Mullin: Bears gettingsending mixed signals?

Mullin: Bears gettingsending mixed signals?
September 29, 2011, 4:42 am
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Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011
Posted: 11:19 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com Bears Insider Follow @CSNMoonMullin
Mixed signals result in false starts or worse on an offense. For an offense lacking identity and production, some of the disparate cadences coming from Halas Hall are both puzzling and concerning at this early tipping point of the 2011 Bears season:

Receivers

Against Green Bay, Bears wide receivers struggled at times with bad Jay Cutler passes and their own bad hands. Or did they?

Off. Coord. Mike Martz: The wide receivers are playing much faster, good routes. Their game has really been elevated.

GM Jerry Angelo, on the team website ChicagoBears.com: The receivers have hit a plateau so far but its still early.

Offensive line

It wont go down as the most enthusiastic endorsement by a quarterback of his offensive line. Cutler said Wednesday that he indeed had confidence in his offensive line. Sort of.

Cutler: Yeah, I dont have a choice. Those are the guys weve got to go with, and weve got to get them ready, and Ive got to believe in them (which is not quite the same thing as saying he actually does believe in them).

You talk to any quarterback, whenever youre getting a lot of pressure and youre getting flushed and youre getting hit a lot, that clock in your head is going to be tinkered a little bit, Cutler said. Its going to start ticking a little bit faster.

That could well be. But while pressure has an obvious impact on passing offenses, its effects on Cutler are harder to assess conclusively.

In his 2008 Pro Bowl season with the Denver Broncos, Cutler was sacked 11 times. He completed 62.3 percent of his passes. In 2010 Cutler was sacked 52 times. He completed 60.4 percent of his passes.

Against the Atlanta Falcons in week one, Cutler was sacked five times. He completed 68.8 percent of his passes.

Martz: The offensive line did a terrific job Cutler was very pleased with the protection.
Jay Cutler

Cutler missed badly on a number of throws in the Green Bay game. In the first half alone he threw a poorly aimed interception, overthrew Devin Hester and Roy Williams, and threw twice behind Dane Sanzenbacher at the goal line when he was not particularly under pressure from the Packers front. He was not sacked in the first half.

Cutler: Even sometimes when you do have a good amount of time, youre going to be feeling it even if its not there. So its a constant battle. The more consistent we get up front and the more time I have, and the more comfortable I feel, the more consistent Im going to get.

In this instance the various parties do appear to be on the same playbook page. Cutlers protection ostensibly is in place.
Angelo: In our last two games, penalties, dropped balls and protection have all played a part in the lack of consistency, Angelo told the team website ChicagoBears.com (http:tinyurl.com6d5vpf8).

Restricting the offense

The Bears were 11-5 last season. Within that, the record was 7-2 when a more conservative offensive approach was adopted and some restrictions were put in place, in the form of cutting back on certain elements that werent working.
Matt Forte (prior to the start of the season): The offense in general was restricted a little bit in both running and passing games. We were shifting around linemen and trying to get everything under control and making it fit.

But now, with an offensive line missing two starters, a new center, a left tackle moved over from right, and a starting wideout (Williams) conceded by all to still need more acclimating to Cutler.

Martz: No, no. Cutting back is probably the worst reaction you could have. Youre telling players that you dont have confidence in their ability. Thats what youre saying.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

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