15 on 6: Cutler, Bates could form lethal duo

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15 on 6: Cutler, Bates could form lethal duo

I have mentioned new Bears quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates in previous blogs as a coach of interest for the Bears. Bates was an up-and-comer under Jon Gruden for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002 as an offensive quality-control coach. I liked him immediately.

Jay Cutler is correct in his assessment of Bates, when he said hes a grinder who loves football and is fiercely competitive. Do not let Jeremys age fool you. The tail will not wag the dog in Chicago. Bates is opinionated, knows what he wants offensively, and how he wants it executed. He is pure football.

If Im a Bears fan, I wouldnt get caught up in titles too much concerning why Bates wasnt hired as passing-game coordinator. That is all it is, a title. Bates and Cutler already have established lines of communication that will be rekindled from past success. Their history together will bode well. Bates knows Jays strengths and weaknesses and how to coach Jay to get the most out of him.

It is not like these two have to start from square one where youre trying to be open in a new relationship like Cutler was with Martz. They know where each other stands offensively and will look to hit the ground running by working to improve, rather than gloat on the past. Bates is demanding, gruff and doesnt mince words. There will be no gray areas that go uncoached.

Mike Tice and Bates do not have a background together other than being in the coaching fraternity. Bates will prove to be a valuable asset to Tice, because he is a coach who personally knows how to utilize Cutlers skills and will look to improve them. He will be a tremendous, valuable resource for Tice to tap and coincide with what he already knows about Jay.

Again, Bates and Cutler have history together. They can discuss plays, how they attacked defenses together, and much of that feedback will be implemented in current gameplans for the Bears passing attack. Cutler is far enough along to offer his opinion of what he likes and dislikes.

In terms of being one-and-done in Seattle, it relates more to Matt Hasselback than any failures by Bates. Hasellback had been in the west-coast Offense his entire career under Mike Holmgren. There were certain principles in the offense, I believe, Matt felt very strongly about over years of experience executing the system. Bates arrived in Seattle with his own set of beliefs in the system under Gruden and Mike Shanahans tutelage as well.

Yes, it is the same offense but areas of emphasis and how it is executed normally morph under whoever is calling the plays. Hence, the statement philosophical differences when Bates was relieved of his offensive play-calling duties, despite making the playoffs while in Seattle.

Lets all hope this doesnt end with Cutler screaming expletives captured on tape concerning the Bears new team effort offensively, rather than a one man greatest show on turf philosophy.

This is a good move for the Bears who could reap valuable rewards. Now, the Bears have to acquire the most important part for any so called passing game: playmakers who can catch!

Bears, Lions have been totally different teams in fourth quarters

Bears, Lions have been totally different teams in fourth quarters

Apart from any specific player or statistic, one unavoidable part of Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions looms ominously in front of the Bears, and there is no way they can avoid it: The fourth quarter.

Every game has one, and it has been the blessing of the Lions’ 2016 existence and the bane of the Bears’. The Bears talk constantly about the importance of playing a 60-minute game.

Before last Sunday’s 28-13 win over the New Orleans Saints, the Lions had trailed in the fourth quarter of all seven of their previous victories this season. A team that had traditionally found undisciplined ways to squander games has been finding ways to win them, according to a formula.

As Detroit Free Press columnist Jeff Seidel noted, “every single one of these games has looked the same: There was the drive, the field goal and the huge defensive play or, at least, some variation of those things."

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This is particularly relevant — and concerning — for the Bears, who have been the virtual opposite: Three times this season (at Houston, at Indianapolis, vs. Jacksonville) they have led in fourth quarters and lost those games.

The reasons lie in different phases, not simply cases of one, same unit failing.

"With us it’s not excuses, but we’re young, on our third quarterback, and that can affect it as far as experience and just being in that situation,” said coach John Fox. “To close the game, sometimes it’s just a mindset. When you have young players, it’s learning how to deal with adversity and learning how to deal with prosperity.”

The Bears did not outscore an opponent in the fourth quarter of any of their first 10 games this season, finally getting something going late in the Tennessee and San Francisco games, outscoring those two opponents by a combined 19-3.

“Being able to finish games, that’s something we’re learning and I think I saw examples of it last week in the San Francisco game and even going back to Minnesota, games where we have closed it, even in the first Detroit game, although we made that one interesting,” Fox said. “We found a way. So a lot of it’s experience under pressure and hopefully we’re figuring it out and can figure it out the last four games of the year.”

Beginning Sunday, presumably, against the NFL’s reigning comeback team.

Brandon Marshall doesn't remember 3 TD game from Bears-49ers in 2014 because he was on pain pills

Brandon Marshall doesn't remember 3 TD game from Bears-49ers in 2014 because he was on pain pills

Remember back in 2014 when the Bears rallied from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the 49ers 28-20 in San Francisco on Sunday Night Football?

Well, Brandon Marshall doesn't.

And he had three of the four touchdown catches, two of them coming in the last quarter.

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The former Bears wide receiver, who had been dealing with a high ankle sprain, said he took pain pills before the game and doesn't recall much of it, including the incredible one-handed grab that went viral.

"I don't really remember much about that game because I worked really hard to get back from a high ankle (sprain)," Marshall said during a conference call Wednesday. "I'll say it, I took a couple pain pills that masked the pain. I really wasn't supposed to play. I came back from a high ankle (sprain) within 10 days. I was supposed to be out four to six weeks. I don't remember much from that game. I just remember catching those balls. And that was pretty much it."

If only Bears fans could forget that season entirely, which ended in a 5-11 record and the end of the Marc Trestman era.