When was the last time the forward pass and the Chicago Bears were used in the same sentence? FOREVER! An oxymoron is a figure of speech that uses contradictory words…such as living death, or silent scream, or Bears passing offense.
The Chicago Bears record for passing yards is held by Erik Kramer when, in 1995, he passed for a staggering 3838 yards and a 60.3% completion rate as he threw for 29 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Truly exceptional numbers in Bear terms but in the 21st century, talented rookies are approaching those numbers in some instances. I thought about adding one of those lists of all the Bears QB’s in the past 10 years or so, but I just don’t have the time or inclination…just a yawn. Still I hold hope for an offense that is not offensive. For a day when I can proudly declare that the Bears passing attack is superior to that of the Vikings, Lions and Packers!
As Marc Trestman has installed the new offense, I have heard no mention of how difficult it is to learn. No mention of taking time to install. Not even a timeline for moving from simplification to complexity. All I have heard was how up tempo the offense is and how fast practice moved along. Truly exciting stuff for Bears fans. I predict that we will see the occasional no huddle offense at times that other teams don’t expect it. In the NFL, you are either applying the pressure or you are under pressure!
In both Martz’s and Tice’s offense, the delays in calling plays was maddening . When Jeremy Bates arrived, the Bears added him to the chain of play calling…truly unbelievable! Perhaps, most importantly, the slow play calling was a signal to me that our coordinators were not thinking far enough ahead and contingency planning. When a play is called, the next two plays should already be running across the mind of the coordinator.
Will we see Jay Cutler running to he line, yelling “Attack, Attack” in order to catch the opposing defense with too many guys on the field or out of position? I dare to think so. These are the kinds of things an offensive minded head coach who calls plays will think of. He will call plays that work and will call plays that set up other plays…slant, slant and slant & go for a TD for example. Successful runs will actually parlay in to play action passing. We will see this rather than just hear the words. Words are cheap and easy…show me I say! Actions are what counts.
Jay Cutler’s best year was 2008, with the Denver Broncos, where he amassed 4,526 yards and 25 TD’s with 18 INT’s. He threw for 62.3% that year as well. Cutler is a mobile QB with the potential to put up big numbers…he should have broken Kramer’s passing numbers several times already but has been throttled by lack of protection, lack of effective play calling and a lack of WR talent to throw to. No more, Bear fans, as the team just became a whole lot better in all of those areas and we will see the impact this year. Just hearing the reports coming out of OTA’s was enough to signal to me that the Bears offense is coming out of hibernation.
During the past few years, I listened to the Bears leadership say all the correct things about flexibility, attacking the opposing defense’s weaknesses, adjusting play calling to suit the players talents, moving the pocket when needed etc only to watch the team struggle with pass protection, seven step drops and predictable play calling. Heck, I often guessed what the team was going to run for a play from my recliner. That is not a good thing! Every incomplete first down pass was followed by a second down run. Expect that to change in 2013.
I expect Cutler to break Erik Kramer’s passing record this year. Expect Jay Cutler to pass for 4,500+ yards and over 61% pass completion rate. Expect 30+ TD’s with less than 20 INT’s. Expect big things from Cutler this year…short sets, and short passes followed by down field big plays. Cutler has too much talent and experience at this stage of his career to continue to underwhelm.
I also believe Emery and Trestman both think Cutler has the tools to get it done in Chicago as they made no move to bring in competition. Behind Jay Cutler, they have Josh McCown and Matt Blanchard on the roster. I did not care for so much cap space being used for last year’s back up QB Jason Campbell. A rookie can lose games just as easily as an overpaid veteran. That move had the feel of a Lovie Smith reaction. There are very few teams in this league that can win consistently with a back up QB in the game so I’d rather see the Bears invest in offensive lineman that can pass protect.
The battle for the #2 QB spot between Blanchard and McCown may be closer than many fans know. Blanchard is an impressive looking QB with good arm strength and has shown accuracy as well. My surprise prediction is Blanchard taking the #2 spot behind Cutler in 2013.
It seems every year that this team creates excitement with various moves and this year is no different. Emery, Trestman…Bear fans are anxiously awaiting the unveiling of a potent offense in Chicago. Will this year be the year of the Bear?