Arkush: Bears offensive analysis after cuts – Cutler could shine

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by riczaj01, Aug 31, 2013.

  1. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    http://www.hubarkush.com/2013/08/30...nalysis-after-cuts-cutler-could-shine/ar1mcq/

    Arkush: Bears offensive analysis after cuts – Cutler could shine
    By HUB ARKUSH – harkush@shawmedia.com - Friday, August 30, 2013 7:28 p.m. CDT

    Chicago's Charles Tillman and Jay Cutler lead the Bears out of the tunnel for pre-game warm ups prior to the start of Thursday's game with Cleveland at Soldier Field. (H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com)
    As we now survey the playing field and see who's left standing on the Bears 53-man roster, it is more than worth noting that the Bears commitment to upgrading the offense has extended well beyond the hiring of Marc Trestman as the head coach.

    When Trestman stated after the Browns game that he expected Kyle Long and Jordan Mills to start versus the Bengals, the 2013 opening day lineup was set. That only four offensive starters from 2012 – Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall and Roberto Garza – will start this season is far more than a footnote.

    But it is only significant if Tony Fiametta, Alshon Jeffrey, Martellus Bennett, Jermon Bushrod, Matt Slauson, Long and Mills are better from day one than the players they replace, and if the Bears have the talent behind them to fill in adequately in the event of an injury.

    Let's start with the obvious.

    Alshon Jeffrey appears dramatically improved over where he was last year as a rookie, and is a much greater threat at the position than either Devin Hester or Earl Bennett were depending on which you count as last year's starter.

    With Bennett now your number three, and the promising Marquess Wilson and Joe Anderson along with dependable veteran Eric Weems behind him, this team is definitely better at wide receiver. Of course, that assumes Marshall can repeat last season.

    With the numerous different personnel packages Trestman will have his offense in, you really have to lump the fullback, Fiametta, in with the remaining tight ends to evaluate them. Fiametta is a better lead back than anyone they had in the h-back spot last year, so he appears to improve the ground game significantly.

    Clearly Bennett brings more to the tight end position than Kellen Davis, Matt Spaeth or Evan Rodriguez ever did, but Steve Maneri and Kyle Adams add little comfort as backups or in two tight end schemes.

    The Bears are better here than last year, but don't be at all surprised if they find a veteran or two on the waiver wire to bring in for a look-see to compliment Bennett.

    The greatest hope for a dramatic improvement on offense comes from whether Jay Cutler finally will realize his enormous potential and that his near completely new offensive line will allow him to do it.

    Like the tight end and wide receiver spots, there is no question the additions of Bushrod and Long ratchets up the talent on the O-line. But how long it takes Long and Mills to learn their craft, and whether or not Slauson is actually an upgrade over James Brown, Lance Louis or Gabe Carimi, is still very much an open question.

    The offensive line will be better, but will it be good enough?

    Depth is extremely thin everywhere on offense, but that fact is epidemic in today's NFL. This group could proably stand one big hit at wide receiver or offensive line as long as it doesn't come to Marshall or Bushrod.
    Running back is probably the offense's greatest strength, as Michael Bush could start for a number of clubs and Michael Ford looks like a bit of an upgrade over Armando Allen.

    Like most NFL teams, the one place the Bears absolutely cannot afford an injury is quarterback. Remember the Bears found Josh McCown two years ago exactly where they found Jordan Palmer and Trent Edwards two weeks ago. And in fact, at no point this preseason did McCown play as well in a game as either Palmer or Edwards did against the Browns.

    I'm not at all convinced that the competition that didn't happen between McCown, Palmer and Edwards in camp won't be started a few weeks down the road with McCown and either Palmer or Edwards brought back.

    This much is for sure. If the O-line can block, Cutler now has everything he needs to take a quantum leap forward, and no more excuses not to.
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  2. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    well I can assure you that the O is going to be crap b/c as the self appointed site's know it all will tell you, Hub Arkush doesn't know shit ;p.

