Bears Fans Appreciate What They See in Jay Cutler and Good Coaching. I Hope.

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.

Biggs continues:

“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.

Martellus Bennett’s Status Probably Not Entirely About His Ribs

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions. This one is about whether tight end Martellus Bennett will be back with the Bears. The answer is telling:

“[Bennett has] been a good player for them and has been highly durable until a recent rib fracture landed him on injured reserve on Tuesday, a day after coach John Fox described him as day-to-day and two days after he finished the game against the 49ers. I’m not dismissing Bennett’s injury but it’s probably a combination of factors that led to the decision.”

The implication is, of course, that it wasn’t just the rib injury.

Who Would Replace Adam Gase? Probably Someone Good.

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions. This one is about whether the Bears will hire within if offensive coordinator Adam Gase leaves to become a head coach:

“If Gase departs, coach John Fox will have to consider what is best for the offense and is the best fit for his staff in 2016. Obviously, the quarterback has a lot to do with that but you can’t let one player dictate what you are going to do. Quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains would seem like a potential candidate. I wouldn’t be surprised if Fox considered former Titans and Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt. We’ll see what happens if Gase is hired as a head coach elsewhere in January.”

A few thoughts here:

  1. Gase is a good offensive coordinator but I feel compelled to point out that statistically the Bears offense isn’t that good. The Bears rank 20th in total offense and 25th in points. They’ve also struggled in the red zone. Don’t get me wrong. Gase has done a good job maximizing the talent he has available with a patchwork offensive line and patchy availability for most of his receivers for most of the year. But if I’m looking for a head coach, those statistics aren’t going to get me or my fan base excited. The favorites for head coaching jobs in November aren’t always the same ones that you see getting interviewed in January.
  2. Dowell Logains was Johnny Manziel‘s quarterbacks coach last year. Enough said.
  3. It seems likely to me at this point that Mike McCoy will be fired in San Diego at the end of the season. Should that happen, I would expect him to be a strong candidate here. Hes worked with Fox before and had enough success to get a head coaching job. He’d be a good choice.
  4. One of the most important jobs of a good head coach is to attract good assistants. It might be the most important job, especially if you are John Fox, who apparently gives his assistants plenty of room to do their jobs. Fox’s recent history has proven that he can do this. I think the odds are good that whoever he hires will be good for the team.