Chicago Sun-Times

Turner believes expectations were too great for Cutler

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Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Ron Turner said during a radio interview today that Jay Cutler was saddled with immense expectations.

"He came into a difficult situation with the expectations as high as they were," Turner said on ESPN Radio in Chicago, via Pro Football Talk. "As soon as he got here everybody said 'Jay Cutler is here,' and now the expectations went through the roof.

"I don't know if that was realistic with the issues we had on the offensive line and with the young receivers. We all knew it was going to take some time. I'm not sure anybody else did. I think there was a huge weight on his shoulders to come in and really produce at a high level."

That may well be the case. But, its hard not to have huge expectations for a player who cost the team a veteran starter, two first-round picks and -- AND -- a third-round pick.

Cutler flashed his potential throughout the season. But, he wasn't consistent enough, as his league-high 26 interceptions would suggest.

I haven't watched all of the Bears games. But, from what I saw, I never felt Turner really understood how to use receiver Devin Hester.

Instead of aimlessly sending him down the field, Turner should have been pushing plays that get him the ball quickly and empower him to generate yards after catch. That also would spared Cutler a few more blows.

Additionally, I found Turner to be extremely predictable. I think Cutler threw so many red-zone interceptions because they kept dialing up the same plays, over and over!

But, maybe I'm crazy...

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"I haven't watched all of the Bears games. But, from what I saw, I never felt Turner really understood how to use receiver Devin Hester.

Instead of aimlessly sending him down the field, Turner should have been pushing plays that get him the ball quickly and empower him to generate yards after catch."

Obviously you haven't watched many Bears games. I couldn't count how many times I saw the bubble screen to Hester. It stopped working after week 1. I'm convinced Turner called plays based on what worked in his Madden 10 game the night before.

Expectations were a little high for Cutler when he came to Chicago, and I admit, I was one of the many fans who thought he was gonna be a fix-all on offense....I was wrong. Cutler had a pretty good year if you can get past the 26 picks. But you gotta love the 3666 yards passing and the 27 td passes, for an NFL QB them aint bad numbers, for a Bear QB, there immaculate. Also, Cutler really came on toward the end of the season. Partly because his receivers came on, especially Devin Aromashodu, and also moving Chris Williams to the left side on the offensive line gave Cutler a little more protection on his blind side. Williams is a better left tackle, Schaffer was a better fit on the right side. I'd like to see what the 6-8 310lb James Marten can do on the right side this pre-season, we'll see.

Red zone wise, the biggest problem was Chicago's lack of a run game, not Cutler. Turner rang up so many pass plays down in the red zone simply because he had to, Chicago couldn't run the ball. This is a problem area. The red zone offense did improve when the 6-2 Devin Aromashodu was in the lineup. Having that big receiver down inside the 20 really gave Cutler a boost. But I think the lack of a consistent run game is what killed Cutler and the Bears overall red zone offense. Chicago needs to get some offensive line help this off-season. Probably through the draft. I'd still like to see Chicago use their 3rd rounder on either guard Mike Johnson of Alabama or Illinois big man Jon Asamoah, either one of these guys could fill the void at left guard, and help the running game.

As far as using Hester right, Chicago needs to use him as their primary kick-punt return man, and in the slot. Maybe give him 15-20 plays on offense, and use him as your main return man. If Hester can get back to being the return man he was early in his career, this would really help Chicago's offense a lot more than lining him up at receiver. He's an average receiver, as a return man, he's simply the leagues best. At receiver Chicago's sat with Aromashodu on one side, and either Bennett or Knox on the other. Also, I look for 2nd year receiver Juaquin Iglesias to contribute in his second season much like Earl Bennett did this year. The Bears have a nice young core at receiver. I say get back to using Devin Hester as your primary return man, what he does best.

Here's something off-subject, but I'll throw it out there anyways. Kyle Orton had 3800 yards passing to go along with 21 td passes this year, the guy is a legit NFL QB. Anybody that knows football knows not just any QB can put up 3800 yards, especially during a season when your learning a new offense. Jay Cutler is the better QB, don't get me wrong, but I still think Orton is a pretty good one himself...just sayin. Oh well GO BEARS!!

Absolutely right.
Turner was predictable and slow on the uptake.
Other teams knew exactly what to expect: WR screen,
failed run after run up the middle, another screen, punt.
NOBODY knew that the team as a whole was imploding, talent and age wise. This wasn't what Cutler signed up for.
All Cutler needs is some support from the personnel around him.
And someone with more imagination to call plays.

