Cutler gets his first chance to run his 5th Bears’ offense Thursday
BOURBONNAIS – If you were hoping for the next coming of No. 18, you’re probably setting yourself up for disappointment.
You can count on one or no hands how many people thought Adam Gase could help the Bears quarterback he inherited put up the gaudy numbers of Peyton Manning. But if he could bring just a little consistency to Jay Cutler’s game would endear the offensive coordinator to Bears fans for years to come.
We’ll he’s got a little bit of that already. In fact in one area, the quarterback is perfect.
According to a number of reporter counts Cutler has yet to throw an interception during scrimmage time at training camp in Bourbonnais. It’s a remarkable feat considering that Cutler had 16 picks last year and the fact that workouts are rarely perfect.
So does that mean the offense is ready to transform Jay? Even he’s not getting ahead of himself.
When asked if the lack of interceptions is proof he’ll be a more consistent quarterback, Cutler had a chuckle.
“You’re funny,” said a humored Cutler to the reporter. “You never know. Camp is camp. We’re not getting hit. These aren’t live bullets so we’ll see what happens whenever we start it up.”
That will be Thursday when Cutler takes the field against an opponent that will be willing to hit at Soldier Field. The Bears face the Dolphins in their preseason opener and the quarterback figures to see 1-2 series of playing time against Miami’s top defensive unit.
It’s hardly a full run but a trial gives him a chance to run Gase’s offense for the first time in a true camp setting.
Cutler’s been through this four times before since joining the Bears in 2009 as he once again adjusts to a new offensive coordinator and his style. Ron Turner, Mike Martz, Mike Tice, and Aaron Kromer all tried to turn Cutler into the All-Pro the team hoped for when they made the trade six years ago.
So what can Adam do for Jay? For one, put him in the best spot to succeed.
“I think Adam does an incredible job scheme wise of putting quarterbacks in the right position,” said Cutler of Gase’s offense. “But a lot of it goes on the offensive line and the way that they played throughout camp and the receivers have been getting open. They’ve all got to do their job and then I’ve got to put it in the right spot and those ten other guys have done a really good job.”
Hearing this observation from Cutler isn’t a surprise to those who followed Gase’s offense in Denver. He became well-known for utilizing personnel creatively to create mismatches with opposing defenses. It’s a reason the Broncos were fourth in the league in yardage (402.9 per game) and second in scoring in (30.1 points per game).
Cutler broke that philosophy down simply after Tuesday’s practice-the last before the game with the Dolphins on Thursday.
“We’re not gonna do things if I guy can’t do it or if someone’s uncomfortable with it because we don’t want negative plays and Adam doesn’t want to put us in positions where we might fail,” said Cutler. “So we’re doing everything in our power to get good schemes but along that lines just not running blanket plays.
“If a guy runs a certain route a certain way and does a good job at it, lets let him run it. If a different guy isn’t so good, find something he’s better at.”
Right now Cutler is good protecting the ball in contact-light drills in practice. That’s progress if you watched him play in 2014 yet is wisely not being met with too much overreaction.
“It’s all a process. We’ve had good days. We’ve had bad days,” said Cutler of the offense in camp. “The defense has won some, we’ve won some, we’ve won a few. So were just working every day to try and get better an improve from the day before.”
Perfection in one area is just a bit of a bonus.