MORRISSEY: We’ve heard Jay Cutler, coordinator trade praise before
BY RICK MORRISSEY email@example.com April 19, 2013 7:58PM
Offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer says quarterback Jay Cutler is ‘‘further along than we thought he’d be at this point.’’ | Andrew A. Nelles~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 22, 2013 6:33AM
Several weeks ago, a reader sent me a complimentary email. I can’t remember the subject matter, but I do remember to whom it was addressed: Mr. Mortuary.
This is odd, I thought. A shot across the bow in the salutation, followed by glowing praise. Then it dawned on me. I emailed the gentleman, and it was just as I had suspected: His computer’s spell check had changed my name from ‘‘Mr. Morrissey’’ to ‘‘Mr. Mortuary.’’
The man was, fittingly, mortified. No, I wrote him, this is the greatest thing ever. Spell check apparently can correct errors and see inside the soul of a grumpy columnist!
Which brings us to the blossoming relationship between Bears quarterback Jay Cutler and the team’s new coaching staff and why Mr. Mortuary can’t seem to get on board the love train. If you paid attention to the three-day minicamp last week, you know offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer is on the road to being smitten with Cutler and vice versa.
‘‘Jay’s a very intelligent person,’’ Kromer said. ‘‘He knows football. He just needs to use our terms and come up with a plan to learn it. And he is. And I believe that with the in-depth meetings that we’ve had that he’s further along than we thought he’d be at this point.’’
‘‘It’s fun,’’ Cutler said. ‘‘The coaches are making it fun for us. They’re challenging us and making us learn.’’
I would guess that most people, especially Bears fans, said to themselves: ‘‘Isn’t that great? Communication is so important. The quarterback and the offensive coordinator are already bonding. This should go a long way toward making 2013 a very special season.’’
Mr. Mortuary, on the other hand, said to himself: ‘‘Where have I heard this before?’’ So I did a computer search.
Offensive coordinator Mike Martz, on Cutler (August 2010): ‘‘He’s handled everything just remarkably well. He has always tried to do everything just the way we would ask him to do it. Then when things do break down, the really great ones have a sense of just finding a guy, and he can do that. I think he’s been pretty remarkable so far. He’s everything that I’d hope that he would be, absolutely.’’
Cutler, on Martz (August 2010): ‘‘When Mike walks into the room, he’s got that aura about him that commands respect. . . . I think me and Mike, it kind of clicked very quickly in our relationship. We have the same goals in mind. I think we have the same thought process on and off the field.’’
Offensive coordinator Mike Tice, on Cutler and the offense (June 2012): ‘‘The communication across the board has been fantastic.’’
Cutler, on Tice (July 2012): ‘‘This is the most comfortable I’ve been going into a camp, with the offense and what we’re doing scheme-wise and the talent around me.’’
I think we all know how it turned out. During a game in 2011, Cutler screamed: ‘‘Tell Martz I said %$#@ him!’’ During a game last season, he stomped away from Tice on the sidelines.
So you can understand why Mr. Mortuary is a bit skeptical when Cutler and his offensive coordinator begin trading praise.
However this turns out, I’m predicting there is no earthly way Kromer can reach the poetic heights Martz did three years ago.
‘‘I just wish all of you could know [Cutler] like I know him right now,’’ Martz said. ‘‘I know that this sounds syrupy and sappy and all that, but every day that I get to know him as a man and as a player, he’s pretty unusual now. He has great character and class and dignity with the players. Professionally, he’s trying to do everything just exactly the way we ask him to do it. He’s brilliant. He’s not smart; he’s brilliant.’’
I was there the day Martz uttered those words at training camp in Bourbonnais. No shower since has made me feel clean. But we move on, right?
Maybe not. Mr. Mortuary turned on ESPN last week and saw former Bears coach Lovie Smith talking football. Why the network wanted Smith, whose personality oozes formaldehyde, as a guest analyst is beyond me.
He did look like a new man, though, relaxed and smiling for the camera. Or maybe he was calculatingly letting the world know that, although he went
0-for-7 on NFL head-coaching openings this offseason, he is still alive and, well, employable.
Oh, Mr. Mortuary, why can’t you see the purity in people?