Chicago Sun-Times

In a comfort zone, Cutler poised for breakout season

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When Jerry Angelo made the bold move to trade for Jay Cutler in 2009, he thought he had solved a chronic quarterback problem for the Bears. Unfortunately there was one more step he failed to address: You not only have to acquire Jay Cutler, you have to keep him comfortable.

The Bears think they've finally done that. They replaced offensive coordinator Mike Martz with offensive line coach Mike Tice; they hired Cutler's former quarterback coach from Denver, Jeremy Bates; they acquired Cutler's favorite receiver from Denver, Brandon Marshall; and they traded up in the second round to draft another big receiver in 6-4 Alshon Jeffery.

''Jay is a cornerstone player of our franchise,'' Bears general manager Phil Emery said. ''We want to build around Jay. We feel very good about his talent level and his abilty and talents and traits to lead us to championships. So definitely we want to bring weapons around him.''

''This is the most comfortable I think I've been going into a camp, with the offense and what we're doing scheme-wise and the talent around me,'' Cutler said upon arriving at training camp Tuesday in Bourbonnais.

''Jeremy's come in and installed some stuff we did in Denver, some stuff I'm really comfortable with. Mike Tice has a got a really good feel for what I like to do and how to put guys in position to be successful. I'm happy with it. There's still some tweaking we have to do. so everyone's on the same page. But the offseason work we've done has put us in the right direction.''

Cutler's relationship with Tice will be critical. It's no secret Cutler clashed with Martz during their two seasons together. Though Tice has been a head coach in the NFL (with the Vikings from 2001-05), he never has been an offensive coordinator.

''I think that's Mike's sole objective to put guys in position to be successful,'' Cutler said. ''He wants to attack defense and do it smartly. Find ways so we can put our best players against their worst players. That's something we're going to try to do.

But it's how they get along that might be the bigger issue. Tice is a no-nonsense coach, but he seems to have a better understanding of developing personal relationships than Martz, who is just as quirky as Cutler.

How will Tice handle Cutler?

Good question,'' Cutler said. ''I've seen Mike explode on guys. I've seen him pull guys to the side and talk to them quietly. I think Mike does a real good job of knowing what you need, what kind of player you are -- if you're a yell-at-him type of guy or a pull-him-to-the side guy.

''Whatever. He can coach me however. I think we're all in it for the same reasons. He's excited about this offense and so am I. It's just going to be a matter of us working together and finding common ground on some stuff.

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Having a guy like Brandon Marshall, who by the way, is one of the leagues best split ends, a position the Bears haven't had a legit player at since Muhsin Muhammad, will make all the difference for Jay Cutler. Cutler will now have that big go get em receiver down in the red zone and on third downs. Again, this is gonna make all the difference for Cutler. Having a legit threat outside will also open things up for Forte and the Bears running game, also making things easier for Cutler. Good move by Emery drafting a young split end in Alshon Jeffery, who at 6-3 is effective plucking the ball out of the air in jump ball situations against the nations better corners in the SEC. Jeffery's 3,042 career receiving yards are the 2nd best in SEC history. With Forte at RB, a legit set of receivers, and some weapons at tight end, Cutler will be given every chance to finally come on for the Bears.

The question that remains, the offensive line? Will Chris Williams or J'Marcus Webb step up? Getting Gabe Carimi back will make a difference. Inside Chicago should be good with Chris Spencer, a former first rounder, at left guard, and Lance Louis seems primed for a breakout season at right guard. Garza is a pretty good center, and I like that 2nd year player, Ricky Henry, a rookie free agent out of Nebraska last season is being groomed to replace Garza down the road. Henry was a First-team All-Big 12 offensive lineman who may have flew under the radar. I think a new scheme will make a difference for this line. During a 7 game stretch last season, games 4-10, the Bears allowed just 9 sacks. Where in the final 6 games, all without Cutler, Chris Williams, and Gabe Carimi, the Bears allowed 26, thats more than half the season total of 49. Staying healthy and a better suited scheme should make the o-line better GO BEARS!!

No matter which way you cut it the owness is going to be on the offensive line we all know these guys can run block granted but like i have said over and over that j marcus webb gets to much crap sent his way i think he is a good player no any worse than any other ledft tackle granted he so hall of famer but he got better as the season went alomg, the problem last year was not so much as personal but so much as scheme i really believe that j marcus webb is a good tackle the problem lies at right guard in pass blocking with carimi being an itailian first of all he has got an attitude we all do being itailian he is , and chris williams should stay at left guard if you ask me edwin williams should be our starting right guard so here it is


frank deleo

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Potash published on July 25, 2012 10:50 AM.

Bears Training Camp Digest -- Day 1 was the previous entry in this blog.

Gabe Carimi confident he can pick up where he left off is the next entry in this blog.

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