Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was a bit banged up and bruised days after battling it out with the Green Bay Packers on Monday night.
As hurt as he was, Cutler got some relief from the early advantage brought about by the Bears’ fresh offense.
The Chicago Bears are now 3-0 and the only unbeaten team in the NFC, with its offense providing its share of highlights under new coordinator Mike Martz.
“We’re growing, we’re still young, we’re still pretty young in this offense,” Cutler said. “I think Mike is still trying to figure out exactly where we’re at, what he can call in certain situations, what we can handle on a week to week basis as far as game-planning wise, what we can handle during the game, what he can go do, what doesn’t really work for us. So, like everyone is still kind of growing and gelling together.”
Even Martz isn’t sure how good the Bears’ offense can be.
“I really don’t know, and that’s the fun part of this,” he said. “There’s enough talent here, and it’s exciting because each week we continue to get better.”
The Bears seem to have no difficulty getting the big plays, with 12 completions for 20 or more yards tying them for fifth in that category. But when they needed a yard on fourth down at the goal line, like what happened against Green Bay or in the opener against Detroit—they couldn’t get it.
“I think we’ve seen glimpses of it,” tight end Greg Olsen said. “I think we have some guys who can make big plays, get some big chunk of yardage at a time. By no means are we a finished product. We still have some work to do and still be a little more consistent in areas. But I think at times we’ve seen that when we play well and execute the way we work toward, we have a chance to be pretty good.”
Cutler, the league’s fifth leading passer, has clearly fit in right into Martz’s offensive system so far. He’s averaging more yards per completion (9.6) than anyone, and his 109.7 rating trails only behind the Colts’ Peyton Manning and the Eagles’ Michael Vick.
Most importantly, he’s hanging onto the ball and has only two interceptions after throwing a league-leading 26 just a year ago. But, the one he threw in the first quarter against Green Bay also served as a reminder that the Bears remain a work in progress. So did the hits he absorbed early on and later in the game.
A head to head hit by the Packers’ Frank Zombio in the fourth quarter left Cutler a little dizzy which led to a USD7,500 fine fine from the league for Zombo. The incident also cancelled an interception by Green Bay linebacker Nick Barnett.
“Some of those you hope the next play is a run, but it doesn’t always happen like that,” Cutler said. “Those hits are tough when you take them in the head like that under the chin. And then you know you have got to get right back up, the clock is ticking, it could be a third down or it could be a second down and you just never know. That was kind of a crucial part of the game where we had to go down there and score so it’s just another challenge to the game.”
Whether they get where they want to be remains to be seen. It’s still early in the season to tell. But so far, what they have are promising signs, signals that says it could be an impressive offense if they progress as the season wears on.
The Chicago Bears are +200, second to Green Bay’s -175, to win in the NFC North Division; +600 to win in the NFC Championship and +1500 to win in the Super Bowl.
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