year, and the $7 million club option for next year.

If you had an actual owner, he could approve the 2010 money and it would make what you give up for Martinez worth the price.

Foregone conclusion

Brett Favre will play in the NFL in 2009, despite what he says today.

Just disgraceful

Why does Bud Selig allow the Pittsburgh Pirates to remain in business, if their sole purpose is to stock the rosters of genuine major-league teams?

And finally...

E-mailer Bob K.: "If it's true that it took four players to restrain Brian Urlacher from going after Jay Cutler, that's great news. The past couple years it's generally taken only one guy to keep No. 54 off any QB.''

brozner@dailyherald.com