Lovie Smith took umbrage Wednesday when asked if the Chicago Bears would be good enough to compete for a playoff spot in 2010. “That’s not our goal, to compete,” the Bears coach said after Chicago Bears’ 13th and final practice at organized team activities (OTAs). “We have the same goal we have every year, and that’s to win the Super Bowl.”
Lovie Smith took umbrage Wednesday when asked if the Chicago Bears would be good enough to compete for a playoff spot in 2010.
“That’s not our goal, to compete,” the Bears coach said after Chicago Bears’ 13th and final practice at organized team activities (OTAs). “We have the same goal we have every year, and that’s to win the Super Bowl.”
The Bears haven’t made the playoffs since 2006. There hopes to get back rest largely on new offensive coordinator Mike Martz and how well quarterback Jay Cutler grasps Martz’s high-octane passing game.
“We think it’s going to be something special,” Smith said.
The Bears thought Cutler was going to be something special last year. Instead, the quarterback who threw for 4,526 yards and was a Pro Bowler in Denver led the NFL in interceptions in Chicago.
Now he’ll be asked to do even more under Martz, whose offenses have traditionally ranked near the top in the NFL in passing and near the bottom in rushing.
But that doesn’t mean it places an extra burden on a quarterback. It may just give him more freedom.
“He simplifies it for the quarterback,” Cutler said. “Once you understand the offense, once you understand the concepts of what we’re trying to get done, he takes a lot of the audibles out. You’ve got to identify the defense and react. As hard as it is, once you understand what you are doing, it simplifies itself.”
And it is hard. Cutler said learning Martz’s offense is far more difficult than switching teams last year.
“You have to try and picture the play in your head when you are walking up to the line,” Cutler said.
But Cutler has embraced the new offense wholeheartedly.
“I love it,” he said. “There’s a lot to like about it. The ball is in the air. We’re doing some great stuff in the run game. It’s personnel based. We’re trying to get guys open. We’re trying to find spaces for them, trying to create match-ups. Mike does a great job with that.
“It makes you want to come to work every day. He is so creative. He is doing fun stuff. He is finding ways to win. That’s all you can ask for as a player, to have a coach who loves football and does everything possible to put you in a position to be successful.”
An offense that relies on Cutler may make it easier on Cutler by letting Cutler help himself.
“Jay is a special athlete in a unique and special offense,” Lovie Smith said. “You have to love that. He’s been excited from Day 1, getting a chance to work with Mike. And Mike has been excited about him. Now we’re getting a chance to see it all come together on the field.
“You talk to all of the receivers; most of them have a smile on their face. Most of the tight ends do. Our running backs. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
“We’re not ready for the first game — no team is. But we like where we are at this stage. We are exactly where we want to be going into training camp.”
Matt Trowbridge can be reached at 815-987-1383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.