Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

Rich Campbell at the Chicago Tribune relays the text of offensive coordinator Adam Gase‘s responses to questions at the coaches’ press conference yesterday:

“On if he has a sense of how he can help Cutler, particularly when it comes to protecting the ball:

‘Well, I think he’d be the first one to tell you we’ve got to get better in that area. I know this: you don’t want to overemphasize it because then everybody starts thinking about it and the next thing you know, you start turning it over. I learned that lesson in 2013. We kept talking about it and talking about it, and we kept turning the ball over.

“‘So, one of the things we have to do is, you practice it in individual, and you let those drills work for you. And I think more times than not it works out the right way.'”

I’ll believe it when I see it. From what I can see, Cutler’s troubles with turnovers come from poor decision making and, to a lesser extent, from trying to throw with anticipation to the wrong spot, something he rarely tries to do anyway. I question whether you can coach a quarterback into making the right spur of the moment decisions in game action just because there’s a limit to how many of those situations you can (or should have to be able to) anticipate as a coach. Better preparation might help but I can’t imagine that it’s going to solve the issue.

One thing Gase can do is limit Cutler to safer routes. But that, of course, limits the entire offense and the poor progress moving down the field that the offense made seemingly in each possession last year is a testament to what happens when you have to do that too much.

Whether Cutler’s tendency to turn the ball over comes from an innate mental deficit or whether its something that can be coached out of him in his tenth season will be interesting to see. Here’s hoping it’s the latter. But I’m not holding my breath.

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