With the NFL Draft behind the Bears, the team and fans can start looking ahead to training camp. For the offense that means two things: Martz and Cutler. If nothing else, watching the Bears offense and the interactions between Martz and Cutler this season is going to be interesting.
Over the past several years we’ve been treated to a predictable, west coast offense run by Ron Turner. That offense wasn’t as bad as the laughable offense run by Terry Shea but it wasn’t very exciting to watch. Instead of using short passes to supplement the run as Turner did in the west coast offense, Martz’s Coryell-based system focuses on deeper passing routes, more wide receivers and timed routes. This will be a significant change from the west coast offenses Cutler has run in Denver and Chicago which makes the convergence of Coach Martz and QB Cutler even more interesting.
In Mike Martz’s system Cutler will be expected to learn an extremely large play book under his third offensive coordinator in three years. While known for being a hard working and intelligent player, Cutler will have to spend extra time working with Martz and his receivers this off season much as he did last year with Turner. Under Ron Turner, Jay was given run-pass options so he could audible from run to pass or pass to run depending on defensive alignments. In the new offense there is no audible option. A play is called and that play must be run. This will be an adjustment for Cutler and a potential cause for in-fighting between the two if the team struggles. Cutler is a confident quarterback who already believes he can read defenses and make the right decisions on the field. With Martz, he’ll have to trust that the new coordinator will make the right decisions even if Jay doesn’t agree.
Last season Cutler heavily relied on tight ends Olsen and Clark who combined for almost 80 receptions. With Martz there is no place for a top-level pass catching tight end. Cutler will use Hester, Bennett, Knox and Aromashodu more than ever this year and will have to trust that they’ll be in the right place when he delivers the pass. Whether they actually are there to receive the pass will determine the success of the offense this year. 2010 is going to be another interesting year for the Bears and, even with the addition of Julius Peppers, I expect all eyes watching year one of the new Martz-Cutler marriage.