Empowerment is one of those buzz words you hear around the office in corporate America. It’s what happens when your boss stops micromanaging you and gives you some autonomy; the ability to make some decisions for yourself. He’s not looking over your shoulder; not scrutinizing every decision.
There’s a fine line between empowerment and over-powerment. First, let’s listen to Jay Cutler’s comments after Wednesday’s OTA.
It seems like the Bears have handed the keys to the Caddy to Cutty and just asked him to fill it back up with gas before he returns it. I like my players relaxed and at ease, confident but not cocky. I am getting a little nervous that the Bears may have over-corrected a bit after the Mike Martz experience.
Giving Cutler input on the offense is great. The ability to check out of a play was sorely needed. Getting him some bigger targets at wide receiver? Long overdue. The Bears brought in Jeremy Bates to be his quarterbacks coach. Cutty and Bates are old buddies from Denver and they have a great rapport:
“I think Jeremy has a really good feel of what I like to do and what I don’t like to do,” Cutler said. “There were plays out here today that I told him I don’t like, let’s think about getting rid of them. He’s fine with that and Coach Tice is fine with that.”
What I hope to avoid is Cutler getting too comfortable. Comfort leads to complacency and that doesn’t lead to Super Bowls. I like my players to be held accountable, not to be dumping plays out of the playbook. I like my players to be a little hot under the collar. I think they play better when they’re pushed; when they’re challenged.
David Haugh alluded to the idea that Cutty could get a new contract before Matt Forte gets paid. Will that keep his intensity and focus? Everyone wants to laud the Cutler-Marshall-Bates triumvirate. You know what they did when they were in Denver? They finished 8-8. That’s not going to get it done in this division.
Make no mistake about it, this is Jay Cutler’s team now. It’s not Brian Urlacher’s or Julius Peppers’ or Lovie Smith’s. Those guys are still keys to the Bears’ success, but the pendulum is swinging from a defense-first, we’re going to beat you 13-10 type of team to a we’re going to outscore you 31-21 kind of team.
Besides that whole offensive line thing, the Bears have gone out of their way to put Jay Cutler in a position to succeed for the first time since he joined the team. The moves the Bears have made this offseason were to put the power in Cutler’s hands. To quote Abraham Lincoln, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Can Cutler handle the power?