15 on 6: Cutler makes most of pass protection

348876.jpg

15 on 6: Cutler makes most of pass protection

Sunday, Dec. 26, 2010
5:48 PM

By Jim Miller
CSNChicago.com

I never would have guessed such a high scoring affair. The Jets offense had been sputtering the last three weeks while the Bears have now put together their two best offensive performances the last two weeks. The Bears come away from this game with a lot of confidence to gear them up for postseason play.

Credit the offensive line with excellent pass protection allowing Jay to throw the ball down the field. The footing was poor for both teams, causing problems for the defenses who have combined for the most sacks over the last seven weeks. The Jets have 20 while the Bears have tallied 21 going into Sunday's contest.

Explosive players like Julius Peppers or DEOLB Calvin Pace for the Jets could not get the grip turning the corner on offensive tackles. The lack of footing slowed down their initial get-off which allowed both quarterbacks to find production in the passing game.

This game clearly shows what Jay Cutler is capable of when he has time to throw the football. The beauty of all three of Jay's touchdown passes was where he placed the ball, only his receiver could come down with the ball.

While Jay stats do not reflect how well he really played - he finished 13 of 25 for 215 yards along with the 3 TD's - I tallied four drops and two others he threw away, and two of the drops were going to be 20-yard gainers apiece. But I think Jay comes away from this game with a ton of confidence.

There is a lot of sorting out of a defense when you play against Rex Ryan. Jay never looked panicked or flustered with what he was being presented. He attacked the Jets aggressively with deep throws where he was extremely accurate with the football. Outside back-shoulder touchdown throws to Devin Hester and Johnny Knox displayed how ball placement leads to big plays and, for the Bears today, big scores.

If Jay continues to display command of this offense and his throws lead the Bears past Green Bay, a Super Bowl will definitely be in their near future. That was playoff-caliber football Jay executed Sunday vs. the Jets, which couldn't come at a better time.

Who needs Terrell Owens to get our popcorn ready? Bears fans should be excited.

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.”