Jay Cutler 'comfortable' with offense
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Entering his seventh NFL season, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler feels at ease with the new offense the club installed in the offseason under new offensive coordinator Mike Tice.
"This is the most comfortable I think I've been going into a camp with the offense and what we are doing scheme-wise and the talent around me," Cutler said on Tuesday." You can say this is the most comfortable I've been."
The Bears made several upgrades offensively in the offseason, starting with a trade to reunite Cutler and wide receiver Brandon Marshall. While the two were teammates in Denver from 2006-08, Marshall, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, posted a pair of 100-catch seasons ('07, '08) before Cutler got shipped to Chicago in 2009.
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"I think we're both a little smarter football-wise," Cutler said of his current relationship with Marshall. "We've both been in some different systems. We know what we dislike and what we like a little bit more. Watching film from Denver it seemed like we were just running around at times, just going off the cuff. Brandon is a much more polished receiver which makes it fun for me."
Besides Marshall, the Bears signed running back Michael Bush and used a 2012 second-round draft choice on wideout Alshon Jeffery to bolster offensive depth. But Cutler also spent the offseason getting reacquainted with new Bears quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates. With Bates as his position coach with the Broncos in 2008, Cutler went to the Pro Bowl after passing for 4,526 yards.
"Jeremy has come in and helped install some stuff we did in Denver, some stuff that I'm really comfortable (with). Mike Tice has got a really good feel for what I like to do, of how to put guys in position to be successful. I'm happy with it. There is still some tweaking and stuff we have to do to make sure everybody is on the same page but the offseason work we've done so far has put us in the right direction.
"I think that's Mike sole objective is to put guys in position to be successful. He wants to attack defenses but do it smartly. He wants to find ways where we can put our best player against one of their worst players. That's something we are going to try and do week in and week out."
There is the question of how Cutler's relationship will be with Tice, the quarterback's third offensive coordinator since he arrived in Chicago four years ago. A former head coach in Minnesota and 15-year NFL coaching veteran, Tice spent the last two seasons working with the offensive line while Cutler dealt with former offensive coordinator Mike Martz.
Cutler believes the two will be on the same page.
"That's a good question," Cutler said. I've seen Mike explode on guys, I've seen Mike pull guys to the side and talk to them quietly. I think Mike does a really good job of knowing what you need, what type of player you are, if you're a yell-at-them type of guy or a pull-them-aside guy. He can coach me however. I think we are all in it for the same reasons. He's excited about this offense and so am I. It's just going to be a matter of working together and (reaching) some common ground on stuff.
"I've had everything growing up. I've had guys spit in your face, scream at you and I've had guys who talk to you quietly. The longer you play this game you just tune it out and listen to what they're saying not how they're saying it."