"Additionally, I found Turner to be extremely predictable. I think Cutler threw so many red-zone interceptions because they kept dialing up the same plays, over and over!" Spot on. It seemed like Turner didn't think this was a problem either -- with all his talk about "execution" being the problem, it seemed like he believed it was the job of the offense to simply make plays work whether or not everyone saw it coming. Which is likely why Turner's offense only worked when they were playing against inferior competition.

"Instead of aimlessly sending him down the field, Turner should have been pushing plays that get him the ball quickly and empower him to generate yards after catch. That also would spared Cutler a few more blows." Seemed like Turner had an idea of doing something like this -- hence the bubble screens -- but he had no idea how to actually make it work, and his predictability got in the way here, too. You could practically call the bubble screen plays before they'd even snapped the ball...

Sean -- great work so far! Really glad to have someone as talented as you covering the Bears!

Very good article. I agree that we have the nucleus of a good young recieving corpse and I don't believe we need to waste a draft pick there as we have more pressing needs. Yes Hester needs relegated to return duties; that's his strenght. A good OL is needed badly along with a dominate saftey (hard to come by). The Bears are hurting for picks this year so in my opinion if they could get a good pick for Urlacher I would recomend trading him. The young LB's actually weren't all that bad and Urlacher can't save this team.
Mostly however direction is what the Bears need most of all. Coaching that pushes them to their limits and not a best friend. The picks Lovie is about to make to his staff really scares me though. He likes to much of the same old theory and and I don't think he could handle an assistant that will stand up to him. Well I've said enough, I just wish the Bears the best of luck in 2010.


I have been Hesters biggest critic on this blog and think most of the guys here know this. I have a problem with the Bears trying to make Hester a number one because thats not what he is. Boldin, Welker, and Harvin are all recievers but none of them is a number 1, all those guys are trick play recievers, which is what Hester should have been. He is a guy who you get in space and allow him to work. You do not send him against douuble coverage or a shutdown corner over and over and excpect him to excell.

As for Cutler I talked about this in preseason and and all season long. Totally misused on a weak offense, but to date I don't blame Turner for all of it. It was clear the line couldn't run block early, it was clear it has not been able to pass protect for 3 years and that it only could handle3 step drops and sometimes not even that. But it was Lovie Smith that said he did not want Cutler rolling out not Turner. Lovie wanted a ball control offense on a team that had no running game and a pocket passer with a line that was poor at creating a pocket and protecting the QB. Turner has been and always will be predictable but its not all on him, his hands were tied by a Head coach and a philosophy. You all saw what hapened when the Bears started moving Cutler around. Rolling him out in the last two games gae him time and room to throw. It was also Smith who controls the roster that left DA on the bench most of the season.

What worries me most about this team is that listening to Phillips speak today he advocated loosing. When asked if Smith needed to make the playoffs, he replied, I will not judge him on wins and losses. The one thing coaches are judged by.

Their should only ever be one goal for any team every year. Win the Super Bowl. It doesn't matter if the team doesn't come close, but its about an attitude and a philosophy based in winning. Once you make loosing exceptable, loosing is what you get. These are the same things Mike McCaskey used to say about tricky Dick, "we lost but I thought he did a good job."

Oh and Jensen, watch the games buddy.

Here wego again fellas. The Bears and some the fans are trying to make chicken salad out of know. We cant put band aids on everything. Kevin Shaffer and Devin Arenashowdown are not answers. There is a reason they were cut loose. The Browns didnt want Shaffer!!?? We are 6 or 7 players away from being a contender, and a head coach and GM along with that from being a real threat. We are spinning our wheels. Lovie cant be fixed. Jerry cant be fixed. It really saddens me.

know what you do with devin hester? Make him a kick returner, I am not sure, but I think he will be great at it.
There is nothing Devin hester can contribute as a wide receiver.......except...if he had notten gotten hurt..then aromashadu, would not have played, and Lovie would have definitley gotten fired as the Bears finished up @ 5-11 with a good qb, as they finished 7-9 with a very poor qb in 08.
Thanks hester, you always screw everything up. grrrrrrrrrrrrr.

what the heck is the point of a catpcha here anyway? Is there some secret porn index the Suntimes is hiding and protecting from leechers????

JOBO, I agree Kevin Shaffer is not the answer at right tackle, but out of the current personnel that Chicago had this season, he was the best player for the right tackle spot. I would like to see what James Marten can do this pre-season at right tackle.

