DETROIT -- If Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler doesn’t develop sufficient trust in his protection up front, the offense will never reach its potential, according to general manager Jerry Angelo, who added the same principle applies with the players and their belief in the system employed by offensive coordinator Mike Martz.
Angelo held court with reporters two hours prior to kickoff between the Bears and Lions at Ford Field. Asked if the offense could continue to evolve with Cutler being distrustful of his offensive linemen, Angelo said, “No, it can’t work to the way we want it.”
“The only way any offense plays to its potential is they trust each other,” Angelo said. “All the good offenses I’ve seen, that’s the ability they have. The coaches trusted the plays they were calling. The players trusted in themselves to make those plays. It sounds easy. It’s not easy.”
The Bears have certainly demonstrated that to be true. Despite improved protection in recent games, Cutler has completed less than 50 percent of his passes over the last three outings while failing to generate a passer rating of better than 78.9. In the process, the quarterback has misfired on several occasions, partially as a result of feeling phantom pressure, despite slightly improved protection.
Cutler admitted the punishment he’s taken during his tenure with the Bears can “tinker” with a quarterback’s timing, and ultimately his trust in the protection. Sources have said that Cutler’s confidence is shot, and that many of the struggles on offense can actually be attributed to the quarterback.
Cutler’s distrust in the line has been well documented. But a source acknowledged that the quarterback lacks confidence in his receivers getting to the correct spots on the field so the ball can be delivered. That often leads to Cutler holding onto the ball too long, and ultimately sacks.
Angelo also acknowledged that Martz’s play-calling -- or the offense’s inconsistency with balance in the run and pass -- also plays into the situation, adding that no one person is to blame.
How can the team fix the problems on offense and gain trust in one another?
“That’s built through repetition, and then the players have got to get confidence,” Angelo said. “You only get confidence if you have success. We haven’t been successful at the things we need to be successful at to create that balance [in the play-calling]. So I’m anxious to see us in a tough environment.”
Angelo insisted that Cutler is still the player the team gave up two first-round picks for, and is confident in the quarterback’s ability to lead a potential offensive resurgence for the Bears.
“He is. I would do it all over again,” Angelo said. “You can’t play in this league without [a franchise quarterback]. Where do you find these guys? When you make a decision, you want it based on soundness. The decision was sound. Jay’s got to continue to improve. But everything we need in a quarterback, Jay has. It’s about him coming together. He needs help.”