Daily Herald
Really? QB not an issue? This can't be
By Mike Imrem | Daily Herald Columnist
Published: 4/22/2009 12:01 AM

The Bears conducted a media briefing Tuesday in advance of this weekend's NFL draft.

For a change, quarterback wasn't an issue. That's like breakfast suddenly not being an issue to the hungry or roofs not being an issue to the homeless.

Instead the questions at Halas Hall focused on wide receiver, defensive tackle, safety - everything but quarterback.

Don't you want to just hug Jerry Angelo for that?

If the Bears' brand new quarterback is indeed King Cutler, their same old general manager is Kingmaker Angelo.

It isn't even that Jay Cutler could become the Bears' best quarterback in 60 years.

Who knows? Judging by some reports, Cutler's head and heart still have to catch up with his arm and legs.

Are Cutler sightings at nightspots around town a concern? We'll see. As a Type 1 diabetic, is it a concern that he might be jeopardizing his healthy by drinking alcohol? We'll see.

At this point what really matters is Angelo actually went out of his way to get Cutler.

He was asked what it's like for him to finally have a quarterback like that.

"It's huge," he said. "There's a good chance you can go through your whole career and not have one."

Angelo pointed out that the last time he worked someplace with a franchise quarterback, it was with the Giants and Phil Simms back in the 1980s. That leaves a gap in his resume stretching from Tampa to Chicago.

Still, Angelo admitted not grasping that Bears fans had begun to think they could go through their entire lives without a franchise quarterback.

"I didn't understand it until after the fact," Angelo said.

Public response to the Cutler deal didn't exactly include parades, parties and champagne corks popping.

It was more like hopeful relief that the Bears finally might have a real quarterback after decades of Grossmans, Ortons and Krenzels, to say nothing of Huffs, Avellinies and Phippses.

For now there's no talk of creating competition at quarterback, of getting someone to manage the game, of needing to draft a Mark Sanchez, trade for a Donovan McNabb or sign a Jeff Garcia.

"I've been here, but I'm not a Chicagoan," Angelo said, conceding he didn't truly understand until recently the local angst over quarterback.

Then he joked about how he was led to believe that the game here was more about defense and running the football than about quarterback.

"I'm glad for the fans," Angelo said of Cutler's arrival. "Let's hope he plays close to expectations."

That won't be easy, folks.

As Angelo noted, "You have to consider the Chicago media and Chicago culture when you bring in a quarterback. I think (Cutler) has the mettle to come in and do the things we want him to do."

Among those things likely is overcome the boos if he gets off to a slow start, overthrows a receiver on third down or fails to execute a potentially winning two-minute drill

Regardless, Angelo said of having a quarterback like Cutler, "It's very, very hard (to find one). How many can you come up with (in the NFL), 10 that you feel good about?"

Angelo took a shot at getting one and, seriously, don't you just want to hug him for it?

mimrem@dailyherald.com