Shane Carden: An Intriguing Possibility for the Chicago Bears Offense

Chicago Bears rookie free-agent Shane Carden brings skills that could keep him in the running at the QB position

Chicago Bears rookie free-agent Shane Carden brings skills that could keep him in the running at the QB position
NCAA Football: East Carolina at South FloridaOct 11, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; East Carolina Pirates quarterback Shane Carden walks off the bus before facing the South Florida Bulls at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

CHICAGO (C+P) — It is no secret that Bears fans have been sorely disappointed in the play of Jay Cutler. In between fleeting moments of brilliance, Cutler threw a league-high 18 interceptions last year. No one doubts the power of Cutler’s arm, but it is clear to everyone (especially Bears fans) that Cutler makes poor decisions.

Enter Shane Carden. Signed by the Bears in early May after going undrafted, the former East Carolina Pirate is currently battling for one of the backup quarterback spots behind Cutler.

While scouts dinged Carden for his immobility and lack of arm strength, no one doubted his intelligence or accuracy. Scouts also complimented his work ethic, something that Bears fans have not seen much of from Cutler.

May 8, 2015; Lake Forest, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Shane Carden (15) during Chicago Bears rookie minicamp at Halas Hall. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
May 8, 2015; Lake Forest, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Shane Carden (15) during Chicago Bears rookie minicamp at Halas Hall. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

In a May interview, coach John Fox told ESPN that one of the reasons the Bears picked Carden up was due to his intelligence. “He is productive, smart,” the Bears coach praised.

Fox went on to say that Carden would do well in the pass-oriented offense, which would describe the Bears under John Fox. Throwing the ball an astounding 64.68 percent in 2014, the Bears finished second in pass attempts only to the Oakland Raiders.

While his arm strength and immobility are a concern, these can be improved upon with strength training and instruction. Developing these skills might not be easy, but with Carden’s work ethic, it ensures that he will at the very least make a sincere attempt to improve. It is much harder to teach intellect, a characteristic that Carden already possesses.

NFL teams have a history of turning undrafted free agents into Hall of Fame quarterbacks. Kurt Warner was an undrafted player out of Northern Iowa in 1994 that played for two seasons in the Arena League before having success with the Rams and Cardinals. Warren Moon was similarly undrafted in 1978 and ended up finishing career with a 58.4 percent completion percentage and 9 Pro Bowl appearances.

No one is saying that Carden is the future Kurt Warner or Warren Moon just yet. He still has to make the team and get a chance to play NFL football first. Still, he might represent the Bears best chance to turn around a sinking offense and give fans some hope at the quarterback position.

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