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?