Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune writes on the problems the Bears face with their available receivers constantly changing week to week:
“‘The word trust comes in,’ [Eddie] Royal said. ‘Sometimes the timing is not going to be there but you still have to play. You have to trust that the guy is going to be in that spot when you throw the ball. Jay [Cutler] has done a great job doing that, knowing where the guy is supposed to be and trusting that he is going to be there because a lot of throws are timing throws.”
He certainly has. And its a very notable improvement.
I have claimed for years that Cutler’s major problem has been that he doesn’t trust anyone. This is particularly damaging when he doesn’t trust his receivers because it prevents him from throwing with anticipation, relying on the receiver to be in the right spot at the right time. It’s one of the major reasons Cutler has developed over time as a “see it, throw it” player who relies on his arm strength to get the ball to a receiver in the short window of time after he is open instead of throwing it before he is open.
But Cutler has been doing considerably better this year in that respect and its one of the major factors in what is turning out to be perhaps his best career year ever.
“The [rotating receiver] predicament has made it difficult for opposing defenses to predict how the Bears are going to attack them in the passing game on a weekly basis. It also has prepared the bottom of the roster to contribute, something that should pay off when the group is finally healthy. That’s what the Bears are trusting in.”
It cannot be said enough what a treat Bears fans are being served this year through the results of great coaching that they have been privileged to observe. Top to bottom the Bears are maximizing production at every position week to week, including those that have seen heavy injuries like the offensive line and the wide receiver position.
Coaches have done a wonderful job working around these deficiencies through good game planning. For instance, an emphasis on quick throws has relieved the pressure on the offensive linemen and the Bears have relied on the tight ends and running backs Matt Forte and Jeremy Langford as receivers more than ever.
But at least as important, players like Marc Mariani who have previously been literally nobodies in the league have been emerging to help the team win games that their talent indicates they shouldn’t even be close in.
This must be what its like to be a Patriots fan every year. Only Bears fans are likely to appreciate it more since they see it so much less. Or at least I hope so.