Subscriber Q&A: Adam Caplan

Why wasn't Alex Brown traded instead of released? Can Marc Bulger be a backup to Jay Cutler? Is Mike Martz the difference on offense? Subscribers asked, and Scout.com's Adam Caplan answered.

Wavy77: Why didn't the Bears receive any trade offers for Alex Brown? Was it strictly because of his high salary, or did it have anything to do with how the Bears' front office played its cards?

Adam Caplan: He was making $5 million in base salary this season, so no team was willing to accept that number. I think teams saw Brown as a marginal starter at this point in his career, more of a rotational player.

34rocks: Do you see Marc Bulger in a Bears uniform, and is he worth that kind of money as a backup?

AC: It surprised me that they were willing to have Caleb Hanie as Jay Cutler's backup last season. It would have helped if they had an experienced backup that could have given him a rest when he started struggling.

Bulger really knows Mike Martz's system well but may still want to start, so that could deter the Bears from signing him. If he's willing to be a backup, Bulger could be in play after the draft.

bearsfan63: Speculate on the top few veteran players in the Bears' areas of need (guard, safety and cornerback) that might become available through release from other teams prior to the draft? Would the Bears consider trading draft choices for veterans in those areas of need?

AC: Most players that were vulnerable to being released or traded have moved on since free agency started. However, there are some players that are still out there that could help them.

Keydrick Vincent, a veteran interior offensive lineman, could certainly still start. He's known as a solid run blocker. Ken Hamlin, who was released recently, could really help the Bears at free safety. He may still want a little more than teams are willing to pay. The Bears could really use veteran cornerbacks such as Dre' Bly or Ken Lucas, who can both still start if needed.


RB Chester Taylor
Getty Images: Sam Greenwood

seaters: How would you rate the Bears' offseason free-agency moves so far as they compare to the other teams in the division?

AC: I thought they came out of the gate aggressively on March 5 and attacked some needs.

For whatever reason, Matt Forte's performance last year really regressed, so it was becoming obvious that they had to have someone come in and provide insurance. Chester Taylor can handle any role that he's given. He can start if needed. Brandon Manumaleuna is essentially like a third offensive tackle. He really should help their running game. Julius Peppers is the grand prize of free agency. Peppers can line up on either side of the defensive line and wreak havoc on any offense when he brings his "A" game. He also could see time inside, where he'll have a step on slower interior offensive linemen.

sanbear: We all can agree that the Bears offense has stumbled the last few years under Ron Turner. My perception is that there was a lack of commitment to the run and too much dependence upon our new strong-armed QB. Now we have Mike Martz. Assuming Jay Cutler will have better protection – let's just put that aside – can you allay my fears that Martz will take this team in the wrong direction even further with a pass-happy offense that puts even more pressure on a QB that led the world in interceptions last year?

AC: They must have some semblance of balance on offense in order to keep Cutler on the right track. With the 49ers, Martz was willing to run the ball. That wasn't the problem there. Martz is one of the better quarterback coaches in the NFL, so expect Cutler to get on the right path mentally. Martz commands total respect from all of his players.

The real issue is for the receivers is to handle the revamped scheme. Martz uses sight adjustments, not audibles. Sight adjustments are done by what kind of coverage the quarterbacks and receivers see, and they adjust plays off that.


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John Crist is the publisher of BearReport.com. Adam Caplan is the senior NFL reporter for Scout.com.


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