If Mike Glennon and Victor Cruz can re-create this, even once, there will be much cheering at Soldier Field:
— NFL (@NFL) May 25, 2017
Thursday’s Getting To Know piece on Cruz really refreshed my memory of how explosive he was as a receiver … and how quickly things fell apart after the injury(ies). Even still, signing Cruz is a short-term, low-cost risk on a player who had previous success and is looking to rebound. It’s hard to argue Cruz’s choice, especially when looking at the Bears’ depth at the position. Hopefully, Cruz and the Bears get what they want out of the deal.
- If Cruz can find himself on the receiving end of a Mike Glennon deep ball this season, we could see a benefit of the NFL relaxing its rules on celebration. Go nuts with the salsa, Victor. However, Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times points out signing Cruz is more about seasoning than spice. Cruz, who turns 31 in November, is the oldest of the Bears’ receivers and could be the kind of player who can provide some leadership to a young position group. The Bears have six receivers who will play in their age 25 season or younger currently in camp.
- Over at Pro Football Weekly, Kevin Fishbain sheds some light on where Cruz can play in 2017 if he can get through training camp healthy. Fishbain sees Cruz’s future in the slot, a position where there isn’t much experienced competition. Fellow free agent signee Kendall Wright could be Cruz’s top competition, but Wright showed flashes of being a capable pass catcher on the outside at times in Tennessee. Wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni told Fishbain the slot receiver position is a work in progress, so this could be one of those positions to keep an eye on when training camp opens up.
- So why did Cruz pick the Bears over his other suitors? Cruz made it clear that he was feeling the love from the Bears, telling Art Stapleton of The Bergen (N.J.) Record: “There wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t get a text from someone there. I definitely felt the love, and I’m excited to have another opportunity to write the next chapter for me in the NFL.”
- Credit the Bears for being persistent when Cruz could have possibly picked a more familiar fit with the Jacksonville Jaguars, where his former head coach Tom Coughlin is running football operations, or the Carolina Panthers, a team a year removed from a Super Bowl appearance with a MVP-winning quarterback. And for what it’s worth, it looks like Cruz is really looking forward to this opportunity, telling The Record: “I think that was the biggest thing – after my workout, the staff asked me what I was looking for in a football team, and what I said was, I wanna play. I want the opportunity to play and perform and be someone that’s dependable and accountable for Mike Glennon to throw to, and for this team to look up to and expect nothing but good things. They agreed and here we are, I guess.”
- On the other hand, Cruz believes it was made clear that the New York Giants didn’t want him. Cruz hinted at the Giants sabotaging his season (a claim he would deny in a later tweet) by calling his number less down the stretch … thus, making it easier for the team to cut ties with the once-popular receiver. Cruz told the Breakfast Club radio show: “Half the year I’m balling and then the other half I’m not getting the ball. You’re just like ‘What’s going on?’ I’m like OK. I see what’s happening. They don’t want me here anymore. Because granted, and a lot of people probably don’t know this, but let’s say I play well, I’m a 1,000-yard receiver last year, it would have been more difficult from a fan perspective to cut me.” You can check out the entire interview here and judge for yourself.
- To that end, head coach Ben McAdoo addressed the issue, denying Cruz’s conspiracy claims.
- At least Cruz will see one familiar face when coming to Chicago:
— Prince Amukamara (@PrinceAmukamara) May 25, 2017
- As for the quarterback (most likely) to be throwing Cruz the ball this year, Lorin Cox has some interesting tidbits on Mike Glennon over at Pro Football Focus. During the two year stretch where he was a starter, Glennon led the league in percentage of passing yards through the air, which means he had the most production of his passes come without the help of his receivers making plays after the catch. Glennon has shown the ability to throw a successful deep ball, while Cameron Meredith was one of the best receivers at hauling them in.
- The Bears will open the 2017 season against the Atlanta Falcons, but will do so at Soldier Field. But if you were worried about the new home of the defending NFC Champions not being ready when the season starts, Falcons CEO Rich McKay assures the project will be finished by late August.
- Have you seen the opening week schedule for the college football season? If not, you should. It could give you a head start on checking out some of college football’s best prospects who could be on the Bears’ 2018 draft board.
- Aside from the PED suspension that cost him four games, linebacker Jerrell Freeman was really good in his first season with the Bears. He was one of four former undrafted free agents to receive a grade of 90 or better from Pro Football Focus. Freeman is in good company here:
Started from the bottom now they're here ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/xwt9lUd93D
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) May 25, 2017