Chicago Sun-Times

Turner confident Cutler will have playbook down by end of OTA's

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All eyes will be on Jay Cutler when the Bears begin the next phase of the offseason program with OTA's on Wednesday at Halas Hall.

It is the first of 14 scheduled OTA's (organized team activities) that will carry through mid-June before a six-week break leading into training camp. Offensive coordinator Ron Turner expects Cutler to have nearly all of the playbook down before his summer break. That means when the team reaches Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill., it will be refining most things on the field, not learning them.

"He'll have almost all of it,'' Turner said. ``It will not hold us back at all when we get to training camp. He'll have already gotten nearly everything. Once you get in the season you always add things by game plan and all that but as far as the basics of the playbook, it will all be in.''

Turner went back to the very basics with Cutler after he was acquired on April 2. They began drilling almost daily at Halas Hall. Some days they watched game tape to see how Turner likes to call plays in the flow of the game and what the thought process was behind the decisions. Sometimes they watched situational cut-ups. For instance, they would devote two hours to reviewing all of the pressures they saw in a certain formation. Turner sought feedback from Cutler and found there was quite a bit of carryover to what the quarterback brought with him from Denver.

"As far as how we adjust protections and concepts and things like that,'' Turner said, ``There were some similarities. It's not like we're going from German to Spanish.''

Turner has been putting Cutler on the board a lot, having him draw up formations and plays. Then they talk about how to attack certain coverages from that call. Combine that with the work Cutler has already done on the field with his receivers in terms of timing and chemistry, and he's come a long way already.

"Jay is very sharp,'' Turner said. "He's picking it up very well. We've got a lot of work done."

Later this afternoon: Should the Bears pursue a veteran backup quarterback or not?

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"Should the Bears pursue a veteran backup quarterback?"

A team should always be looking for everything. The issue is how much priority to give to a particular position. Right now, the Bears have more urgent needs than a backup QB, such as wide receiver, pass rushing defensive end, free safety, backup nose tackle, and guard. The Bears should make more of an effort to pursue those players than a backup. QB. Remember, before the trade, Orton was the starter and the backups were the same as they are now.

No need to do a piece on a veteran backup- Hanie's got a full year of prep under his belt. We're good to go. Besides, I think, while no one wants to see Cutler hurt, we all wanna see Hanie on the field to see what he's got.

Question: Will the rookies be on the field for OTA's? Do they need to sign a contract first or are they only limited by their school situation?

"Later this afternoon: Should the Bears pursue a veteran backup quarterback or not?"

I think that question is "Are you confident with Hanie running your team for a full season?"

Because if we stick with what we have, and something happens to Jay, that is what we will have to do.

I say grab a veteran, keep Hanie, carry three QBs, if you really like Basanez, practice squad him.

I think you guys are way too quick to jump to the conclusion that Hanie will win the back-up quarterback spot. Brett Basanez will certainly add great competition there, and he may very well beat out Caleb so let's keep that in mind before we crown Hanie our back-up, we atleast owe both QB's that opportunity. I don't think that there is a veteran QB out there right now who could add more value than Hanie and Basanez will bring. I like the gleam in the eye look that both quarterbacks bring with them, and if either were forced to step in I think they would be solid contributors, and definitly worth developing as we go forward.

I'm not opposed to bringing in a veteran to provide competition for Hanie. I hope Caleb wins the backup job. However, I would like to know for sure that Hanie is the best option (heaven forbid) something would happen to Cutler.

The only thing I worry about with Bears fans since I have been one for a hell of a long time, is that Bears fans seem to always like the #2 QB better than the number one and that is why they always seem to boo the #1.

If Cutler does not come in and play lights out right out of the box, I truly hope that the Bears fans will give him some time to show what he can do and not start booing him by mid season if he is not playing at peak performance.

Let us remember that the WR's are young, Cutler may throw some interceptions due to a WR cutting out instead of cutting in or due to the intended receiver not being in the location they are supposed to be when the ball is thrown. Timing and creating routine where the WR's and the QB are completely on the same page does make a huge difference and the offense passing efficiency may not start to really come on until midseason when Cutler and the receivers become familiar with each other.

As far as signing a veteran QB, my feeling is that we dance with the one that brung us and that would be Caleb Hannie and Besanez. I am sure a retread QB or two would be available as backup emergency should the starter go down and either Caleb or Basanez become the new starter.

Now that Favre is looking to go to the Queens this could be a very interesting year in the Norris division. And even though I watch every game with the Bears I will make sure that I Tivo the Green Bay vs Queens game when they play at Rush Limbaugh field.

I hope Favre kicks their ars and that Thompson the GM is changing his diapers by halftime. And when Favre plays Chicago I hope that he throws at least a couple of pick six in the games both in Chicago and Sota.

I want the season to start today.

I agree with Bill about not crowning Hanie. Sure, he looked good in a couple preseason games- but that was against backups and players that are now out of the league. Let's see what he does against starting NFL talent before assuming that carries over. We should also grab a veteran like Grossman as insurance.

I love all this Jay Cutler talk!!!!!! Man, I am in heaven!!! NO MORE ORTON!!!!.......ORTON SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!

The thing i wounder is if Ron Tuner will have the playbook down by OTA's. :)


Sweet Christ, am I just kidding.


Sometimes it's hard for an average fan to understand this stuff. On one hand you have a story like this saying that the new QB has the playbook down within a couple MONTHS during the offseason. Then we are talkinig about maybe bringing Grossman back because he was here 6 YEARS and finally had the offense down. I once heard Holmgren quoted as saying it was 5 or 6 years before he started to feel Hasselbeck had "it" in their system.

Flacco, Ryan, and Big Ben play pretty well and go deep into the playoffs their rookie years. It takes Eli, who you have to believe had QB101 with mama's milk, about 3 or 4 years to do much more than keep from tripping over yard markers.

You have to figure Cutler will take at least half of a season to start clicking in the Bears offense. But, now Turner says he has the playbook down before the OTAs start.

I guess it's all part of the fun, but it sure is confusing. You don't know whether to think about it as molecular biology or as "Jack and Jill fell down the Hill."

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on May 18, 2009 11:40 AM.

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