Cutler helping Enderle learn Bears' system
CHICAGO -- Life is difficult for every quarterback attempting to learn the Mike Martz offense.
Now imagine being a rookie fifth-round draft choice out of the University of Idaho without the luxury of voluntary offseason workouts, OTAs or minicamps.
Welcome to Nate Enderle's world.
As ESPNChicago.com previously reported, the Bears rookie quarterback began participating in the team's unofficial offensive workouts this week, the first step towards trying to pick up some of the offense before the Bears officially begin training camp once the NFL lockout ends.
"I knew it was really important for me to start throwing the routes they were going to have me throw, and start to get the basics of the offensive down ... the terminology, the formations and motions, things like that," Enderle told ESPNChicago.com Thursday evening. "That way I can come into camp with a moderate amount of knowledge about what we run."
For most rookies, getting to know the veterans is just as important as getting to know the system. Enderle describes his initial meetings with Bears starting quarterback Jay Cutler as extremely positive. Cutler, according to Enderle, has gone out of his way to try and ease the rookie's transition to the NFL.
"[Jay Cutler] was one of the first guys who texted me and told me that they were throwing," Enderle said. "He was very helpful. He said I could stay with him if I didn't have a place to stay. Everything he's done has been very helpful to me.
"They've all been really helpful. You never know what to expect when you join a new team, but the guys are great and helping me as much as they can. They try to teach me things in the short time we have. I felt good [throwing]. It's the same routes the team had me throwing on Pro Day and at the NFL Combine, so I was a little more adjusted to the types of throws they are going to ask me to make."
Perhaps Enderle's only regret is that he wasn't able to join the workouts sooner -- Cutler and fellow quarterback Caleb Hanie began throwing to the skill position players in May. A minor mix-up caused the quarterback to arrive on the scene in late June, but he did keep busy on the University of Idaho campus in the months following the draft.
"I got a heads up they were [holding workouts] but I didn't know it was a continual thing," Enderle explained. "I thought they were doing it one week, and that week I couldn't get down there. So I never attempted again, but once I found out they were still doing it, I got my ticket and got here as soon as I could.
"[Before that] I'd head into the Idaho weight room and work out then find somebody there to throw with. We had a few other guys on the team that were trying to play professional football, so whenever they were in town, I'd round them up and throw with them. Basically, I tried to do what I had done the few couple weeks of summer while I was playing for Idaho because I never went home in the summer, I'd just stay up there and do my own thing for a few weeks before conditioning started."
Whether or not Enderle's participation in the workouts causes him to perform better in training camp is unknown. After all, the Bears are conducting these sessions without defenders being present. But it can't hurt, that's for sure, especially since the entire 2011 NFL draft class is operating at a disadvantage because of the lockout.
"Whatever help I can get I'm going to take it," Enderle said. "If there is a chance it's going to make me more successful, I'm going to try that. It's a tough step to take the NFL, and you need to be prepared, because I have less preparation time. Everybody else has more experience than I have, they had rookie camps, OTAs, all that stuff to get the offense installed in your head. I just have training camp. But that's just one thing everybody that got drafted this year is going to have to work through."