    This is a solid article and a good breakdown. I disagree that WR isn't a depth position though, not many teams can talk about having a 1, 2, and then a full compliment of 3-4's and a legit TE and 2 legit RB's. Most teams are lucky to have a 1 and a 2(hell the Bears didn't even have a 2 for the longest time). The weapons that Cutler has at his disposal have to be right up there at the top compared to every other QB right now. My only real concern is Bennett going down; they better hope they find a real player on the scrap heaps.

    I also agree that the OL is improved, but it lacks in depth, and there is a real question of how improved b/c of 2 rookies starting on the right side. I still would have been happier w/Bushrod/Long/Garza/Slauson/Mills(at the time Webb or whoever). That way the rooks have some experience to help them out next to them....but at this point it is what it is.

    "And in fact, at no point this preseason did McCown play as well in a game as either Palmer or Edwards did against the Browns.
    I'm not at all convinced that the competition that didn't happen between McCown, Palmer and Edwards in camp won't be started a few weeks down the road with McCown and either Palmer or Edwards brought back."
    ^^^^This 1000 times. How sad is that our backup got outplayed by a couple guys off the street who had, all of about 2wks to prepare when McCown had OTA's, TC and PS. McCown was AWFUL, and honestly he was getting outplayed by Blanchard to boot; dude is terrible and I hope Hub is correct and they bring in Palmer or Edwards to compete w/this schlub, and hopefully take his job.

    His last line is also true, for Cutler and Forte both, if this OL is even average compared to other NFL OL's then both should have career years.
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  3. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    I used to hate reading Arkush. But in recent years I do pay attention to him for the reason that he's not going to cut the Bears any slack - and when he DOES write something positive about the Bears, then there must be "something" truthful there. Does that make any sense? In other words, when I read an article like this, that is pretty positive, then there is something for Bears fans to take notice of.

    I think this 2013 Bears team has a shot at unseating Green Bay as division champions this year. It's not a slam dunk that we will, but we have a shot. The team has gotten a LOT better than I would have dreamed possible. If you would have told me 6 months ago that the team would be where it is today, I wouldn't have believed it. But we are MUCH more improved, and in a relatively short span of time.

    This team is pretty good now, and with game reps these youngsters will be getting better and better each game. And the entire roster will be getting better as they settle down in the new schemes & get more comfortable with the new players and playbooks.

    It really is an exciting time to be a Chicago Bears fan. I'm pumped.
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  4. MPbears68

    MPbears68 Pro-Bowler

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    I'll say it again....THE DOOR TO THE DIVISION IS OPEN.

    Remains to be seen whether the Bears walk through it or fumble away the opportunity (injuries, underperformance, etc). Emery and Co have put together a very solid and well-balanced team. We have legit starters at almost every position. Great D, good STs, and finally an O (players, coaches, the whole enchilada) that holds legitimate potential to be middle-of-the-NFL or even better. Cutler must BALL and not throw dumb picks like he has too often in the past.

    We are a little thin on OL, as many teams are. Other than keeping Boggs on the practice squad there's not much more that can be done about that until '14. Emery needs to keep drafting an OL every year to shore up the depth chart. I would feel better about this if Scott were healthy. I know he's nothing special but he's it behind Bushrod.

    We also need a 2nd pass-receiving TE from the waiver wire. There's gotta be something available this weekend who's an upgrade over Adams. If cap space is an issue, cut Weems for crying out loud already. He's more of a luxury than a backup TE who can actually catch and add something on O.
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  5. 4dabers

    4dabers Veteran DBS Writer

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    I am so fed up with crap like Hub's last line:
    "This much is for sure. If the O-line can block, Cutler now has everything he needs to take a quantum leap forward, and no more excuses not to."
    Here Hub, let me fix this for you:
    "This much is for sure. If the O-line can block, Cutler now has everything he needs to take a quantum leap forward, and THERE IS NO REASON not to."

