15 on 6: Cutler, Bears almost perfect

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15 on 6: Cutler, Bears almost perfect

Sunday, Nov. 14, 2010
8:12 PM

By Jim Miller
CSNChicago.com

I thought Jay Cutler and the Bears were almost perfect in their win over the Vikings Sunday.

Holding Adrian Peterson to only 51 yds on 17 attempts with no touchdowns is quite an accomplishment considering he had averaged 122 yards a game the last six meetings with 11 touchdowns. If the defense continues its trend of forcing turnovers - they had four Sunday - their season looks promising for postseason play.

Two interceptions is never a good thing, but credit the Viking defense early for reaching a hand in to tip a deep incut to Johnny Knox. I'm sure Johnny would like to just snatch the ball with his hands, rather than jump for a body catch.

Jay has already admitted he would like to throw the ball away or run it when he threw another redzone interception to Vikings safety Husain Abdullah. As Jay walked to the sideline, he and Mike Martz started to discuss the play. Both looked a little disgusted from a blown opportunity for more points.

Jay looked surprisingly relaxed today in the pocket. His pass protection was outstanding for most of the day and surely played a part in his easy going manner. He was very decisive, showed command, and accuracy with his throws early, his mobility was on display as well. Credit Mike Martz for calling these types of plays the last two weeks to get Jay in a rhythm - he executes them with ease.

I think the offense converting a 3rd and 6 on their opening drive was big for their confidence. When looks you practiced against all week show up in the game and you shred it with a first down, it feels pretty good. It just validates all your hard work. They finished 11 for 19 on the day which is an astounding 58 percent - that is hard to do in the NFL, I do not care who you play against.

I loved how at times he reset his feet, had a wide base and threw with great balance, it is the sure-fire way to being an accurate passer. He repeatedly reset his feet on movement plays along with straight drop-back passes.

His throw to Greg Olsen on 3rd and 14 that resulted in a touchdown was a beauty. That is video cut up room material! Really test book in terms of set up, mechanics, accuracy and throwing a laser for a score in windy conditions. He was patient on Greg's "nod" route (little stutter at five yards so linebacker thinks Y option) allowing him a step to come out the other end. Jay then fired a missile in front of the safeties who just are not able to react to that type of throw.

Execution can always be better, but I think Lovie Smith is digging where his defense is right now and is encouraged to see back to back good signs of life in his offense. The Bears really had control of this game especially when they logged 20 plays more than the Vikings.

Thursday Night against the Dolphins is a quick turnaround to play on the road. Lovie will have them flush the body Monday, a walk thru Tuesday, and then hop on a plane Wednesday.

This is not a lot of time to game plan. Lovie is always well prepared with the schedule to have his team ready.

Jim Miller, an 11-year former NFL quarterback, is a Comcast SportsNet Bears analyst who can be seen each week on U.S. Cellular Bears Postgame Live. Miller, who spent five seasons with the Bears, analyzes current Chicago QB Jay Cutler in his "15 on 6" blog on CSNChicago.com and can be followed on Twitter @15miller.

Bears announce training camp schedule

Bears announce training camp schedule

The Bears released their official training camp schedule Thursday morning. After reporting to Olivet Nazarene on Wednesday, July 26, the first of ten practices open to the public will take place the following day. The Bears will be based out of Bourbonnais for the 16th straight season. Training camp will go through Sunday, Aug. 13 before the Bears break camp and finish the preseason in Lake Forest. 

All practices are tentatively scheduled to start at various times during the 11 a.m. hour with the exception of Saturday, Aug. 13, which starts at 12:05 p.m. Those times are subject to change based on weather, and a varying set of schedules that John Fox and his coaching staff have set up, as they adjust to player and training staff preferences in hopes of reducing injuries. 

Also, new this season, fans wanting to attend practices must order free tickets in advance through the Bears website. Fans will not be allowed in without a ticket, and the first 1,000 fans each day will be given various souvenirs. The practice campus will be open to the public with tickets from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Here is the full training camp schedule:

After historically low turnover total in 2016, what can Bears do to get more takeaways?

After historically low turnover total in 2016, what can Bears do to get more takeaways?

Quintin Demps set a career high in interceptions last year by not doing anything different. And that’s the message he’s sending a defense that generated only 11 takeaways in 2016, tied for the lowest single-season total in NFL history. 

Demps went from picking off four passes in both 2013 with the Kansas City Chiefs and 2014 with the New York Giants to notching just one interception with the Houston Texans in 2015. In 2016, though, Demps intercepted six passes, broke up nine more and totaled 38 tackles. 

“Turnovers are like, it’s not something that you go get, it’s something you let come to you by doing your job first and then helping out,” Demps said. “And then you’d be surprised how they come to you by doing your job and being aware of when you can help somebody out. A lot of times when you get help is when you get picks and turnovers.”

The danger for a defense coming off a historically bad takeaway is sort of a whiplash effect, where there’s an over-emphasis on creating turnovers and not enough attention paid to, as Demps said, “doing your job.” There’s a fine line between being opportunistic and undisciplined.

“I tell my safeties all the time, we gotta tackle first,” Demps said. “Tackle first, don’t miss any tackles and then the picks are going to come. I promise you that.”

The Bears felt positively after signs of being more opportunistic as a defense during shorts-and-helmets practices in May and June, though if that was because of any real improvements or because the defense is usually ahead of the offense is hard to tell at this stage of the year. 

The offseason program was valuable for the Bears’ secondary in growing trust within a group that had — no pun intended — plenty of turnover after the 2016 season. The hope is that the offseason additions of Demps, Prince Amukamara, Marcus Cooper and Eddie Jackson will solidify the secondary and lead to something better than last year’s historically-low turnover total. 

“We’re still trying to build something, but the actual, real building happens in training camp because I think then you start to see the group start to get formed and yo know who’s going to go with the one’s, who’s going to go with the two’s, stuff like that,” Amukamara said. “So I think that starts to get formed. But I think with a lot of guys now, I think what that creates is competition and guys trying their hardest to make the team.”