- Kevin Seifert, NFL Nation
- 0 Shares
Let's take a moment to review.
As the Chicago Bears' offense collapsed last season, then-injured quarterback Jay Cutler made a nuanced plea for schematic continuity without directly endorsing the return of offensive coordinator Mike Martz.
A month later, the Bears replaced Martz and promoted offensive line coach Mike Tice into the role.
A few weeks after that, the Bears hired a quarterbacks coach whom Cutler once endorsed for Martz's job and is obviously a personal favorite. Jeremy Bates was one of the Denver Broncos' offensive assistants during Cutler's time there.
On Feb. 20, Cutler spoke openly during an ESPN 1000 interview about his desire for a big receiver and specifically acknowledged his continuing friendship with Brandon Marshall, who at the time was a member of the Miami Dolphins. Tuesday, less than an hour after the NFL's free agent and trading period opened, the Bears acquired Marshall for a pair of third-round picks.
What Jay wants, Jay gets.
In all seriousness, I know some of you will think that new general manager Phil Emery and coach Lovie Smith have gone out of their way to placate, suck up to and otherwise make their quarterback happy. But I wouldn't look at it quite that way.
What the Bears have done is take most every step available to maximize the huge investment they made in Cutler in their historic 2009 trade for him.
It's fair to expect an elite quarterback to raise the production of those around him, but the Bears hadn't given Cutler much to work with since his arrival. They traded away his best receiver, tight end Greg Olsen, and hoped he could make it work with former college teammate Earl Bennett, a kick returner trying to play receiver in Devin Hester and a raw speedster in Johnny Knox. Last year's signing of veteran Roy Williams proved a laughably inadequate response to their positional weakness.
It's also fair to expect a quarterback to find common ground with his coordinator, but Cutler has now bid farewell to two of them in his three-year Bears career. The hope now is that Cutler can resume his lockstep relationship with Bates, and get enough flexibility from Tice, to eliminate the red tape and bureaucracy that has stifled the team's offense at times in recent years.
There is no such thing as a perfect environment in the NFL, and it's worth noting that pass protection has probably been the single biggest issue the Bears offense has faced since Cutler arrived. Regardless, the Bears have surgically repaired much of the ruins around him.
Cutler has been reunited with his favorite coach and top receiver, and frankly it's on him to make it work. The Bears have reinforced their commitment to their franchise quarterback. The rest is up to him.