Thumbs Down: Jay Cutler Concerned about O-Line

Notice the clean pocket that Jay has to plant and throw? (Photo via Chicago Tribune)

Jay Cutler made an appearance at a Chicago school on Monday to help raise awareness on diabetes and also raised awareness on the new offense. The reviews were mixed. Let’s start with the thumbs down; Jay’s not sold on the offensive line:

“You know, the offensive line is definitely going to be a concern and seeing where those guys are going to fit in and seeing what five we go with,” Cutler said when asked a general question about the excitement for the upcoming season. “If Gabe [Carimi] comes back, if J’Marcus [Webb] pans out. Where are we going to put Chris Williams? There are some question marks there. Until we really get that resolved and get our front five settled in, we’ve got some work to do on offense.”

That’s about as true an assessment as you’ll get out of Halas Hall. Lovie Smith and Mike Tice will continue to sell you on the pieces that are in place and they’ll be fine and Phil Emery gives you undrafted free agents, but the guy at the trigger is concerned. Asked if the change of system from Martz’s system would help, Cutty didn’t back down:

“It helps,” Cutler said. “It’s not a cure-all by any means. They’re still going to be asked to protect. There are going to be times it’s third-and-8, it’s third-and-10, we’re going to have to take seven steps, we’re going to have to have a longer route, and they’re going to have to protect.”

This comes on the heels of the news that Chris Williams is likely moving back to tackle.  With the Bears cutting unproven tackle Levi Horn and letting Frank Omiyale go via free agency (did you ever think I’d be pining for Frank Omiyale?!?!), they’re left with Carimi and Webb.  Carimi is still rehabbing after knee surgery, so they’re a little thin at the position to say the least.  Lance Louis also has some experience at tackle and there is a dearth of guards, so it’s quite possible that Chris Williams will be competing with J’Marcus Webb for that left tackle spot he’d been drafted to anchor back in 2008.

It wasn’t all thumbs down from Cutler. According to Sean Jensen, he looked “lean” and was generally upbeat.  Jeremy Bates was a little more positive about Cutty and the prospects for the new offense.

“He does a good job of keeping his eyes down the field and making plays, so we’re going to take advantage of that,” Bates said of the possibility of Cutler rolling out more. “He’s a good athlete — a great athlete — so we’re definitely going to get him out in space and try to make some plays.”

Cutler would welcome that.

“I love to,” he said of rolling out. “We’re doing a lot of stuff we were successful with in Denver and kind of going back and looking at that film and incorporating some of the things we’ve done here in the past. So it’s a lot of give and take.”

What do you think? Are we all too excited about the new weapons like Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery and forgetting the nuts and bolts of the offense, the protection? Can the Bears’ offensive line as currently constructed get the job done?

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