Thursday, December 13, 2012

Another Three months (plus) has passed...

I'm just not good at updating this blog.  I think I had more to say about Chicago sports than I actually do.

Or maybe it's just that I haven't been following much too closely.

Our Bears started off 7-1, but have now lost 4 of their last 5, and currently have a record of 8-5, and are in second in their division, with a big game against Green Bay coming up Sunday at Soldier Field.  I listen to a lot of the sports commentary on the radio coming out of Chicago, and I hear a lot about Lovie needing to go, about how bad the O line is, about how the defense is slowing down and is not the same without the injured Brian Urlacher, about dropped passes.  All those things may be true, but what I've observed in my limited viewing and with my limited knowledge of football is that Jay Cutler, a quarterback with a whole bunch of physical tools, seems to lack some basic feel for the game.

Why do I say this?  Well, he does connect for some big plays now and then with his favorite target, Brandon Marshall.  Marshall may just be the best receiver the Bears have had in a long time, if not ever.  (People say the same thing about Cutler at QB.)  But to me it looks like Cutler rarely looks elsewhere for a target.  If I was designing a plan on how to defend the Bears' passing attack, I would start with taking Marshall off the board by double coverage, or whatever means I had at my disposal that could accomplish that goal.  Because with Marshall out there as a target, and effectively blanketed in coverage, it seems that Cutler won't connect with anyone else.  He won't even look until it's too late.  Maybe I'm missing something, but it looks to me like, for Cutler, it's Marshall or no one. 

The other thing I have noticed is that he gets himself married to his play.  I don't know if that's because he has such confidence in his arm and abilities as a passer, or if it's just a lack of field vision.  But I've seen more than once plays where Cutler could have run for a first down and more, but stayed locked in on passing the ball, and it ends up incomplete or rushed or whatever. 

Are these things that can be corrected?  I don't know.  Others would have to tell me if they're seeing the same thing, if adding a receiver who won't drop the ball (they used to call it a "possession receiver", I think) might make Cutler more willing to trust another target and go to it.  They'd have to tell me if Cutler's just doing what he's told to do when he stays with a play at the expense of a sure first down, or if he can be freed to improvise a bit more.  As I said above, I don't claim to know football all that well.  I just know what I see.  Sometimes I think that the football geniuses try to make the game too complicated, like those of us who are just fans can't really understand what complexities go into a game plan.  In the end, it's about running backs finding holes and gaining yards through them, about QB's getting the ball to open receivers far enough down the field to move the chains, and to finally put points on the board.  Maybe I've read Semi-Tough too many times, but I wonder what would happen if they just told Jay to go out to the line of scrimmage, call a play, and then do whatever he has to do to move the chains, be it a scramble, a draw, a swing pass, a long throw, a screen, or a nice designed play that they've worked up in practice.  And have some fun doing it.  That's the other thing about Cutler.  He rarely looks like he's having much fun out there.  For as much money as he makes, he should be having a blast...


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