JOBO, I totally disagree with you about Devin Aromashodu. Im not saying he's the second coming of TO, but I think he can be a pretty good receiver for Chicago, and Jay Cutler seems to like him. Inside of 4 games Aromashodu had 24 catches, 298 yards, and 4 tds. Keep in mind, he's never really played before except for one games with the Colts. So, with 24 catches, 298 yards, and 4 tds inside of 4 games, thats means he would have put up 96 catches, 1192 yards, 16 tds had he played the other 12 games. Them are the numbers he would have been on pace for had he played an entire season, not to shabby. Also JOBO, just because Aromahodu was cut by a couple other teams doesn't mean he's a bust. Remember the term player development, not every player is NFL ready straight out of college. I say give Aromashodu a chance before saying he's not the answer GO BEARS!!

Cutler with protection and Bears score a bunch of Lovie ensures us that even if the players have the skill to win, their will to win will be less than it could be

I don't think the expectations were too high.

We were expecting a quarterback to throw his normal 62+% completion percentage and throw at least twice as many touchdowns as interceptions...nothing too big about that?

I expected a slow start to the offensive line but not 14 games.

I expected the defense to generate pressure with its front four and its linbackers to track down opposing running backs. Too much?

I expected the Bears to be focused, prepared and mentally sharp? Still too many expectations Ron?

I expected the Bears to play with few penalties, score more than its opposing teams most of the time and make the play offs.

Anyone think this is too much? Rex and the media used to complain too about the tough media....just throw better than 60% and 2:1 touchdowns to interceptions and I think life would be grand in Chicago. Really it would!

I am glad Turner is finally gone, though I was once in his corner. This kind of response to 3 years of mediocrity and in his case, his entire stint with Lovie. We didn't hit our mark though...imagine if Lovie would make players earn their place in the lineup on every he did when he was new with the Bears. Somewhere he went wrong...somewhere is veterns emerged and "Club Lovie" was born. I remember all the hamstring injuries in his first year because he was conditioning his they get veterns days off.

The best example of "Club Lovie" was the Cedric Benson fiasco...instead of telling Jones and Benson "the best back will start and the second best will play back up"...well you know the rest of the story...give Jones away, give Benson a job he didn't earn and devalue that which is the rare gift of being in the NFL. What is really frustrating is to see how Benson responded once his job was threatened and he had to earn it....Tank Johnson did not respond that way, but Benson did which tells me that if Lovie had shown some tough love, we'd either have the renewed Benson or the steady Jones or both.

But instead we can look forward to more Lovie and if he doesn't rediscover his former self, we will continue to be frustrated bear fans and we'll waste the career of the best QB talent I've seen in my life (I'm 42)

sean, if you're going to cover bears football, you have to watch all the games. you got a good gig, man...put in some work.

you're right about expectations being too high on cutler (an SI writer had the bears in the super bowl this year). that's no fault of cutler's, however. he threw a ton of picks, but he also put up almost 3,700 yards and threw for 27 TDs on a mediocre football team. that's something to build on. cutler is the centerpiece of that offense. and he's tough as nails. hire a coach to develop him and build around him. it's the only way the bears will be successful.

kevin armstead makes the most sense here. devin hester is not a #1 receiver. he's not even a #2. he's a spot slot wideout at best. if he had any potential at receiver, i doubt he would have come into the league as a DB. the NFL isn't the place for players to learn new positions. it was an experiment the bears embarked on and they shouldn't have. hester's talented, but i honestly don't think he has the discipline to learn a position like wide receiver. it's a lot more than the "catch and run" done as a returner. this attempt to convert him, coupled with the loss of some key special teamers like brendan ayanbadejo, is what's caused the bears to fall off on special teams in the past couple of years. i like manning and knox as receivers, but they have more value in their true positions. hester doesn't. move him back and thin out his playbook.

whoever said welker and boldin and percy harvin are trick receivers, i couldn't even trust the rest of your comment. boldin is injury prone, but has proven himself a quality wideout in this league. welker has caught 100+ passes each of the past three years and harvin as a rookie is already better than any receiver on the bears roster. aromashodu is a decent #2 with knox in the slot. the bears still need a difference-maker at that position. they should have picked up torry holt. he's not the player he once was, but he could have taught these guys a lot about playing the position. plus, he caught 50 balls for over 700 yards this year for another 7-9 team.

