These are the good ‘O’ days for Bears
BY ADAM L. JAHNS Staff Reporter September 16, 2013 9:30PM
- Marc Trestman: Tight end Martellus Bennett has a bruised shoulder
- Mouthing off: Our favorite quotes from Bears-Vikings
Updated: October 18, 2013 6:35AM
The first two weeks — despite the exhilarating victories against the Bengals and Vikings — won’t define the Bears’ season. But when it comes to the offense, something’s definitely brewing.
And linebacker Lance Briggs has taken notice.
“It’s early,” Briggs said Monday. “[But] the one thing that sticks out is that when we need a score, our offense will get that score. Last year — really any year — we thought we needed to create a turnover and score defensively in order for us to [get on the board].”
Talk about a load off your shoulders.
It’s significant that coach Marc Trestman’s offense has been able to earn that type of confidence from the defense only two weeks in. That trust didn’t exist the last few seasons.
But get this: Trestman is confident that this is just the beginning. The Bears are still learning on the fly when it comes to the offense.
It just so happens that they’re winning while doing it.
“You’re learning every day,” Trestman said. “Something comes up every day when you’re dealing with 11 guys — the variables are infinite.”
A Bears offense having “infinite” possibilities wasn’t exactly the norm before Trestman.
The Bears make it sound as if bigger things are ahead by mentioning some of the big plays they’ve failed to make. And Trestman isn’t simply lamenting drops or missed blocks, either. He looks at all the details.
Trestman said the Bears missed on a couple of “big-play opportunities” Sunday because their new-look offensive line’s communication was off or receivers needed to get lined up correctly and have “proper releases against different coverages.”
“We are progressing,” Trestman said. “We throw a lot at them. All our players have high football intelligence. They really can handle a lot of different bits of information.
“Two or three of the plays we ran for big plays [against Minnesota] were installed earlier in the week and repped earlier in the week, and we only get a couple of chances to rep each play at the most — sometimes just one time.”
A lot of that has to do with Trestman. He’s fixing things he promised to fix and doing it quickly. The offensive line, which includes two rookies, is the perfect example.
Last year, quarterback Jay Cutler was sacked 38 times in 434 passing attempts — that’s a sack for every 11th attempt. Cutler only has been sacked once in 72 attempts in two games this season. And that sack came Sunday when the Bears failed to execute a screen pass.
“It could have been a huge gain if we would have executed better,” Trestman said.
Running back Matt Forte had the type of game against the Vikings — 161 total yards and a career-best 11 catches — that should be expected in Trestman’s offense. It was a concerted effort, but also a result of the Vikings’ coverages.
Trestman said it was a result of Cutler doing “a good job of getting through his progressions and getting the ball to him.”
And that’s how Trestman will be judged — by what Cutler does. And while there have been three interceptions in two games, Cutler has earned Trestman’s confidence.
Trestman had his doubts about Cutler’s call on the game-tying touchdown to tight end Martellus Bennett. But Cutler, who had talked to Bennett about it beforehand, made the right call.
And it was a play they had just installed.
“[Cutler is] on top of everything,” Trestman said. “I was very impressed with the way he handled it. We . . . give him two or three plays to work with at the line, and even if he didn’t see the right coverage, he found the right play.”