Jay Cutler wants to avoid coordinator shuffle
BY MARK POTASH email@example.com December 24, 2012 5:54PM
Mike Tice is quarterback Jay Cutler’s third offensive coordinator in four seasons with the Bears. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
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Updated: January 26, 2013 6:22AM
The potential upheaval if the Bears fail to make the playoffs could come with an unavoidable consequence — Jay Cutler’s fourth offensive coordinator in his fifth season with the Bears.
Cutler, who has struggled with consistency on several levels throughout his seven-year NFL career, is hoping to avoid that situation. First-year offensive coordinator Mike Tice is a target with the Bears’ offense dropping from 24th to 28th in total yards, despite the addition of Brandon Marshall. But Cutler hopes Tice returns in 2013.
‘‘It’s hard for an offense and as a quarterback to get where you want to be and be consistent on a weekly basis if you’re changing coordinators every couple years,’’ Cutler said during his weekly appearance Monday on ‘‘Waddle & Silvy’’ on WMVP-AM (1000).
‘‘That’s a reality. I think it’s an overlooked fact. It’s something that happens in the NFL a lot to some of these quarterbacks. I was talking with [Jason Campbell and Josh McCown], and Josh, in 11 years, he’s had eight or nine coordinators. J-Cam, in eight years, I think he’s had [a different] one every year.”
Punter Adam Podlesh continued his strong play in the second half. It began after the Bears worked out punters after Podlesh had net averages of 31.7 and 38.8 yards against the Titans and Texans in November.
Podlesh had three more punts inside the 20-yard line against the Cardinals to give him 16 in his last six games, including 10 inside the 12. Zack Bowman downed one at the 4, leading to his touchdown on Beanie Wells’ fumble in the first quarter. Podlesh’s punt to the 10 in the third quarter led to Charles Tillman’s 10-yard interception return for a touchdown that gave the Bears a 28-6 lead.
‘‘That’s one thing that me and [Eric] Weems always tell him: If you hang it up there, we’ll get there,’’ Bowman said. ‘‘And that’s what he’s been doing. He’s been doing a good job at that all season. My hat goes off to him.’’
The Bears cut second-year wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher, who played in five games this season. He had one reception for seven yards.
Sanzenbacher, an undrafted free agent from Ohio State in 2011, led all Bears wide receivers with three touchdown catches as a rookie in 2011. He was Cutler’s go-to receiver after Earl Bennett was injured, catching 19 passes for 166 yards and three touchdowns in six games.
But his playing time diminished once Bennett returned, and he finished his rookie year with 27 receptions for 276 yards.
Bears long-snapper Pat Mannelly signed a one-year extension through the 2013 season. Mannelly holds the franchise record for games played with 230.