New Bears QB coach Jeremy Bates knows Cutler, Marshall — and they know his fire
BY SEAN JENSEN firstname.lastname@example.org May 13, 2012 8:10PM
DENVER - SEPTEMBER 14: Quarterback coach Jeremy Bates of the Denver Broncos gives direction against the San Diego Chargers during NFL action at Invesco Field at Mile High on September 14, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Chargers 39-38. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Updated: June 15, 2012 10:49AM
In his initial interview with local reporters in February, new Bears quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates avoided any controversy, gushed about his peers and players and maintained a calm, cool demeanor.
But that belies something else about his personality, receiver Brandon Marshall said.
‘‘He’s fiery. Yeah, he’s fiery,” Marshall said after his own introductory news conference in March. ‘‘There were times all three of us had arguments. But there were times we’d argue in the meeting room and go on the field and put up big numbers.
‘‘We’re all older now. But Jeremy is fiery.”
The third person Marshall is referring to, of course, is Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. All three made names for themselves in Denver, where Bates, 35, started as an offensive assistant in 2006 before coaching both receivers and quarterbacks in 2007 and only quarterbacks in 2008.
Cutler threw for a franchise record 4,526 yards and played in the Pro Bowl after the 2008 season, while Marshall hauled in more than 100 passes in 2007 and 2008.
Marshall said he welcomed Bates’ approach.
‘‘He coaches how I play,’’ Marshall said. ‘‘So that passion and emotion you see on Sundays is the same way he coaches, in practice, in our meeting rooms and on Sundays.’’
Informed of Marshall’s comments, Bates hesitated, then diplomatically explained — and embraced — Marshall’s take.
‘‘I think it’s our profession, and it’s our passion, and I think everyone has a different personality, and I think you have to be who you are,’’ he said. “If that comes out of me, then that’s what comes out of me. But, at the end of the day, you’ve got to be yourself.’’
A quarterback at Tennessee and Rice, Bates earned his first NFL job in Tampa under then-Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden. After two seasons as a quality-control coach, he was promoted to assistant quarterbacks coach. In 2005, he was the quarterbacks coach with the New York Jets in a year when they fielded five different quarterbacks, then landed in Denver under Mike Shanahan.
In 2009, he headed to USC as the assistant head coach/ quarterbacks coach under Pete Carroll. Then Bates followed Carroll to Seattle, where he was the Seahawks’ offensive coordinator in 2010. He was fired in January 2011 because of a difference in “philosophy’’ and didn’t coach anywhere last football season.
Bates doesn’t care to talk about the past or, frankly, the future beyond the upcoming season. Asked if he still has head-coaching aspirations, he said, ‘‘I don’t think you can look ahead like that.’’
‘‘You just never know what’s going to happen,’’ he said. ‘‘I think it’s important that, as a team, our goal is to win. And our goal is to win the Super Bowl. And if you leave it at that and you reach for that goal, then things fall into place.”
Coach Lovie Smith is counting on Bates’ familiarity with Marshall and Cutler to spark his offense.
‘‘Jeremy has a background, has a history,’’ Smith said. ‘‘He’s a good football coach. I knew that before, and I believe it even more now from seeing him work with our players. I think our guys will talk to you the same way about what he’s brought to the table.’’
Marshall said Bates ‘‘kick-started’’ him and Cutler.
‘‘He understood us,’’ Marshall said. ‘‘Personally and professionally, it was easy to work with Jeremy. That’s the philosophy I came from, and the philosophy I know.’’
NFL Network analyst Marshall Faulk hailed the addition of Bates earlier in the offseason.
‘‘I love what they’ve done by going to get Brandon Marshall; I believe the big move was bringing in Jeremy Bates,’’ Faulk said. ‘‘For a quarterback, you want to have a guy that you know, love and trust in your ear all of the time about what is going on, and it never seemed like that relationship between [former offensive coordinator Mike] Martz and Cutler really took off.”
Bates spoke glowingly of Cutler.
‘‘He’s still the same quarterback. Has a great arm,’’ he said. ‘‘I think the experience of any profession, or anything you do, the more times you do it, you grow with it, both good and bad. He’s definitely matured as a player, because he’s had good games and bad games, and you get better every game. So the more experience and the more snaps, you’re always going to get better at your craft.’’