RedEye

Cutler on board with Trestman, but for how long?

Jerry Rice is a Hall-of-Fame receiver, the greatest ever. Some people would argue he’s the greatest football player, period.

That’s not the point of this piece, but Rice’s credentials, which include the most touchdowns in NFL history and three Super Bowls, are mentioned here to underscore the idea he knows offense.

He also knows Marc Trestman, having worked in his game plans in San Francisco and Oakland. Rice had big seasons in both places under Trestman, so he knows Trestman can direct an offense. His big question, however, is whether the new Bears coach can command the locker room.

There are several parts of that act. One involves following Lovie Smith, a coach who was fired after going 10-6 and inspired blind loyalty in his players, especially on defense.

"Marc Trestman is a very smart coach and I got along well with him," Rice told CBSSports.com.   “But I think some of the guys are going to challenge him. How he responds to that will play a very important role in future and the future of that team.’’

One week after saying not everybody bought into the new regime, Jay Cutler smirked his way to announcing that “100 percent’’ of the Bears had bought in.

Funny thing is, in Rice’s world, it’s not whether Cutler buys in, but will he stay in?

We’ve seen and heard this cooing bromance between Cutler and his offensive coordinator before. Like, every time the Bears give Cutler a new one. So, predictably, everything is everything with Cutler and Trestman and the offense right now. Everything is everything when nothing is really at stake. Like, games that matter.

We’ve seen what happens when games matter. Cutler can go all Cutler on play-callers. Sometimes F-bombs get dropped on offensive coordinators. Other times, the quarterback vacates a spot on the bench as soon as the OC sits down. Pottymouth stuff, childish acts --- some leader, huh?

Cutler’s bratty history and Trestman’s civility is the combination that mattered to Rice.

“Marc Trestman is one of those coaches who isn’t confrontational, and I don’t know if a player will use that as an advantage,’’ Rice said. “He might be having this good relationship with Jay Cutler right now because everything is not heated. But what happens when it is?’’

And I have just the scenario when the Cutler landmine goes off:

Trestman has been talking up Cutler’s ability to spread around the ball to the weapons that are more abundant than ever since Cutler whined and pouted and held his breath until he turned blue to get traded from Denver. Spreading around the ball is what Trestman’s West Coast style is all about. It’s also terrific to hear Trestman note the way Cutler is throwing away the ball, making the smart play instead of helping himself get sacked, and after nearly 150 sacks the last several years, it’s about time Cutler showed some discipline and smarts.

But understand, all of this supposed progress in Cutler doesn’t count much because Brandon Marshall has missed almost every practice while recovering from hip surgery --- hip surgery that was required, by the way, because he was the only target to whom Cutler threw, even if Marshall was triple-teamed.

There’s your Cutler-Trestman flashpoint: Will Cutler still spread around his passes when Marshall is on the field for his usual number of snaps?

There are several compelling reasons to doubt it.

First, Cutler and Marshall have a thing working going back to Denver, and it works to the point that Cutler is happy enough to throw the ball up and believe Marshall will come down with it, and Marshall always seems to, and that’s a hard habit to break.

Second, Cutler isn’t long on patience with people or game plans. He thinks he can fit a pass into any opening on the field. So, it will be somewhat life-changing to see him methodically dump off passes or take the first quick read while waiting to strike down field. Again, this matters most when Marshall is on the field because Cutler will be required to show the discipline not only to wait, but also to go down field to someone other than his boss fave wideout.

If Cutler can defy his profile, then the Bears indeed have Phil Emery’s franchise quarterback. If not, then Cutler will become someone else’s “franchise’’ quarterback.

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Chicago sues red light camera firm for $300 million

    Chicago sues red light camera firm for $300 million

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration has sued Chicago's former red light camera operator, Redflex Traffic Systems, for more than $300 million on grounds the entire program was built on a $2 million bribery scheme at City Hall that has already led to federal corruption convictions.

  • Marrow's 'The Gold Standard' raises the Chicago rock bar

    Marrow's 'The Gold Standard' raises the Chicago rock bar

    The four musicians in Marrow know quite a bit about bringing diverse influences to the table. After all, three of them, singer-guitarist Liam Kazar, singer-keyboardist Macie Stewart and bassist Lane Beckstrom were in Kids These Days, a now-defunct septet that combined jazz, funk, rap and rock in...

  • The Kids These Days family tree

    The Kids These Days family tree

    From its 2009 beginnings to its 2013 demise, Chicago's Kids These Days seemed like one of the most promising acts the city had seen in years. While the band split up at the height of its hype, its members have since gone on to do bigger and better things—seriously impressive considering the hip-hop/rock/jazz...

  • Solid 'Gold': How ex-Kids These Days members came back stronger as Marrow

    Solid 'Gold': How ex-Kids These Days members came back stronger as Marrow

    After the dissolution of Kids These Days, the much-buzzed about Chicago fusion-jazz-rock-rap septet that split in spring 2013 just a few months after releasing its only album, “Traphouse Rock,” some of its members spent what seems like all of 20 minutes bandless. "We were driving back from the...

  • Mr Twin Sister's 'In the House of Yes' is one of last year's hidden treasures

    Mr Twin Sister's 'In the House of Yes' is one of last year's hidden treasures

    Welcome to RedEye's "Song of the Day," an ongoing feature where music reporter Josh Terry or another RedEye staff member highlights something they're listening to. Some days the track will be new, and some days it will be old. No matter what, each offering is something you should check out. Check...

  • GrubHub's weekend customer-support issues made people hangry

    GrubHub's weekend customer-support issues made people hangry

    Technical difficulties at GrubHub and Seamless over the weekend drove hordes of hangry would-be customers to air their grievances on social media. The food ordering and delivery sites, which merged in 2013 and use GrubHub’s back-end technology, errantly accepted payments on Saturday evening without...

Comments
Loading
78°