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Five Bears questions with PFW publisher Hub Arkush

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Dan Parr

dparr@pfwmedia.com
Associate editor

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Posted Dec. 22, 2011 @ 4:11 p.m. ET
By Dan Parr

In this week's edition of "Five questions," PFW publisher/editor and Bears expert Hub Arkush shares his short list of candidates to succeed Jerry Angelo and Mike Martz if they do not return in 2012.

1. If Jerry Angelo does decide to retire after the season, or within the next year or so, who would you like to see the Bears pursue to be their next general manager?

Arkush: There is no question Angelo's succession plan was to give the job to Tim Ruskell, which I think would be a huge mistake. My first choice would be me, but I'll never be President of the U.S., either, and I've always kind of jonesed for that job, too. One of the hottest names out there right now is Packers director of football operations Reggie McKenzie, but he has been reluctant to move his family out of Green Bay. Nick Caserio and Floyd Reese in New England would be very interesting, as would Tom Gamble in San Francisco and Eric DeCosta in Baltimore.

2. Who do you think would be the best replacement for Mike Martz if he doesn't return in 2012?

Arkush: My first call would be to Jim Fassel, but I'm not sure how Lovie Smith's ego would handle that. Tom Clements in Green Bay would be next up and Joe Lombardi in New Orleans should get a call, as should the 49ers' Geep Chryst, who got his start in Chicago. I don't know a lot about these two, but I'd try to find out more about Mike Sullivan with the Giants and John Ramsdell in San Diego.

3. Have the past four games changed your opinion of how valuable Jay Cutler is to the Bears?

Arkush: Not really. I knew it was a flawed team prior to the Cutler injury, but the view right now is skewed as much by how bad Caleb Hanie is — which is something I have been predicting for three years now. The reality on Cutler is he had some excellent moments late last year and between Weeks Five and 10 this year, but as he nears the halfway point of his career, based strictly on the record and the stats, he's closer to being Jeff George than Brett Favre. I do think there is still great hope, as he seemed to work hard on being a better teammate and person this year, so 2012 will be pivotal for him.

4. Do you think Caleb Hanie has a future in the NFL?

Arkush: Not as a player. At no point since he made the Bears' roster four seasons ago due to a numbers game has there been any single skill, tangible or intangible, to suggest otherwise. He seems to be a great kid, but this is a tough business and the fact is he was a better-than-average quarterback on a bad college team and how often does that spell NFL QB? I have no idea what the Bears thought they saw or had.

5. Have you seen or heard anything that makes you think Corey Wootton will develop into an impact player?

Arkush: I loved him as a fourth-round pick out of Northwestern in 2010, but he's been a big disappointment ever since. Injuries have been a problem, but even when healthy he was a Sunday scratch a number of weeks during the middle of the season. Now that he's lined up the last few weeks, he's made a play here and there, but nothing to get excited about. Wootton is a great example of how huge the gap is between very good college players and middle-to-bottom of the roster guys in the NFL.

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