Chicago Bears

15 on 6: Cutler's consistency crucial for Bears

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15 on 6: Cutler's consistency crucial for Bears

Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010
6:23 PM

By Jim Miller
CSNChicago.com

Jay Cutler now has two very solid performances the last couple of weeks, and the Bears need this recent trend to continue as tough opponents await in the near future.

Specifically the New England Patriots next week at Soldier field. Before looking ahead, lets dive into Sunday's game in Detroit, as Jay subtly may have won a minor battle with Mike Martz in having more flexibility at the line of scrimmage.

Check Down Charlie

Nobody should have a problem with Jay checking down the ball to the running backs. It was the difference in the game and led to key first downs that extended drives on third down.

Chester Taylor was targeted five times and Matt Forte three times on the day, but no check down on the day was bigger than Jay finding Brandon Manumaleuna in the flat for the go-ahead score late in the fourth quarter.

These check downs speak volumes about Jay getting through his progression, or foregoing his progression due to the pass rush to find his open outlet. There were four sacks on the day given up by the offensive line, all of which were physical mistakes by the tight ends and offensive lineman, not mental mistakes which were the root of the problem earlier in the season.

When Jay started to sense the offensive line was a little overmatched by the Lions defensive line, checkdowns were the key. He anticipated and felt the pressure, then quickly found his dump off. His growth in this area has been staggering after the bye week, along with tucking and running with the ball.

Keep the pressure on the defense! That is good football and heady quarterback play by Jay.

L O S

Everyone has anguished over the Bears not audibling at the line of scrimmage, which actually contributed to some of the sack issues earlier in the year when Jay could not check out of a bad play versus a certain defense. We witnessed some flexibility against the Lions as Jay utilized the "No Look Pass" against Detroit.

The "No Look Pass" is the quarterback and receiver communicating non-verbally at the line. Run plays were called in the huddle, but Jay communicated to the receivers at the line of scrimmage with either a signal - like grabbing his facemask or just making eye contact - giving them the heads up of the "No Look" situation.

As a QB, you execute it when numbers are against you and the defense stacks the box to stop the run. This took place early and often for the Bears as their commitment to running the football continues to be impressive.

Early in the second quarter, Jay hit Earl Bennett on a "No Look" pass when Earl was in the slot and Detroit tried to fudge their defense by playing the WLB half way in the box, yet walking out somewhat on Earl in the slot. The receiver just takes two steps off the line and the QB hits him on the move quickly with a one-step drop.

Stand up and throw it! Those can be gashing type of plays and they were today for the Bears. Johnny Knox and Jay gashed Detroit in the second half with a 20-yarder in another no-look situation. Jay also utilized it against the blitz, which is encouraging.

There must have been a lot of back and forth between Jay and Mike Martz during the week in order for Mike to relent and trust Jay and the Bears' young receivers.

Another offensive performance that is encouraging and proves these Bears are capable of more, which they are going to need as they start a critical home stretch against quality AFC opponents.

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.

Pernell McPhee placed on PUP list to start Bears training camp for second straight year

Pernell McPhee placed on PUP list to start Bears training camp for second straight year

After expressing optimism earlier Wednesday that he wouldn't have a player begin training camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, general manager Ryan Pace's first major free agent signing will be held out when practices begin Thursday morning.

For the second straight camp, linebacker Pernell McPhee will be sidelined by a knee problem that's plagued him his first two seasons with the Bears. He'll still be able to attend meetings and receive treatment in Bourbonnais and can be activated at any time. 

A year ago, McPhee was coming off knee surgery and was on injured reserve the first six weeks of the season. He'd spent this off-season getting his weight down to decrease stress on the knee, but when physicals and conditioning tests were held Wednesday, the team determined to hold him out. McPhee was actually recovering from offseason labrum surgery, but their announcement only specifically mentioned the knee.

With several other players coming off injuries and being limited during OTAs and minicamp, it's not certain Wednesday night's announcement means McPhee will be the only player starting camp on PUP. Among others, Kyle Long, Zach Miller, Eddie Jackson, and Jeremy Langford were easing their way back from surgeries. Josh Sitton was another, and John Fox revealed Wednesday Sitton won't join the team until Saturday after his wife gave birth.

With McPhee sidelined, two other outside linebackers coming off surgery, Willie Young and Lamarr Houston would be set for more practice time at the position, along with Leonard Floyd, Dan Skuta and Sam Acho.

Thursday's opening practice is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. at Olivet Nazarene and will not include pads.

You can hold your fantasy football draft at Soldier Field this year

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You can hold your fantasy football draft at Soldier Field this year

The CSN Fantasy crew is taking its talents on the road.

CSNChicago fantasy analysts Slavko Bekovic and Scott Krinch will join a Chicago Tribune panel of fantasy football experts for a Draft Party at Soldier Field on Thursday, Aug. 24.

It's the ultimate event to kick off the 2017 fantasy football season.

Sponsored by Jewel-Osco, fans will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to host their fantasy drafts at Soldier Field, complete with insight and analysis from a panel of experts that includes Bekovic, Krinch, Rich Campbell and Phil Thompson from the Chicago Tribune, Bears broadcaster Jeff Joniak and The Score's Hub Arkush. Derek VanRiper and Kevin O'Brien from RotoWire will also be on hand to provide analysis.

The general admission tickets for fans include access to the Soldier Field press box. VIP tickets will give fans access to the private suites around Soldier Field for their drafts. All fans will receive complimentary food and beverages plus photo opportunities on the field and giveaways.

Head to ChicagoTribune.com/draftparty and follow @ChicagoSports and @CSNFantasy for more information.

The CSN Fantasy crew provides analysis all season long, from weekly podcasts and video segments to written articles that include a focus on the waiver wire as well as start/sit for each week.