The Monsters of the Midway added another quarterback to the mix Tuesday, but instead of it being an experienced veteran to compete for the job behind Jay Cutler, it's an inexperienced youngster just looking for a home.
The newest name under center is Mike Teel, who was a sixth-round choice of the Seahawks in the 2009 NFL Draft out of Rutgers. Teel will join Cutler, third-year pro Caleb Hanie and sixth rounder Dan LeFevour in Bourbonnais next week, but he shouldn't expect to get too many reps in training camp since even LeFevour was little more than an observer during minicamp and OTAs at Halas Hall. General manager Jerry Angelo expressed some interest in Teel leading up to the draft two Aprils ago, not to mention the fact that Chicago's new director of player personnel, Tim Ruskell, came from Seattle and is the one who chose Teel in the first place.
For an insider's perspective on Teel and what he might bring to the Midway Monsters at the game's most important position, BearReport.com consulted with Doug Farrar, the publisher of NorthwestFootball.net on the Scout.com network:
Strengths: For all the quarterbacks in the NFL that must overcome size, scheme, arm and intelligence deficits to make a go of things at the pro level, Teel has a nice, broad skill set. You wouldn't mistake his arm for Matthew Stafford's (or even Cutler's), but he has the gun to make repeatable throws in the seams and can unleash the kinds of bombs on 7- and 9-routes we'll expect to see in the Mike Martz offense. He's not chained to the shotgun formation, and he has a good feel for play action. He has a nice sense for throwing to zones and getting the ball to where his receiver will be.
Weaknesses: Teel doesn't seem to be a developed player when it comes to timing and progressing through his reads. He'll stare down his first option too often, which is a tendency that NFL defenses will exploit mercilessly. He's not terribly mobile, which would make him susceptible to the same minimized protection concepts inherent in any Martz offense. While his deep ball is better than decent, requiring longer throws of him consistently will alter his mechanics – he's not a natural bombardier.
Farrar Says: Teel reminds me a lot of Jonathan Crompton, the Tennessee quarterback who was undistinguished through most of his NCAA career until he turned on the jets right near the end. Crompton was drafted by the Chargers, which is an ideal situation for him. There are few better teachers for big, pro-style QBs than Norv Turner. For Teel, who really missed a shot at development by getting Greg Knapp instead of Mike Holmgren as his first NFL teacher, the switch to Martz couldn't be any more different. While Knapp prefers a zone and power-based offense that has generally been proven ineffective in a passing sense, Martz is one of the few people in the league that I'd trust to take any quarterback and build his mechanics for professional success.
Teel has the tools to be successful in the NFL. Maybe not at the level of fellow sixth-round picks Matt Hasselbeck, Marc Bulger and Tom Brady, but he was able to step things up and become the face of the Rutgers offense after Ray Rice left to energize the Ravens. I like his chances in the NFL, as long as he gets the right kind of development. I think he's now in a better place. The Seahawks let him go because they wanted more experienced backups behind Hasselbeck, but it isn't as if Charlie Whitehurst has proven more in his career as a preseason passer.
JC's Take: This move has Ruskell written all over it, as he must have seen something in Teel the first time around and still believes he has the ability to make it in the NFL as a passer one day.
Personally, I don't understand the addition, and that has little to do with whether or not I feel Teel has what it takes to get it done at the game's highest level. The reason LeFevour was largely ignored throughout the offseason program was Cutler and Hanie needed all the reps they could get if they were going to digest Martz's War and Peace-sized playbook, which is why the two of them split time almost equally at Halas Hall and LeFevour simply took those proverbial "mental reps" from the sideline. There is no reason to get LeFevour ready to play for the 2010 campaign because there is no way he'll see the field as a rookie, even if both Cutler and Hanie were to succumb to injury, so why bother with Teel even if only to be a "training camp arm"?
While Teel might very well be worth a spot on the practice squad this season, if his presence in Bourbonnais takes a few snaps away from either Cutler or Hanie, then the Bears are running the risk of not being fully prepared for Week 1.
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