Chicago Bears

15 on 6: Cutler starting to shine in Martz's offense

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15 on 6: Cutler starting to shine in Martz's offense

Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011
Posted: 9:30 p.m.
By Jim Miller
CSNChicago.com

I think it is only appropriate to start this year's blog commenting on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11th attacks of 2001. As you may or may not know, I was with the Bears during that time and was stunned like all of us. I never thought I would witness our country being attacked in my lifetime. We had a bye week before playing Atlanta on the road.

We tried to practice that week, but it was worthless. I remember coaches and players were just looking at each other out on the practice field thinking, "What are we doing here." We wanted to be glued to the television like everyone else for any new information. Coach Dick Jauron pretty much cut every practice short that week, knowing what was more important. I think everyone at the Bears facility went home that weekend with some form of soul searching on their mind.

Everyone must have dug deep because I remember coming back and every one was inspired to play football. Almost like WWI or WWII, where volunteers helped the military in any capacity they could, I think we were just inspired to do our part. Maybe give the country a four hour window to take their minds away from some serious pain. Start the healing process somewhat. I know it did for me. It was a very emotional time for everybody in this country because it affected everybody. It still does today. The tragic events have altered the way we live and affected our freedom that we cherish so dearly. May those who perished Rest in Peace and God Bless.

Many have wondered, how it would affect the performances of the games today? Although it's still emotional, I think a lot of players reflected and took a moment to pause to pay their respects well before the game started. I know that's what I did before we lined up to play Atlanta after the bye week. We were focused to give the fans a show and win the game. But I was never more proud when, before the game, the Military men and woman rolled out the American Flag. It was the full length of the field. It was the loudest I had ever heard the "National Anthem" performed. Ever! There was not one person in the whole Georgia Dome who did not participate. It still gives me goose bumps and was truly awesome!

Defense Dominates the Day

I worried about the Bears ability to score points coming into the 2011 Lockout season. The organization traded away their "Redzone" TD maker in TE Greg Olsen to the Panthers. Plus, with the new "Kickoff rule", it remains to be seen how it will punish the Bears. A lot of money has been invested into the return units and a simple rule affects about 30 of their scoring. It means that production has to be made up elsewhere. I still am trying to sort out myself where the production comes from within this roster. Here are my thoughts:

Kellen Davis - Is big, strong, and fast. He's not the best route runner but could be an option. Jay Cutler missed him today on a TE throwback screen that would have been a walk to the endzone.

Roy Williams - His size suggests he is a "Redzone" target, but he's not in shape, drops too many balls, and pulled a groin today which could keep him out awhile. Tony Romo never developed a rapport with him and I don't think Jay has yet.

Marion Barber - We have to see how the line settles in for Barber to be a "Goal Line" option pounding it up in there. Plus he's out with a calf injury.

Long screen passes for TD's like today, will not be the norm. The Bear's were 12 in the "Redzone." They only got down there twice and had to settle for FG's when they crossed the 50 on three occasions. It's pride, the offense doesn't want to rely on the defense to score. There will be games this year where the Bears' offense will have to come through consistently. It could be asked to do it as early as next week versus the Saints. Why not now?

I thought Cutler had an outstanding game. He looks more confident in year two of Martz's offense. He looked comfortable going through his reads quickly and was terrific in locating check down receivers when the pocket collapsed. He missed the TE throwback to Davis which would have made it a three touchdown day. I also thought he motivated his teammates. Jay was giving high fives and pats of encouragement. He was having fun winning, which is what it's all about.

Check in during the week as I'll get into what Jay needs to do to be ready for the Saints.

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.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Reactions to Glennon's awful performance in Tampa

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Reactions to Glennon's awful performance in Tampa

On this episode of SportsTalk Live, David Haugh (Chicago Tribune), Danny Parkins (670 The Score) and Adam Jahns (Chicago Sun-Times) join David Kaplan on the panel.

Mike Glennon is awful in the Bears' blowout loss in Tampa but he will start against the Steelers. Should it be Trubisky time at Halas Hall?

The panel also dissects the Cubs’ weekend sweep of the Cardinals and Scott Paddock discusses another win for Martin Truex, Jr. at Chicagoland Speedway.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Jordan Howard says his shoulder is 'good', remains confident in Bears’ offense

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USA Today Sports Images

Jordan Howard says his shoulder is 'good', remains confident in Bears’ offense

Jordan Howard was limited in practice last week with a shoulder injury and only gained seven yards on nine carries Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, representing the least productive game of his NFL career. 

Howard said he didn’t speak to the media after the Bears’ first two games because he was getting treatment and X-Rays, but doesn’t believe being banged up has held him back. 

“My shoulder, I’m good,” Howard said. “I’m good.”

Added Howard about the entire offense: “I don’t have any doubts about us putting it all together.”

The Bears’ offense needs Howard to be more productive than he’s been (21 carries, 59 yards), though tight end Zach Miller pointed out it was a collective team effort that led to Howard’s paltry numbers in Tampa. 

“I just don’t think really any of us really played well. We didn’t give him much of an opportunity to put up numbers that you guys are used to seeing him do that. And that was across  the league. There were a couple of other teams who had Pro Bowl players who had the same amount of carries and yards (Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott only gained eight yards on nine carries against Denver). So it’s not just us. But we’re all we care about. We’ve got to be better up front. That’s collectively so that we can start to get this thing rolling.”