By Adam Hoge-
HALAS HALL (CBS) No matter who the Bears find to replace Lovie Smith, the franchise is going to make a concerted effort to improve the offense.
With that in mind, the team will also have to make a big decision on its starting quarterback. Will general manager Phil Emery hire someone to work closely with Jay Cutler or does he have a different quarterback in mind for the future?
At this point, it doesn’t appear that Cutler is a big priority when it comes to finding a new head coach. Asked Monday if he would like to be consulted on coaching candidates, the quarterback said he would “stay out of it.”
“I don’t really want to get wrapped up into it and I don’t think they are going to ask me,” Cutler said.
Don’t be misled, the head coaching vacancy and Jay Cutler’s future in Chicago are significantly intertwined. He has one year left on his contract and an extension doesn’t appear to be top of mind right now.
Asked Monday if he would like to have his contract assessed in the offseason, Cutler didn’t say yes.
“You know, we got a lot of guys in the next couple years up for contracts,” he said. “We’ll see how it plays out. I think first and foremost their concern is going to be with finding coaches and we’ll address it from there.”
In other words, the future head coach won’t be based on the current quarterback. The future quarterback will be based on the new head coach.
Cutler knows that.
For now, the quarterback will stay out of the coaching search and continue to say the right things about the man in charge.
“(Emery is) always doing a lot of scouting,” Cutler said. “He’s a grinder and that’s kind of what got him this far. Once you’re around him just even a little bit, he exudes confidence and you know he’s going to make the right decisions.”
As for his former head coach, Cutler said he feels like he let Lovie Smith down.
“Absolutely. I take a lot of pride in the way I play and offensively we didn’t show up in the last four years for him and a lot of that blame is going to be on me,” Cutler said. “As soon as I heard he was fired there was instant regret on what we could have done and what we should have done offensively.”
At this point, the Bears’ quarterback sounds like a guy who knows he has lost his leverage. Asked if he thought his hand-picked quarterback coach, Jeremy Bates, would be retained, Cutler said simply: “I doubt it.”
Meanwhile, there’s little doubt offense will be at the focal point of Emery’s coaching search.
There’s just no guarantee that offense will include Jay Cutler.
For more Bears coverage throughout the season, follow Adam on Twitter at @AdamHogeCBS.