Chicago Sun-Times

Catching on? Bears put Cutler's hot fastballs on the ground in 1st OTA

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pisa520.jpg

Jay Cutler had one pitch on Wednesday at Halas Hall and it will still get some work to get used to apparently.

While the world coming out of Halas Hall the past few weeks has been that the wide receivers have been catching everything in sight, that wasn't the case at the first OTA of the offseason as passes were routinely dropped. Yes, Cutler's fastball arrives with more heat than what the Bears are accustomed to seeing, but it's not like this workout was the first time the team has been around him. If there are push-ups to be done for the drops, the Bears will have a strong group of wide receivers soon.

"It takes a little time to adjust,'' offensive coordinator Ron Turner said. "They know they better get their head around and get their hands up because that ball's going to be there."

Overall, the energy level was high with a lot more excitement than the team had say in March at the mandatory minicamp. Most of Cutler's work was done underneath and he said it was good to work against defensive players. Plenty of national media came in for the unveiling of Cutler and all of the focus was on him.

"No, no, not yet,'' Cutler said when asked if it's his team now. "This is a defensive-kind of run team with Brian [Urlacher] and Lance [Briggs] and some of those guys and Olin [Kreutz] offensively. That's going to come in time. You can't rush things like that. You've got to kind of take things in stride and get guys to trust you and have confidence in you and hopefully by Game 1 they're all behind me."

A few notes:

*** Pisa Tinoisamoa, pictured above watching practice today by the Sun-Times' Al Podgorski, visited with plenty of coaches and players alike during practice before going into meetings with coaches and front office personnel after practice. He will be given a physical during his visit.

*** Josh Beekman worked with the starters at left guard but acknowledged he's in a full-fledged competition with Frank Omiyale for the starting job.

*** Craig Steltz lined up with the starters at free safety and Kevin Payne was next to him at strong safety. Ultimately, Steltz will probably push Payne for the starting job.

*** Brandon Rideau got time with the first team at wide receiver.

*** Undrafted rookie free agent cornerback Woodny Turenne made a couple nice plays on the ball.

*** Israel Idonije is going back to defensive end but with Tommie Harris (knee) and Marcus Harrison (knee) sidelined, he filled in at tackle. Expect Idonije to be able to rotate during the season also.

*** Cornerback Charles Tillman did work on the side as he continues to recover from shoulder surgery in January.

*** Jamar Williams made a nice jumping interception of Caleb Hanie in the middle of the field. It was the catch of the day.

*** We got a good question about linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer's production during the 2007 season earlier and we're going to address it later on this afternoon. Check back for it as well as more. Four Down Territory will be delivered Thursday. Get your questions in.

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18 Comments

Honestly, I used to go to the Trib for most of my bear news, but now I'm coming here everyday as well - you guys really got it together. Thanks for the updates, I can't be the only obsessed fan checking your site multiple times a day . . .

Brad - Can we get some perspective put on "passes were routinely dropped"?

Daily Herald published "Through the first 50 minutes of the Bears' first OTA practice Wednesday, Cutler threw several dozen passes, and the football hit the ground just one time, when Rashied Davis dropped an accurate pass on an intermediate route. Toward the end of the first session, however, wide receivers were working one-on-one against cornerbacks, and Cutler was flawless."

So who was dropping balls, and how often? Can you put numbers or percentages to it? You do great work on here, but I always like to call attention to conflicting reports. Thanks again.

Fair enough, thanks for the quick reply and the constant updates! My guess at this point is that things started smoothly, because I doubt the Herald reported "falsely" but that things didn't stay perfect as the day went on.

While not exactly what I wanted to hear, I will take it from OTA #1, and hope the group looks better as the months move on.

Thanks again, keep it up!

Any word on Chris Williams? Also how did Iggy look out there? thanks.

How comical. I can just picture seeing Cutler firing tight spirals to receivers he has locked onto just to see one ball after another dropped. How embarassing. How humiliating for this crop of receivers. I would have expected it from Rashied Davis, but not the rest of them. I know it's just a bad day and things will substantially improve, but it cracks me up picturing what happened. I wonder if after the 3rd drop one could hear a pin drop...and the sound of nothing else but a football bouncing away after it hit the ground.

I hope JA doesn't turn out to be like Mr. Brady in the Brady Bunch movie when Mike Brady repeatedly makes his architectural presentations to prospective buyers, and each presentation was a spinoff of the original Brady House. Like each presentation of a wide receiver is a spin off of Rashied Davis. Can't you hear JA? Ya know Jay, I have an idea of what you're looking for in a receiver...then they have an OTA like todays.

I would really like to know how Brandon Rideau looked if you get a chance to give me a little more info.

"*** Brandon Rideau got time with the first team at wide receiver."

I have always been a strong supporter of Rideau, and believe that the only reason he hasn't stuck to our roster is his lack of ability/willingness to play on Special Teams. I think he is a talented receiver (granted based on limited pre-season workouts and games against 2nd-3rd string defenses) and has size over most of our other wide out candidates.

Yes, I'm with Brendan. Can you tell us more about Rideau? kid is sick and deserves to play. Also please tell us more about Chris Williams if you can. thanks

I don't know why 24/7's comment about the Brady house comparison to Angelo receivers struck me as so funny. Probably because of its deranged subtlety. I also remember the Monty Python "architect" skit where the costumers are taken down the corridors into the rotating knives...

So this Cutler guy apparently has a strong arm, It seems like it is a good thing that Angelo drafted 3 receivers. Hopefully one of them will "stick".

I notice that Iglesias is not on the dropsy list.

