Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Cutler hopeful Bears' offense can do more
By Jeff Dickerson
Jay Cutler figures to play at least a quarter against the Chargers on Thursday.
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman has a simple goal for the offense heading into the second preseason contest Thursday against the San Diego Chargers.
"You always want to see points," Trestman said. "That would be No. 1. We want to score."
Quarterback Jay Cutler and the Bears' starting offense played just 10 snaps last week at Carolina, and although the unit failed to put the ball in the end zone, Cutler did finish 6-of-8 passing for 56 yards after tossing an interception on their first offensive snap of the game.
With the starter expected to be on the field for at least one quarter against the Chargers, Cutler is hopeful the Bears will be permitted to show a tad more on offense.
"I hope so," Cutler said. "We're going to get some game-planning this afternoon, but still it's the preseason and we're still figuring out exactly what plays we like and what we're good at so we're not going to be game-planning like your regular week. We'll do a little bit tonight, some tomorrow, then we'll strap it up and play and hopefully some of that stuff pairs up nicely for us. If not, then we'll just have to work around it and figure it out and watch it on tape."
Cutler emphasized that the offense remains a work in progress. The Bears will wrap up the Bourbonnais portion of training camp with a light walk-through on Wednesday before heading to a renovated Halas Hall for the remainder of the preseason.
"I don't know ... it's a new offense," Cutler said. "It's different guys. I don't think you can really say we need to be here, we need to be there. It's just, there's too many variables. We're definitely getting better. I think guys are getting more and more comfortable with the offense. It's just one of those things you've got to come out every day and pick out one thing and try to get better at it."
Trestman said one improvement he plans to make this week is to give tailback Matt Forte more opportunities to carry the ball. Forte rushed just once Friday, losing 1 yard, as Cutler audibled out of several running plays at the line of scrimmage -- a freedom the quarterback enjoys in Trestman's offense.
"Getting Matt a few carries to make sure he is comfortable running again (is important)," Trestman said. "He got very few shots last week, so we'll try to do a little bit more with him, give our guys a chance to pass protect and throw the ball up the field a little bit."
The Bears had their share of difficulties protecting quarterbacks Cutler, Josh McCown and Matt Blanchard, surrendering a total of seven sacks to the Panthers' defense. Veteran J'Marcus Webb's blown blocking assignment that resulted in Cutler being thrown for a 6-yard loss late in the first quarter led to the Bears inserting rookie fifth-round pick Jordan Mills into the starting lineup at right tackle for the Chargers game, along with fellow rookie Kyle Long, who is slated to start at right guard.
"Last Friday was Game 1, preseason, which always looks rusty in the blocking schemes," Bears offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer said. "It wasn't as tied down or as tight as we need it to be, technique was not as good. We blocked the right guys, but technique was not where it needs to be. It needs to improve, and we'll do that."