    There is a difference between an excuse and a reason. So Hub, and all you talking head Cutler haters out there, IF the line IS better and Cutler has reasonable time to throw, and IF the receivers catch the damn ball when it hits them right in their hands, then Cutler should do much better. Well, what if Cutler IS much better as some of us expect. What if Cutlers offense averages 30 points on it's opponents this year and what if he ends up with a QB rating around 100? Will you admit you were wrong about the guy, or will all the credit go to Trestman as the "QB Talker" that could even make a screw up like Cutler look good?
  6. The Benjamin

    The Benjamin George Halas Staff Member

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    Sorry 4DaBers.. But reasons and excuses are pretty much the same thing.

    Sure, the O-Line may be the REASON Cutler has failed, but mentioning the line as the REASON is also using that as an EXCUSE.
  7. The Benjamin

    The Benjamin George Halas Staff Member

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    It would be like Cutler having an accident, injuring his arm and playing anyway.

    "My arm hurts after getting in that accident, so I was unable to play up to my normal expectations".

    Sure, the injury is the reason, but it is also an excuse.
  8. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    JABF, I never had an issue w/Hub, there has been a very good reason for the local and national media to be critical of the Bears, I didn't look at what they said as hating or ignorance, merely saying what was wrong....could it go overboard ya, but these guys are paid to have strong takes so it's going to come off that way. Hub has been critical of the O the last several years, not just the OL but the qb and the wr talent and the OC's and their coordinators and he's been proven pretty damn accurate.

    But I agree, when a guy that has shown he's willing to critisize the team I listen a little more closely when they say something really positively.
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  9. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Ric, I agree completely with that. There is a solid reason why Hub - and for that matter, the national sports media, gives us very little love. We have underperformed so many times. In big games, in front of a national audience we often find a way to embarrass ourselves. We haven't won a championship since 1985. We've shot ourselves in the foot so many times I've lost count.

    Yet us fans get angry with the national media when they simply call us out. We call them haters. Yet really, they are just being truthful. I often figure that the sports media guys who hold the Bears feet to the fire - are a "good thing" because the Bears often need to feel some heat. Otherwise we'd still have Angelo/Lovie/Tice type teams forever. Crap.

    Hub has been one of those guys who I hate to read his stuff - not because he's inaccurate, but because in my heart, I've known he's often right about the Bears. The truth often hurts. But I do read his stuff regularly anyway. It's often a "reality check" for me.

    If the Chicago Bears want guys like Hub to give them some positive press - then they'll have to begin EARNING it. These 3rd place finishes in the NFC-N don't prove much. Gotta actually WIN something. Prove something.

    I'm with ya on this one.
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  10. 4dabers

    4dabers Veteran DBS Writer

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    Sorry Benj, you are wrong about the whole "reason" and "excuse" and there are multiple places on the internet to google the difference. I'm not going to go on a tangent here. However, I will say, if we recognize that the Offensive line over the last three years was, in fact, one of the problems for Jay Cutlers play, then it is a reason, not an excuse because Cutler has no say or input in building, selecting, correcting ot even coaching the O-Line. There are several ways to explain the difference, but there is a difference.
  11. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    4da, but the OL isn't the sole reason, and when people claim that JC has no problems other then the OL, or WR or OC then they do become excuses.
    For instance, if the OL was so bad, why did Jay insist on holding onto the ball longer then just about every other QB in the league? At that point the OL, while a problem is actually worse b/c of the QB, the QB did not help them become better. And Cutlers holding onto the ball was in fact a problem, it's a statistcal fact that he held onto the ball longer then, I believe, all but 3 or so qb's, or maybe 1/3rd of qb's, regardless he's still holding onto the ball to long.

    Were the WR's a problem, yes, but when Cutler is holding onto the ball before the WR makes their break, he does them no favors, as the catch becomes that much more difficult since the D has already reacted to the break. And that is also a known problem, Cutler wants to throw to an open WR, not throw to the spot the WR is to be. So again the is the qb making an already sub par wr group better? No. so again you have a qb who gets the excuse that the WR's were no good.


    So in these two instances you can have both a reason and an excuses. The reasons are valid, but to then abdicate any blame of Cutler makes them an excuse; and far to many Bears fans have left Cutler blameless in the issues of the offense.
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  12. MPbears68

    MPbears68 Pro-Bowler

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    Lets put it this way.....reasons/excuses (whatever you want to call them) are in the past. I don't expect Cutler to suddenly become "clearly elite" but he MUST play better especially when it comes to decision-making and ball security.
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  13. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    MP, that that's the jist of the article. IF this OL can even be average(and there is still reason to question that) then there is zero reason for him to have the same issues he's had in the past.
  14. MPbears68

    MPbears68 Pro-Bowler

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    I agree, Ric. Maybe I'm being overly-optimistic but I believe Cutler will elevate his game due to:
    A) Trestman/Kromer being >>>> Lovie & Co as offensive coaches
    B) Playing for a contract ($$$ talks, fellas)
  15. The Benjamin

    The Benjamin George Halas Staff Member

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    All reasons are excuses, but not all excuses are reasons.
  16. Xa0sG0rilla

    Xa0sG0rilla Veteran

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    MPB said:
    I would add that fewer third and nine or more yards to go situations will also help Jay elevate his game. When a QB has to throw 15-20 yards to make the next first down, he probably has to hold the ball longer to allow time for the play to develop.
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  17. 4dabers

    4dabers Veteran DBS Writer

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    OK, I hate when threads are sidetracked from the original subject simply as a result of semantics. I stand by what I said and I still contend there is a very real difference between a reason and an excuse, but I'm not going to debate that issue here. As a result, I will change my above post to read as follows:

    There is a difference between an excuse and a reason. So Hub, and all you talking head Cutler haters out there, IF the line IS better and Cutler has reasonable time to throw, and IF the receivers catch the damn ball when it hits them right in their hands, then Cutler should do much better. Well, what if Cutler IS much better as some of us expect. What if Cutlers offense averages 30 points on it's opponents this year and what if he ends up with a QB rating around 100? Will you admit you were wrong about the guy, or will all the credit go to Trestman as the "QB Talker" that could even make a screw up like Cutler look good?

    My Whole point is, Cutler has been called a quitter, a cry baby, over rated, and any number of crappy names that have been unwarranted simply because sports writers and other media types don't like his attitude toward them. Because of their hate, they ignore valid reasons for much of his lack of success; so, will they finally give him credit when a real NFL offense takes the field, with an adequate Offensive Line, a real offensive game plan, and a real receiving corp, or will he still be reviled by the media with all credit going to the new coaching staff? I'm not suggesting Cutler is perfect by any stretch of the imagination, I never have. He makes some of his own problems as well, just as most QB's do, but those that have blamed him for many of the O's ills should also be prepared to give him credit when things start happening.
  18. MrDynamite32

    MrDynamite32 Veteran

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    I'm not gonna get into the whole reason vs. excuse thing; that's a whole new topic altogether, but I will say that for as many people that absolve Cutler of any blame, there's just as many people that only blame him. While Cutler's not the only problem on offense, he's not the biggest problem, either. Bottom line, the whole thing's a mess and it's not that simple to paint the offense's woes under one brush.
  19. The Benjamin

    The Benjamin George Halas Staff Member

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    Not a Cutler hater, just not a Cutler apologist.

    If he fails on the field, I am not going to point fingers at who is responsible for his failure. In the words of Peyton Manning after his 5 INT game against the Falcons last year "The ball is in my hands, the blame falls on me", not his exact words but that was what he said.
  20. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    Mr.D, I won't doubt that, but the problem comes in when neither side will admit the others point. I, and Benj have often said that the OL/WR/Coaches are problems, just not the sole problem, and no one will back off the edge of it's not Cutlers fault.

    Regardless, Cutler has a real, legit, chance to shine in this Offense, and if he doesn't I will not hear anymore of the reasons/excuses. He's not the only one w/a sub par OL, or taking a ton of sacks, he's not the only one that ever had to deal w/a less then stellar weapon selection, but he's constantly performing below average, and if he cannot work w/out elites at every level, then he's just a slightly better then Rex Grossman or Kyle Orton and I hope the team doesn't feel the need to pay him 15-20 mil a year.

    IF he can perform at a extremely high level then I hope h they pay him whatever it takes to sign him.
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