- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler never called former offensive coordinator Mike Martz inflexible, but the way he described the new atmosphere at Halas Hall on Wednesday left little doubt he does not miss the old offensive regime.
Cutler called the current situation at Halas Hall "a breath of fresh air" after the club's second session of organized team activities, and he explained how his history with new quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates -- with whom he worked in Denver -- plays a role in the construction of the new offense.
"I think Jeremy has a really good feel for what I like to do and what I don't like to do," Cutler said. "There were plays out here today (where) I told them, 'I don't like them. Let's think about getting rid of them.'
"He's fine with that and (new offensive coordinator Mike) Tice is fine with that. So it's a give and take, and that's a breath of fresh air around here; being able to give ideas. Everyone gives ideas and let's pick the best ones that work for everybody."
By the end of last season it had become clear that Martz wasn't planning to make changes to a system that contributed to the team surrendering 105 sacks over two seasons. So after a meeting between Martz and head coach Lovie Smith, the sides decided to part over philosophical differences.
Cutler said there's some carryover from last year's system. An NFL source said Chicago will utilize the passing game of the 2008 Denver Broncos, which makes sense considering Bates and Cutler operated out of that system in '08 with new Bears receiver Brandon Marshall. The Broncos ranked No. 2 in yardage that year.
It appears the Bears will pair those principles in the passing game with a power-running scheme devised by Tice, who has extensive expertise in constructing some of the league's most dominant ground attacks.
"We're doing a little bit different stuff. We're carrying over some stuff from last year," Cutler said. "So it's kind of a mix between last year and Coach Tice and Jeremy just putting their heads together and finding the best answer for this football team.
"We didn't want to completely overhaul things. But in the passing game we definitely wanted to make some key changes, not only to help me, but to help the offensive guys and put them in positions to be successful."
Veteran offensive lineman Chris Williams, who worked Wednesday with the starters some at left tackle, marveled at how quickly the unit was taking to the new scheme.
"We have a little bit of everything, and it's only our second day of install," Williams said. "We're slowly building."
Having thoroughly examined the success they experienced in '08 in Denver, Marshall still goes over film from those days and shakes his head lamenting youth and the accompanying missed opportunities.
"When I look at film now, I think we were terrible, and I say that humbly," Marshall said. "We were just young and immature out there on the field, not understanding the big picture of the offense and the game itself. To see where we're at now, where our football mind is now, it's going to be really dangerous. I'm excited to really fall into this offense with a new mind."
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