Quarterback Jay Cutler says that even though the Bears’ offense hasn’t “put together four quarters yet,” it has been “getting better and better.” | Charles Rex Arbogast/AP
Updated: November 20, 2013 6:12AM
The Bears still are selling their offense as an unfinished product. They call what they’re doing offensively “a process.” They see “progress” and “strides” being made, and they constantly say they’re still “finding ways” to move the ball.
“We haven’t put together four quarters yet,” quarterback Jay Cutler said.
Is that encouraging?
“That’s a glass-half-full approach,” Cutler said. “I like that. I’m a fan of that. We’re getting there.”
The notion that the offense can and will be better is the most encouraging aspect about the Bears. But what’s missing? What’s preventing that from happening?
It could be a case of what’s expected to be a high-octane offense under coach Marc Trestman missing some high-octane-caliber plays.
But big plays don’t really matter to Trestman. It’s the method to get points that count.
“We’ve had some big plays, and we’ve taken our shots,” Trestman said. “I don’t get too caught up in that. I get more caught up in why didn’t we finish drives. Why didn’t we finish three drives last week [against the New York Giants]?
“One we had a penalty and couldn’t recover. We had two negative plays on screens, and we couldn’t get it done. We missed on a fourth down and couldn’t get it done. It’s those types of things — if we’re not completing drives, why aren’t we completing them? How we get down the field isn’t quite as important.”
But that doesn’t mean Trestman doesn’t want big plays.
“It certainly helps to use the entire field vertically and horizontally, and our offense is put together to do that,” Trestman said. “I’m not sure where we are [as far as big plays in the league]. It’s another good question to answer after the bye week and see where we are.”
Where the Bears are is 12th in the league with 20 completions of 20 yards or more and seventh with five runs of 20 yards or more.
So their big-play potential has shown up, even though Trestman and Co. say they’re still working on their offense, even as it averages more than 28 points a game.
A matchup against the Washington Redskins’ defense — which is giving up just under 400 yards per game — could mean even more fireworks for the Bears. On top of that, they’ve had extra time to prepare for the Redskins after playing
Oct. 10 against the Giants.
“We’ve made some plays when we had to, [but] we leaned on the defense in the fourth quarter in the Giants game and they came through for us,” Cutler said. “It’s give and take. But we can be happy with the progress we’ve made offensively and the strides that we’re [making].”
If anything, the Bears have proved to be more explosive than last season, when they had only 39 passes of 20 yards or more and only 11 runs of 20 yards or more.
Forte has runs of 55 and 53 yards this season. In 2012, the Bears had only two runs of 40 yards or more — 46-yarders by Forte and Armando Allen. They also had only six completions of 40 yards or more in 2012. Cutler has hit Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall for gains of 58, 44, 42 and 41 yards this season.
“We’re getting better and better,” Cutler said. “We’ve got a lot of good guys on the outside. The way the offensive line’s playing, we just got to keep it simple and get the ball to those guys efficiently because the way we’re blocking it’s making things easy for me.”