Commentary

Scouts Buzz: Crabtree is a special talent

Originally Published: November 16, 2009
By Matt Williamson | Scouts Inc.
After watching the Week 10 games, Scouts Inc. shares its 10 key observations:

1. It hasn't shown yet, but it soon will -- Crabtree could be special: San Francisco WR Michael Crabtree didn't have a big statistical night against the Bears, but he is a specimen. He attacks the ball in the air. Plus, he has exceptional body control and knows how to time his leap to snatch the football at its highest point with his big, strong hands. He is a very physical player overall and it really shows up when he's competing for the ball in the air, through his route and after the catch, when he instantly becomes like a running back with the ball in his hands. He sticks his foot in the ground and explodes out of his breaks, and he never looks out of balance. Crabtree is going to be a nightmare for opposing cornerbacks on slants and fades in particular, but this guy has the ability to excel with the entire route tree.

2. Jay Cutler throws interceptions, but the offensive line is a bigger worry: The Bears' offensive line has three new starters this year, and they just aren't good enough. The run blocking is atrocious, but Chicago wisely used a lot of screens and short passes on Thursday night to RB Matt Forte as an extension of the run game while mixing in intermediate routes to TE Greg Olsen. Say what you want about Cutler's penchant for throwing interceptions, but he is very quick to process information, get the ball out of his hands and throw on time -- all of which make Chicago's pass protection appear better than it really is. The Bears' inability to protect has eliminated much of the verticality from the passing attack, which is criminal. Plus, because of his amazing physical tools, Cutler can throw accurate laser beams even when his feet aren't set, and he is unafraid to hold the ball until the last second. Also, he buys time well with his feet and is a great improviser. In the offseason, the Bears need to find line help before anything else.

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