Jay Cutler couldn’t be happier with offense built for him
BY NEIL HAYES email@example.com June 12, 2012 9:54PM
Updated: July 14, 2012 6:39AM
D.J. Moore intercepted Jay Cutler during minicamp practice Tuesday. Cutler retreated to the sideline, where he spoke to Brandon Marshall, Devin Hester and Earl Bennett in serious tones, gesticulating about how a route should be run. A few seconds later, Cutler started laughing so hard his helmet, which had been pushed to the back of his head, almost fell off.
It was the latest sign that we might finally be seeing the real Jay Cutler. The player we’ve watched for the last three years has been an impostor, somebody brought in to execute somebody else’s idea of what an offense should be, even if it doesn’t maximize his skills. But with his former offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates now the quarterbacks coach and with Marshall finally giving the Bears a legitimate No. 1 receiver, Cutler could be approaching the kind of comfort zone he hasn’t experienced since leaving the Denver Broncos.
This isn’t Mike Martz’s offense or even Mike Tice’s. This is his offense, which is as it should’ve been all along.
“It’s stuff that I do well,” Cutler said of the new offense. “It’s stuff that I know. As a quarterback, you want to be in the same offense over and over and over again so you can get a good feel for it and so you know all the nuances. This offense, I was in it three years in Denver, so this is my fourth year in it. I’m very comfortable with it.”
Every conversation about Cutler begins with a caveat. Anything is possible if the offensive line protects him for a change. The new offense should take pressure off the left tackle, and the return of 2011 first-round pick Gabe Carimi should help, but there’s no guarantee this group can protect Cutler the way an elite quarterback needs to be protected.
If Cutler doesn’t have to constantly avoid slobbering defensive linemen, the Bears could have an offense the likes of which they haven’t seen since Clark Shaughnessy was drawing up plays.
“We want to get rid of the ball,” Cutler said. “The ball is going to be gone. We want to get it to the playmakers. We want to get the ball to Devin, Brandon and Matt Forte and get it out of my hands as fast as possible. That’s probably something that we’re going to work really hard on in training camp and those preseason games.”
Think about it from Cutler’s point of view. In Bates, he has the coach he has had the most success with. In Marshall, he has one of the league’s top receivers. He has known Bennett since college. Marshall, Bennett and Hester have played with Cutler almost 10 years combined, which might be why Tice said communication has been off the charts.
“Everyone’s not going to walk around like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, everyone responds differently,” Marshall said of his new/old quarterback. “With Jay, he’s really fiery, he’s really passionate, but at the same time, he can have a little fun on the football field.”
When is the last time it looked like Cutler was having fun playing football? More often, he looks like he’s trying to pass a kidney stone out there.
Cutler is even calling audibles, which he wasn’t allowed to do under Martz. He has been more outspoken in recent interviews and has agreed to do a weekly hour-long radio show.
Imagine, Jay Cutler, media darling.
“I’m in my fourth year here, everything is a little more comfortable, and I’m comfortable with my surroundings,” he said.