Our friends at ESPNChicago.com spent a good part of Tuesday inspecting the nature and progress of the Chicago Bears' new offense. A few things to point out:
The Bears haven't spent much time this offseason on their running game, given the NFL's strict rules on offseason contact and, presumably, the absence of tailback Matt Forte. (As expected, Forte did not show up Tuesday for the first day of minicamp.)
Columnist Jon Greenberg was jarred by the harmony displayed by quarterback Jay Cutler and receiver Brandon Marshall. Greenberg: "Late in the 2 1/2-hour practice, away from the action, there was Cutler gesticulating proper body position on a route to Marshall. And the receiver, who knows a thing or two about how to catch a football, was listening. After all the trouble Marshall's been through, on and off the field, he's not only found a new family, but he's reunited with the best quarterback he's ever had."
During a radio appearance Tuesday on 1500 ESPN, my friend Judd Zulgad asked me what the Mike Tice offense would look like, referring to the Bears offensive coordinator. I corrected Judd and suggested Tice would administrate the Jay Cutler offense, and Cutler appeared to endorse that idea. Here's an excerpt from Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com:
"[The offense is] stuff that I do well," Cutler said. "It's stuff that I know. As a quarterback you want to be in the same offense over and 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.'
"A lot of carryover [from my time in Denver], a lot of stuff we did last couple years. It's kind of a mixture of some stuff Mike had done in his past, stuff Jeremy [Bates] has, and he learned even more in Seattle, so it's a mixture of a lot of different things."
Tice stressed the importance of taking input from Cutler as the team continues to grow in the new offense.
"Well, right now he's throwing every ball well, so it's hard to figure out what he's comfortable at," Tice said. "It looks like he's comfortable with everything that we've installed.
"But there are some things. The communication between the coaches and the players has been phenomenal. I've always found that sometimes the players have great thoughts, especially when they're very focused like our players are right now. They're trying to win. They're trying to play fast and explosive, play smart. So we're going to make sure that we put our players in positions to do well and not ask them to do things that we don't believe in as coaches or their body language is telling us that they don't like."
The quarterback is now even permitted to audible at the line of scrimmage, a practice that was taboo under the old Martz regime.
"That's the word [that I can audible]," Cutler said. "We did some [audible] stuff [on Tuesday], we've had a lot of OTAs. If we're going to look at stuff, now is the time to look at it and see if we like it and throw some stuff at the defense and throw some stuff at the wall and if it sticks we'll keep it. If not, we'll keep going."
Makes perfect sense to me. Give Cutler full investment in the scheme and see what he can do with it.
Have a pleasant evening.