suntimes
POWERFUL 
Weather Updates

Bears quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates might be QB keeper

Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli will not return Bears. | Sun-Times

Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli will not return to the Bears. | Sun-Times

storyidforme: 42535752
tmspicid: 15726098
fileheaderid: 7082687

Updated: February 5, 2013 6:35AM



Quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates was brought to Chicago for Jay Cutler. The belief was their history and kinship would translate into points and wins for the Bears.

But their reunion didn’t really pan out.

With coach Lovie Smith gone, there’s no telling which — if any — assistant coaches will be retained. Even Cutler doesn’t sound convinced “his guy” will be back.

“I have no idea,” Cutler said when asked if he expects Bates to return. “I would say no, but that’s a guess.”

General manager Phil Emery said all the assistant coaches remain under contract and have a chance to stay if his new coach decides they’re keepers. But Smith only retained one coach from Dick Jauron’s regime.

Linebackers coach Bob Babich, running backs coach Tim Spencer and receivers coach Darryl Drake, who have been with Smith since 2004, appear destined to head elsewhere. Bates, though, might have one of the best chances to stick, considering Emery believes Cutler has the potential to be a franchise quarterback.

Quarterback Josh McCown, a 10-year veteran who has worked with Cutler, Bates and Mike Martz, said it was easy to see the chemistry between Bates and Cutler.

“No question,” McCown said. “They have great chemistry, and that’s a credit to [Bates]. He understands what he wants to get accomplished but also players are all individuals, and we’re all different. He knows one guy has to be taught differently than the next guy and so on and so forth. He’s willing to do anything it takes to get the message taught.

“Jay responds to [Bates’] teaching style.”

Why that chemistry didn’t turn into better results is debatable. Mike Tice handled the play-calling as a first-time offensive coordinator, but Bates definitely had input. With Tice and Bates, the Bears’ offense went from 24th in 2011 to 28th this season.

Emery won’t blame Tice or anyone else for the offense’s failures. He said his goal is to get the most out of Cutler.

“I would say it’s real important to find [a head coach] who can help lead and develop all our players,” Emery said. “Jay being our quarterback, and that being a franchise position in terms of importance, it’s very important that that person either himself or staff-wise has the right person to help Jay develop.”

It could turn out to be Bates, who gets along with the enigmatic Cutler while others have had conflicts. Bates first worked with Cutler and receiver Brandon Marshall with the Denver Broncos (2006-08) before becoming the Seattle Seahawks’ offensive coordinator in 2010.

McCown said Bates was innovative with his game-planning.

“Obviously, being a coordinator before, he has a vision,” McCown said. “Jeremy is a very, very good football coach. He’s one of the better ones I’ve been around.”

Bates said working with Cutler was the same as it was in Denver. He also thought he developed a good rapport with Tice this season and learned from him.

“He’s a great offensive line coach,” Bates said. “It’s a different run game that I know and that I’ve learned. I’m going to be able to use it throughout the rest of my career.”

In a few weeks, we’ll know if that includes the Bears for next season.

“[Bates] knows what Jay is thinking, where he is coming from, his opinions on certain things,” McCown said. “He talks to Jay about different things and figures out the best way to help Jay get better.

“It’s been fun to watch their relationship, watch how you coach a guy of Jay’s caliber. He’s great for us. He’s great for Jay.”



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.