and with that record, the bears are who we thought they were. cutler joined a team with a no real weapons and tried to overcompensate, throwing far too many interceptions. he needs to be smarter and know his limits, but a good coordinator and qb coach will instill that. the offensive line played like garbage for much of the year, making forte look bad in the process, but forte still almost cracked 929 yards (even though he took a beating in the process). the defense has historically not played well without urlacher and the secondary is a mess, but i think the LBs and line had some of the brightest spots on the team this year when they weren't getting blown out. and the bears desperately need a lead receiver.

there's plenty of blame to go around, but as turner said, he was playing with the cards he was dealt. above all - in some key spots - the bears simply don't have the talent to compete. and that's a coaching/administration issue, which they need to fix and fix fast. at the same time, the players have to go out there and play, but the team needs to put prepared talent on the field. cincy was a lack of preparation. baltimore was a lack of execution. this is unacceptable.

coach has one more year. if they're not a playoff team in 2010, "he gone." (c) hawk

All the talk of Hester returning to returning got me thinking. There was a quote a while back from one of the great return men of all time-- Mel Green? He said wait until Hester gets injured then see if he can keep up the pace. The curious thing is I think he was right. Maybe someone else can look it up but I think after Hester had his first serious injury his returns stopped being so dominant.

Turner needs to stop making excuses. He was a bad playcaller, and when he was given a ferrari to drive this season, he treated like like an off-read atv. The man needs to man up and realize he simply sucked. Not to say Cutler couldn't have been better, because he could have, but Turner needs to stopmaking excuses.

Ron Turner strikes me as being somewhat somehow off on his perception of what is going on, on and off the field.

I thought expectations were befitting of a guy who was acquired in exchange for a QB with a winning record (Orton) and 3 high draft picks. I think Cutler understood it too, and I doubt he had a problem with it. On the other hand, I think most of us are still happy to have Cutler, even with some of the poor outings that he had in 09. So I really don’t understand what it is Turner’s talking about in terms of expectations.

It may be that Turner’s expectations on Cutler were a bit much, because his play calling, which appeared to be very predictable to many defenses (especially the multitude of WR bubble screens that too often seemed to be stopped behind the line), got away from running the ball in a hurry and turned short-pass-happy, all the while saddling him with a cast of small, inexperienced WRs that can’t get open, basically asking Cutler to nurture them while ignoring his own plea to get Aromashodu in there earlier.

I’m not saying Cutler didn’t make bad judgments himself, but Turner certainly didn’t help any.

It’s kind of what happened in 08 with Forte; it seemed like Turner got over-elated with his new toy and just couldn’t stop playing with him, running him into the ground.

I don’t think he did a good job, and think his departure was inevitable, and the right move.

The reason for the high expectations is obvious: The Bears were 9-7 last season and Jay Cutler is a lot better than Kyle Orton at the most important single position on the team. Expecting the Bears to win at least 11 games this season based on that change alone was not at all unreasonable. This is not to say the Bears didn't have some major problems, but some of us were hoping that the offensive line had been upgraded with new acquisitions and that Rod Marinelli would help the defense. While some of us said that Frank Omiyale was an unproven tackle, not a guard, and that the Bears needed better players on defense, not just a coaching change, there was still a logical reason to expect a lot better than what we got in 2009. Once Minnesota got Favre, it was clear to anyone who knows football that they were the favorite to win the division, but it was not at all unreasonable to expect the Bears to make the playoffs as a wildcard with a strong record.

Billy Joe, I think the Bears did try to get Tory Holt, which some of us were advocating at the time. Word was that he wanted to play in a warm weather city. Also, he would have been somewhat of a risk in Chicago -- as a player, not as someone to teach younger receivers -- never having played for a cold weather team in the NFL.

the bears should talk to doug flutie about offensive coordinator job he played and learned from the best coaches in the game flutie is a real winner

Stuck...your stealing my argument about Hester...

Hey the Gang is getting back together over on FB...

check out the group we formed.

I totally agree about Hester, thats where his real game is - cross patterns and run across the field... But noooooo, they go deep or not at all,
The expectations really were too high for Jay, and guess what? Ron can speak the truth now? uhhh, we all saw the crappy oline Free Agents Jerry bought, the WR were young, so we had to get an Oline - that was the key, but Jerry buys cheeep. With any kinda line who knows what woulda. Look at the playoff teams - look at the protection Warner/Manning etc... get. Can you imagine Cutler and our young WR with that kinda line? Pretty obvious what the difference in our team and those teams are.
Holt? we have enough older Rams as it is. We needed a Oline pretty obvious.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on January 7, 2010 12:12 PM.

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