Chicago, IL — Well it’s Sunday, so you know what that means NFL talk right? Now that most teams have started OTA’s it’s time to seriously start talking some football. I for one could not be happier since both the Blackhawks and Bulls are out of post season action. I won’t even sadden you with the Chicago baseball talk. What I find myself extremely excited over however, is the Bears.
For once I’m actually optimistic going into this season. I can’t wait to see a Cutler to Marshall pass. If this combo is half as good as they were together in Denver it should be a thrilling season for Bears fans. These two have not hooked up on the field since 2008 which seems like a long time but I have a feeling they will be on the same page in no time at all. Brandon Marshall met with the Chicago media and explained that both he & Cutler see the field the same way which, has got to be a plus. Flat out they just have chemistry together.
I don’t think I’ve seen Jay smile so much since he came to Chicago back in 2009. Not only is he paired back up with his boy BMarsh he has his old QB mentor Jeremy Bates along for this ride too. While this does not mean that they will be able to duplicate what they did in Denver one should be optimistic. Why? For the first time Jay Cutler will actually it seems to be having some input into the offense, particularly the passing game. Gee sounds like a good idea to me to have collaboration between coaching and key players. By giving the players a say in what they like and what they are good at it also gives them accountability and leadership which is essential especially for the QB position.
Finally, Jay’s patience has paid off. He is out from under the stifling tyrannical Mike Martz system. Quit honestly I’m not sure he could have survived another season with Martz and that O-line. Ron Turner had no clue how to run an NFL offense let alone how to utilize a QB’s skills to get the best out of them. Turner’s offense was too predictable and well boring.
At the helm of all of this is Mike Tice. Tice was a head coach with the Minnesota Vikings from 2002-2005 and will bring some elements of that offense and incorporate it into the Bears. That offense was quit successful during his tenure there. Look for a strong running game balanced with a high-flying long ball attack. He’s got the strong armed QB to pull it off and the bookend tall receivers to stretch the field vertically. Jay Cutler has already stated that they will be keeping some of the Martz offense and I’m sure Jeremy Bates will conjure up some of that old mile high playbook that worked for Jay back in 2008 as well and incorporating that.
The unknown factor is the rookie wide receiver Alshon Jeffery out of South Carolina of the highly competitive SEC. From all the scouting reports I’ve heard on him is he will either be a boom or a bust. The scouting reports all say that he is a big target that gets physical with defensive backs. He has good body control and attacks the football. He is said to be a good blocker as well which we can not under-estimate this could clear space for speedster Devin Hester. The knocks on Jeffery are that his speed is slow and has problems getting separation. Peanut Tillman should be good practice for him especially if peanut goes to strip the ball in practice of which he won’t go up against anyone better. The final knock on this kid is his work ethic isn’t the best. I can almost guarantee with Marshall and Cutler riding his ass he will have to step up his work ethic or incur the wrath of those two mega competitors.
Both Marshall and Cutler have given Devin Hester glowing reviews almost to the point of ad nauseum. I’m not sure if they are trying to give Devin confidence or they are completely blowing sunshine up his well you know what, and he won’t actually ever see the football thrown to him. I mean let’s be real we all know which receiver has the better likelihood of getting open on Sundays & he doesn’t wear #23. Don’t get me wrong I like Devin Hester and think there is a place for him in an offense. I’m now confident with Bates, Tice and Cutler maybe we will finally see Hester’s skills being put to proper use to stretch a field. If I never see another Hester bubble screen again it will not be a moment to soon.
Let us not forget old Mr. Reliable – Earl Bennett. If there is one criticism of Brandon Marshall it is he sometimes drops the football well that is not the case with Bennett. In critical points of the game when must yards are needed look for Bennett to have his number called with Hester and Marshall used as decoys and maybe getting a block from Jeffery. Bennett and Cutler have great chemistry together as well from their Vandy days.
All in all I am pumped to see this new Bears offense which should look a little familiar if you watched Jay in Denver at all. It will be a West Coast offense but look for those long bombs too. Let us not forget both Bates and Tice like using the Tight End in the passing games as well. Where is Greg Olsen when you need him? Oh yeah that’s right genius Martz could not use him. Well the Bears still have two TE’s Kellen Davis and Matt Spaeth. Look for both of these guys to get involved in the aerial assaults as well particularly Davis. If that were not enough target for Jay there is always the running backs out of the back field. All three of the Bears RB are very good pass catching backs.
The only concern I have is the same one we all have the O-line. Can they keep Cutler upright? We’ll have to wait and see. I’m not sure. What I do know is with Tice being an O-line guru he will put the O-line in the best possible position to succeed. There will be none of this ridiculous seven step drops for them to deal with which should keep them fresh. It’s hard to really tell what the O-line is and what it is capable of because of the Martz offense that they were being asked to run. I think Tice will make adjustments on the fly if need be and the offense they are running is not nearly as demanding on an O-line as Martz’s was.
Halas Hall has a new breath of fresh air about it on the offensive side of the ball. As a Bears fan I can’t wait for the season to start. No one can predicate if it will end with a Lombardi hoist but I bet it puts everyone in the best positions possible to achieve this. Tice is a man’s man and a players’ coach,as is Lovie on the defensive side of the ball. The players love playing for guys like them. Jeremy Bates was hyped coming out of Denver as being the next boy genius which should bring a dynamic on the offensive side of the ball the likes of which Chicago has not seen in a long time.
The Chicago media may have more reporting to do this year on Jay Cutler’s body language. This time instead of a sullen look and disinterest on the bench as the media loves to point out, he may actually be smiling and involved on the sidelines during games. Now that his coaches want his input rather than trying to dictate to him what type of QB he should or shouldn’t be. Funny how Cutler lets little things like that show and bother him. I mean reporters love having their bosses dictate to them stories to write on subjects they know nothing of or have any interest in right? I know I wouldn’t be to happy if it were me.
Let the Tice/Bates, Cutler/Marshall era begin and let the good times roll.