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Thursday, October 13, 2011
BBAO: Re-evaluating the Bears' capabilities

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

We're Black and Blue All Over:

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has professed unwavering loyalty to the team's offensive scheme from the moment Mike Martz arrived as offensive coordinator. But in the midst of a second consecutive year of physical punishment and uncertainty in pass protection, Cutler has finally said what many have feared: The pressure is getting to him.

Cutler told reporters that he is "hoping" to see Martz make changes to reflect the issues the Bears are facing. In comments I would be concerned about if I were a Bears decision-maker, Cutler implied the team doesn't have the personnel makeup to pull off what it's trying to do. (A sentiment I think many would agree with.)

"At a certain point you're gonna have to evaluate what you can do in the passing game and what you can't do," Cutler said, via Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com. "That's not up to me, though. I don't really want to be under pressure a lot. Physically, [the pressure is] not that big of a deal. Mentally, it just speeds up my clock. It just makes me uneasy in the pocket. Psychologically and mentally [it's more an issue] than anything [else]. I just don't want to take a sack, just [want to] try to get rid of the ball as fast as possible."

Speeding up a quarterback's clock is the hoped-for impact of any pass rush, and it's a primary ingredient in turnovers and other mistakes. Cutler has received criticism for his public deportment over his career, but I applaud him for voicing, in a non-critical manner, what seems like an obvious flaw in the Bears' scheme.

The Bears can't protect the quarterback well enough to do what Martz wants to do. They also don't have a crew of pass-catchers that can bail Cutler out of pressure situations. If they want him to play his best, they're going to have to find a way to pull back. That's much more practical than waiting for improvement from multiple players at different positions.

Continuing around the NFC North: