Rift Raft between Jay Cutler and Mike Martz proves beneficial

Bring back the old tapes of Ditka jawing with McMahon and Harbaugh on the sidelines!

“I’m a competitor. So is [Martz],” Bears quarterback Jay Cutler said Wednesday. “So is everyone on this offense. Whether we are up three touchdowns or three points, a second- and third-down call is as important as any one in the game. It is what it is. We’re good. We’re moving on.”

The relationship between Cutler and Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz can be summed up in one word: competitive.

It’s that competitive nature/fire that fuels both parties to succeed in putting up points.

Both sides have their fare share of stubbornness, yet, that doesn’t disregard the fact that this up & down QB/coach relationship yields fruit – even if it also yields disaster at times.

There’s proof, judging by the production from last week’s offensive fireworks – 39 points, Cutler going 21-31, 267 yards and two touchdowns.  Even better, zero interceptions.  For those keeping score at home, that’s eight scoring strikes compared to only four picks – good for a 2:1 TD to INT ratio.

“I’m not going to make a big deal of it,” Cutler said. “It’s not a big deal. We’re all on the same team.”

Apart from the bad language, you have to love the way Cutler goes about his business.  He understands the big picture.  He knows that in order for the passing attack to thrive he has to have a short memory.

This is part of the reason why you can understand Cutler’s knack for expressing his anger on the field; he’s just a competitor who wants to win, as he can care less about anything else other than the main goal.  It can come off shrewd sometimes on the field, but I want a winner, not someone who poses for the cameras and adores the media.

“They have cameras everywhere now,” Cutler said. “That’s the media. That’s how it is these days. They’re going to try to create stories and try to find anything to make something out of nothing.”

Rather than continue on, trying to make something out of nothing, let’s make a story about how the Bears adjusted their offensive game plan against the Vikings.

Let’s go inside the numbers to take a look:

  • On the 32 plays when Cutler either dropped back or lined up in shotgun during Sunday night’s win against Minnesota, the Bears protected him with six or more blockers 75 percent of the time.
  • The Bears used seven blockers seven times, including on both of Cutler’s touchdown passes, and used six blockers 17 times.
  •  The Bears used only five seven-step drops.  On those plays, the Vikings had their only sack (Cutler fumble) of the night, the Bears had three incompletions and two completions that failed to gain first downs.
  •  The Bears used the five-step drop 16 times. They also ran four three-step drops and lined up in the shotgun six times.
  • Successful pass to run ratio: 31 to 28.

In the end, it was a simple strategy Martz called for Cutler to execute in order to help out the struggling line.

“We managed them,” Cutler said of his five-man protection group. “A lot of five steps and play action, left some extra guys in, shift a little bit. Whenever we help them out like that and get the ball out of my hands it’s going to be easy on me. It’s not that difficult. Our game plan was really solid this week and we need to be very judicious going forward with what we can do and can’t do.”

It’s a good thing Cutler and Martz had a pow-wow to get things taken care of.  Without it, possibly Caleb Hanie would be starting under center this Sunday against the Bucs in London.

The more Cutler pushes Martz to adjust, the more Martz will expect Cutler to make every third-down pass; whether the team is up three points or by 20 points.  It’s the roller coaster ride of two egotistical, yet, demanding competitors who will do anything for results.

It’s a competitive relationship that will continue to propel the Bears offense to newer heights, especially if they want to hang with the potent offenses of the pass-happy league they participate in.

You saw how things worked out for McMahon and Ditka.  Keep fighting Jay, keep clawing Mike – the competition is reckless and your competitive mentalities will form the only avenue in which you can attack it.

Food for thought: Dating back to last season, including the playoffs, the Bears have scored at least 30 points in the last six games they’ve won and seven of the last eight. They are 0-6 in the last six games they’ve scored less than 30.

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