By Adam Hoge-
HALAS HALL (CBS) – At one point during Wednesday’s OTA, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler went over to new quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates after an unsuccessful play and voiced his displeasure with something. Bates shook his head in agreement and wrote something down in his notebook.
It was the type of conversation that simply did not happen a lot last year when Mike Martz was in charge of the offense and Cutler made it clear after practice how happy he is with the new offense led by Mike Tice and Bates.
“I think Jeremy has a really good feel of what I like to do and what I don’t like to do,” Cutler said. “There were plays out here today that I told him I don’t like, let’s think about getting rid of them. He’s fine with that and Coach Tice is fine with that.”
Cutler clearly has more input on the offense, the kind of an input a franchise quarterback should have.
“It’s a give and take and that’s a breath of fresh air around here, being able to give ideas, everyone being able to give ideas and let’s pick the best ones that work for everybody,” he said.
It also helps having big receivers like Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffey, the kind of guys Cutler has not had since arriving in Chicago in 2009.
“It changes things,” he said. “Where you can throw the ball, when you can throw the ball. Those guys are getting better every day.”
The experience Cutler has with Marshall was evident on the field. The way they interacted both during plays and in between plays screamed of a duo that has worked together before. Both guys think they can be even better together than they were in Denver because of their maturity.
“He’s a different guy in a good way,” Cutler said. “He’s a good influence on the other guys.”
When people bring up Cutler and Marshall together, they often bring up the 2008 season when the Broncos offense was second in the NFL. Surprisingly, though, Marshall said they weren’t that good back then.
“When I look at film now, I think we were terrible and I say that humbly,” the wide receiver 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 goign to be very dangerous.”
Praise For Hester
While Cutler was eager to praise his new targets, he was also insistant on praising Devin Hester, a familiar offseason tune Bears fans have grown tired of.
“Devin Hester is probably having the best camp of all the receivers,” Cutler said. “We have a lot of weapons. Management is going to have tough job figuring which five six guys we want to keep.”
Brandon Marshall agreed with Cutler and took the praise even further.
“I love Devin,” he said. “I’ve never been around a guy who runs routes like that outside of those numbers. I’ve played with a lot of great receivers and this guy has great feet. Of course we know what he’s capable of with the ball in his hands and especially on special teams, but as a wide receiver, I think Coach Bates and Coach Tice have a great feel for what he’s capapble of doing and putting him that position. I honestly think he’s going to have an All-Pro this year at wide receiver and I’m just going to ride along and enjoy with him.”
Cutler doesn’t think Hester’s role in the offense should be diminished.
“I don’t think less plays is the answer for him. I think we are just going to put Devin in position to be successful every time he is out there,” the quarterback said. “He’s getting more and more comfortable with me and I think this offense suits his abilities a lot better.”
No Forte, No Problem
It’s a wait-and-see game with running back Matt Forte, who is a no-show at OTAs while he negotiates a longterm contract with the Bears.
While he’s out, Michael Bush is receiving the majority of reps and the Bears don’t seem to worried about the time Forte is missing
“Bush is doing a good job out here for us,” Cutler said. “We all know what Matt can do for this offense. We all expect to have Matt at some point. I don’t think anybody in this building is worried about Matt coming here and doing we what we expect him to do. When he gets here he’s going to step right in and fill that void.”
Concern About Williams At Tackle?
Cutler hasn’t been very shy regarding the offensive line this offseason and that continued Wednesday. Asked about Chris Williams moving back to tackle, Cutler said:
“That’s the move that upstairs wants to make and we got to go with it.”
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