Clown,
Neither was Bennett, which is a pretty good sign...It is a whole new ball game as far as speed of the ball. Not many of these guys have ever fielded passes from someone like Cutler. For example, Kinder played with Tyler Palko, who has about as strong an arm as Chad Pennington a week after his shoulder surgery. Bradford has a good arm, but nothing like what Cutler does, so Iglesias is going to have to adjust as well, but it looks like his rep as a guy who catches everything is well-deserved. I remember a story about Favre breaking fingers when he came over to the Packers as guys got used to the ball, and it will likely be similar with Cutler. The gloves they all wear should help, but they still need to get it into their heads that we are going to be a timing offense, and the ball will be there on time, so they need to be ready, or it will pass right by them. Orton had a strong arm, but certainly didn't put that kind of heat on the ball. Grossman has that kind of arm, but the ball was always later than it should have been, so the receiver could see it coming.

Hopefully today will be better, and tomorrow better than that. By the time training camp rolls around, we should be clicking on all cylinders, or we had better be looking to bring in someone who can catch

So we are all aware of the fact that Steltz is not a free safety, and shouldn't even be allowed to speak the words "free safety" in a sentence, so why is he running with the first team? We are in OTAs, where Hoke and Byrd can work with players who are new to the system, or changing positions (Graham, Bullocks, etc.). This is the time to evaluate players in "less vital" situations than in a game, where you can teach and correct mental errors, so they don't happen in camp.


Again, I have to call into question the "wisdom" of the coaching staff...If Steltz is a potential starter, we all know it won't be as a free safety, so why not put him second on the chart behind Payne, and let him push from there. Putting him as a starter at free safety causes two problems:

1) You retard Steltz's growth as a strong safety, by making him learn the other safety spot. In our defense, not as big of an issue because the safeties are largely interchangeable depending on the look, but the mindset is different
2) You prevent free safety candidates on the roster from getting valuable experience, so when Steltz moves back to his natural spot, someone can move in and know what to do, and have some time working with the starting D.

It's like a shadetree mechanic's approach to football coaching. Just keep changing parts, and hope you get the one that fixes the problem. If this was really a teaching staff, which we keep hearing, then they would determine who the best player was for a position, and then spend the time to coach them up and get them ready for game action. If you believe Corey Graham is the solution at free safety, get him on the field with the starters, and work with him.

I keep hearing that May doesn't matter, and in certain respects, I agree. But if you are making someone change positions, then that guy needs as much work as possible in live calls like the 7 on 7 or 11 on 11 drills, so he can get used to where he is supposed to be, and get to the point where it is reaction, not thought. I am probably getting too worked up over this, but it is enormously frustrating to see year after year pass without a solution to problem positions. Cutler finally solves the QB problem, but FS, WR, and DL continue to be an issue. Instead of thinking long term, we keep changing players' positions, hoping to catch lightning in a bottle. If you don't put 1st round picks in a spot, you have to assume it is going to take time to develop. Danieal Manning is a perfect example. Now that he is going into his second full year as a nickel back, he seems to be getting a lot better. But he also has attention from the coaching staff. If we had done the same thing with him as a FS, maybe it wouldn't be a problem position any more. Mark Anderson fizzled out completely after his rookie season, and Ogunleye and Brown have not taken any steps forward since 2006. Our best DT last year was Anthony Adams, who was a free agent signee from SF. Where is the coaching staff? Marinelli is the first legit D-line coach that we have brought into town in years. Maybe he can teach all of these guys something.

We continue to create opportunity to wedge a square peg into a round hole, rather than make a square peg into a round peg, or even better, find some round pegs....

`teaching staff' moments
where Url is taught to inch up to the line then race crazily back to defend the pass, (always too late huh Url?) but never too late to run into camera view as the players are laying on the ground.
or
The corners are taught to play off the line by 5 feet then race to try and catch a WR with a 5 ft. head start.
or
the WR are taught to run straight downfield and not look back for the ball (let the ball find them)
or
the dback is taught to lay so far back that the WR catches the ball in front of him and sets up the game winner
or
the vikings are taught how to defend the straight ahead run (oh wait..that one worked)...34-14
or
the dbacks (both) are taught to run away from Berrian and he catches/runs 99 yds for a TD, (like the db might catch him huh?)

ok anymore questions on why Coaches were dismissed?
except no questions on Babich, he is unquestionable

Yeah, Joe, if you watch Cutler in Denver he really puts the ball there, the WR have to be aware, but the man can throw can't he? and move! He will sure make our WR look silly on National TV if they act like last year. Good points about how they never saw that type of pass before, the Colts WR got used to Manning putting the ball in their hands, but Manning would yell blue murder in their face if they dropped a ball.

nfl vid on cutler/bears

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-network-total-access/09000d5d8106e63f/Cutler-takes-the-field

here's the drops on nfl network (this is a good one!)
http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-network-total-access/09000d5d8106e68f/Cutler-s-supporting-cast

Joe, the coaching staff comments right on!!

Randy, funny but come to think of those situations makes me throw up blood.

since this is Cutler:
watching Denver/Atlanta Cutler is our PROBOWL QB!!! Wow, he is good, but the broncs had a league leading 24 drops by that game and Cutler had the most passing yards for a bronc qb in franchise history by the 11 game!!! wow.uh can you say John Elway?

yeah, dahlilama, thanks, but we hope that those days are behind us now

yeah, 24 drops by that TALENTED group of wideouts, not every throw needs to be a bobby jenks circa 2005 fastball.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on May 20, 2009 2:49 PM.

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