BOURBONNAIS, Ill.--Had a nice chat with Erik Kramer last week and we talked about the Bears' offense and Jay Cutler and the explosive offense he headed up back in 1995 in offensive coordinator Ron Turner's first stint with the organization.
Here is the entire conversation:
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON JAY CUTLER JOINING THE BEARS?
I went ahead and when Jay got traded to the Bears I went ahead and got film of every game he played last year. I've been watching it and as far as just his quarterbacking ability, the Bears have never had anybody close to him. That's as far as the things he can do on the field, the throws he can make, the way he moves around, he is a phenomenal athlete. He's a phenomenal athlete that is a great quarterback. There are not too many guys that move around the line of scrimmage at quarterback that are as good as he is as a quarterback. He's a true passer who happens to be an exceptional athlete.
ARE YOU STUDYING CUTLER JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE DOING THE PRESEASON BROADCASTS FOR FOX-32, OR IS IT FOR YOUR QUARTERBACK TRAINING?
Both. I train guys getting ready to come out of high school and train guys coming out of college, so I try to look at everything. In terms of the whole package, what you see on the field, to me he is as good as it gets. The one thing I would say is that his decision making sometimes could be a little bit better. Maybe that is something that comes through with age and experience. Part of it, I believe, is it's part of Jay's makeup. Guys that are that talented, I can only imagine what would be going through their head because I have never been that way. A guy like me had to rely on precise reads and placing the ball where it needed to be placed. A guy like Jay can get away with some throws where that is not necessarily the case. He can be a little late on some throws and still make them work. I would love to see Jay be a little more detailed in the way he reads things and be a little more disciplined in the way he moves from one receiver to the next. That's in looking at him on film, but I've got to tell you first that he is by far, he's in a present elite category. I can't think of a lot of guys out there who can do what he does. Now, I think the thing so far, when you look at Tom Brady and Peyton Manning and the guys that are in that group that have won Super Bowls, looking at them as quarterbacks, they're players that have supreme command of what they're doing out there. With Jay, it still remains to be seen but the Bears are working with an incredible piece of clay.
YOU GUYS HAD SOME REALLY NICE RECEIVERS, A COUPLE REALLY GOOD TARGETS IN JEFF GRAHAM AND CURTIS CONWAY. HOW WILL IT WORK FOR CUTLER BECAUSE HE DOESN'T HAVE A GRAHAM OR CONWAY RIGHT NOW WHEN YOU LOOK AT THIS TEAM?
He just came from a team with the three guys they had, Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal and Tony Sheffler, the tight end. I think any time your quarterback is as talented as Jay is, he is going to make other people around him better. That is just kind of a standard thing people say but I think it's true. He can make things happen that other guys can't make happen. He's a dual threat. He's fast. He gets away from a lot of rushes. He extends plays. He makes that pocket go from number to number, not hash to hash so he puts an extremely high amount of pressure on defense. The receivers are going to be better with him at quarterback than they would be with most any other quarterback. Obviously, you have to have the whole thing fit. This is a precise game, the more precise you are and the better he can trust his receivers, the better the whole thing is going to be. But what he has here that he didn't have in Denver was an exceptional running back. I don't know to the agree, but the tight ends he is working with are in that ballpark too. I think he is going to make the offensive line better and they have to find something out there at receiver that is going to work.
Here is what you have to have, you have to have somebody. If you look at Eddie Royal, Eddie Royal, all these guys do not go in the same category, Isaac Bruce, Jeff Graham, Eddie Royal, Bobby Engram, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, all those guys are smart and efficient and know how to use and know how to work against a DB at the top of the route and know how to get themselves in position because the most critical thing for a route runner is that his quarterback can read what he is about to do. And the only places that happens is at the line of scrimmage, so if you're in press coverage your guy has to get himself in a position where the quarterback can predict he is going to have a chance later on. Then, at the breaking point, the quarterback has got to be able to read what he is doing and trust him. You trust a guy if he is always in the right spot. Jeff Graham was always in the right spot. Bobby Engram was always in the right spot. They were incredible route runners. Rickey Proehl. Ricky and Bobby were more inside guys because they didn't have quite the speed and the size. There has got to be somebody over there that the defense has to pay attention to and that's when Sheffler gets a lot of stuff because the whole field gets cleared out. Don't forget Jay, he buys a lot of time for these guys. They have to find somebody who Jay can rely on for different things. That's what they're going to get to find out. There isn't a complete guy and there aren't a lot of complete guys in the league. Brandon Marshall is not a tremendous route runner and he's not working hard all the time. Eddie Royal never takes a play off but he has to play that way. If he ever stopped on a play, he'd be dead. Brandon Marshall, you can just throw a ball out to him and he's going to swat the DB off him if he feels like it. You have to have guys for different situations.