Martz on cutler on his way to 'very elite
Martz to Cutler critics: Let it go
Offensive coordinator says QB plenty tough, on his way to 'very elite'
INDIANAPOLIS — Mike Martz shook his head as he tried to comprehend why people continue to attack Jay Cutler.
Despite the dramatic improvement the Bears offensive coordinator saw in Cutler, the topic of conversation always seems to revert to how the quarterback let the team down in the NFC championship game and wasn't "tough enough'' to finish the contest after suffering a second-degree knee sprain.
"I don't know why people want to dog pile this guy,'' Martz said of Cutler. "I don't get it. He's a tough guy. He wants to do everything right.''
Striving for perfection is one thing. Going out and playing flawless football is another, and Cutler was far from the top of his game the last time he took the field. He was noticeably out of sync even before he injured his left knee against the Packers.
"That last game, he didn't play as well as he can,'' Martz said. "That happens. Why does Brett Favre throw five interceptions in a playoff game? It happens.
"We're all going to have to learn to let it go. He's a young player learning how to play. And he had never been in that environment before in his career, and he'll deal with it right next time.''
Martz also is annoyed with people who dissect Cutler's demeanor. Some still question why Cutler looked unenthused as he sat on the sideline nursing his sore knee.
"Let me ask you this: When you look at the tape of those guys that got injured for Green Bay in the Super Bowl, did you look at their body language? There's no difference,'' Martz said. "They're dejected because when you get injured in a big game like that, it's devastating."
It might be a while before Cutler and Martz see each other, depending on what progress is made toward a new collective bargaining agreement. But even if the two could get together today, it wouldn't involve Cutler exerting himself on the field.
"No,'' Martz said when asked if Cutler had starting working out. "The knee is not even close yet. I haven't seen him for a while because he's been out of the country, but we just have to make sure that thing is really healed before we start doing anything.''
Once Cutler gets back on the field, a large part of the emphasis will be on mechanics. Martz laughed when told that one former NFL quarterback recently reached out to an independent quarterbacks coach and urged that coach to work with Cutler.
"We do coach the heck out of him, despite what others might say,'' Martz snapped. "And I have been doing this for 39 years, so I do think we know what we're doing.
"A quarterbacks coach? That's what I am. That's what I get paid to do.''
Martz said from the moment he arrived last year, he and Cutler worked extensively on mechanics. For six weeks last offseason, they worked on drops without Cutler throwing a single pass.
"He comes from kind of a gunslinger, undisciplined kind of a mode in college,'' Martz said. "And then they used him a lot out on the edge in Denver. So what we do with the time throws, it's a little new to him.
"All those guys I've had in the past, their footwork should all pretty much look the same. They're all consistent. And Jay does a great job with it. There are times in game, though, that he doesn't.''
Martz is confident Cutler eventually will break his bad habits.
"He's going to be in the very elite of this league,'' Martz said. "He's on his way. He'll be fine.''