As it turns out, Jay Cutler really likes Mike Tice
BY SEAN JENSEN email@example.com October 9, 2012 10:48PM
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Updated: November 11, 2012 6:31AM
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler likes Mike Tice.
Forget any conclusions drawn from their caught-on-video scrape in Dallas. Cutler says he respects that his new offensive coordinator played quarterback in college and carved out a 14-year career in the NFL.
“He gets it as a player; that’s the thing of it,” Cutler told the Sun-Times on Tuesday. “He knows what it’s like to be a player. He knows what it’s like to install, then get to the game, call a play and it not work.
“He puts a lot of ownership and accountability on the players because we’re the ones out there. He’s like, ‘Hey, if you guys don’t like this, tell us you don’t like it and then let’s make a change and figure this out.’ He’s really good about that.”
Cutler doesn’t take that responsibility for granted, especially after playing under Mike Martz, who didn’t allow much flexibility, installing game plans and expecting his players to execute whatever he dialed up.
Cutler, of course, prefers one philosophy over the other.
“If I had to pick, if it was up to me, I would want control over and be able to do stuff and put in the best plays and be able to audible sometimes,” Cutler said. “That’s the fun part of being a quarterback. Going up to the line and be like, ‘All right.’
“It’s more of a mental game.”
Cutler was upbeat Tuesday evening at the Nike Store in Chicago, where he and Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher starred at a public event to introduce the team’s Hyperwarm line of clothing. But he insisted that he has a good relationship with both Mikes.
Since Tice was promoted to offensive coordinator, Cutler has welcomed the open line provided to him.
“He’s been nothing but open and there’s been a lot of communication,” Cutler said. “Even when everything happened in Dallas, and it got blown out of proportion, we were talking on the way home. On the bus, he was like, ‘This stuff is getting out of hand.’ I said, ‘I know. It is what it is.’
“We were cool then.”
Emotion is a part of the game, Cutler said.
“If you’re a player in the NFL, there have been times when this stuff happens, where someone yells at a coach, walks away from a coach, curse at a coach, tells them they don’t know what they’re talking about. It happens,” Cutler said. “It was one of those things that happened, and they caught it on camera.
“But literally, 10 seconds later, he came over and I was like, ‘We got to make that. We got some more stuff we can call.’ And he said, ‘I totally agree. Let’s go.’ And we moved on.”
Last week, Tice downplayed the incident on the sideline at Cowboys Stadium during ‘‘Monday Night Football.’’
“The heat of the battle; it’s tough,” Tice said. “A lot of things happen on the sidelines. A lot of things happen over the course of a game. I was really angry about the fact that we didn’t make that third-and-one. I was in his ear from the time he came off the field to the time he went over and put his helmet down.
“At a certain point probably enough’s enough. He’s doing the things we’re asking him to do,” Tice said. “He’s understanding the things that I’d like him to do as far as managing the line of scrimmage. I’m very happy with his game.”
Cutler said he prefers Tice’s approach over Martz’s only because that’s what it was like in Denver, where he developed into a Pro Bowl quarterback.
“I like it,” Cutler said of the empowerment approach. “I mean, that’s how Mike Shanahan ran things. I was young, but he told me, ‘If you don’t like it, I don’t like it. Let’s get rid of it.’
“JB is like that too,” Cutler said, referring to quarterbacks’ coach Jeremy Bates. “Tice is the same mode.”
That doesn’t mean Cutler didn’t like and respect Martz.
“He was just a different philosophy, a different mentality. He called his plays. And he was really good at it. He was amazing at it,” Cutler said. “He would put you in positions, and he’d say, ‘Hey, throw it here, in this coverage, and a lot of times it worked.’
“I just wasn’t built like that, I didn’t come up in the league like that, so it was a different system for me.”
But Cutler couldn’t argue with the results last season.
“Hey, we were 7-3, and we were rolling,” Cutler said. “I mean, it was taking time to get accustomed to it. But it wasn’t like we were fighting. We bought into it. It was just a different philosophy.”