LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The huddle often broke, and as Chicago Bears receiver Roy Williams trotted toward the line of scrimmage surveying the defense, inevitably, he’d direct the increasingly frustrating question to quarterback Jay Cutler.
“What I got?” he’d say.
Quickly, that got old for Cutler, Williams now admits.
“If I was a quarterback and the receiver keeps asking me, ‘What I got?’ I’m not going to throw him the ball because you don’t know what you’re doing,” Williams said. “It’s not that I didn’t know what I was doing. It’s kind of like everything was just flowing together [mentally] from Dallas. It’s the same offense [as Dallas]. It’s just little bitty details in this offense that are different, that make a big difference here in this offense.”
Slowly Williams seems to be getting everything down, which has resulted in his numbers going up over the past two games. After catching a combined two balls in outings against Green Bay, Carolina and Detroit, Williams has hauled in seven passes for 109 yards and a touchdown in Bears' wins over Minnesota and Tampa Bay, headed into Monday night's showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Coming out of the bye, having spent the week off learning even more about the new offense, Williams knows now more than ever that the less he knows about the scheme, the fewer balls Cutler throws his way. Armed with a better feel for his responsibilities in the offense, the plan for Williams now is to finally stop asking questions.
“I can’t get detailed on [what happened before], but it’s just certain pass routes [where] I’m like, ‘What I got?’ He’d be like, ‘You’ve got the such and such.’ [Then], I’m like: ‘Alright, my bad.”
Did the situation frustrate Cutler?
“Yeah, I’d get frustrated, too,” Williams said. “This is Week 7, 8, you know. You shouldn’t be asking those questions. So if I was the quarterback, I’d [be like]: ‘Nah, I’m not throwing him the ball.’ I can’t ask him [anymore], ‘What do I got?’ I’ve got to be a pro and do what I need to do to get the ball.”
Williams cited a specific example of the chemistry he hopes to develop with Cutler. Late in the team’s 24-18 win over the Buccaneers in London, the Bears held possession at the Tampa Bay 6 when Williams looked up and noticed a linebacker covering him.
Both Cutler and Williams noticed Tampa Bay’s mistake, but before the duo could make it pay, the Buccaneers called a timeout.
“Jay was looking at me like, ‘What are you going to do?’ I’m like, ‘Just snap the ball.’ If we had that connection, it would have been, ‘Down, set, hut’ throw the ball,” Williams said. “So it’s just little things like that. When I see a linebacker on me in the red zone within 5 yards of me, it shouldn’t be [us] looking and trying to get eye contact. It should be just, ‘Down, set, hut’ throw the ball. That kind of takes years to get going.”
Obviously, the Bears don’t own the luxury of that type of time table. But for his part, Cutler echoes his receiver’s sentiments that the chemistry between them continues to grow with each outing.
Cutler said, he wasn’t “gonna single out Roy against anybody [else]” in the receiving corps, adding that “all those guys are gonna be important. They’ve all got to play at a certain level.”
One major component of that requires knowing what to do on a given play.
Williams said there’s no explanation or method for increasing the chemistry between a quarterback and receiver, and pointed out Indianapolis’ Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison as a duo that “set the bar with that.”
“When you get to that point, that’s magical,” Williams said. “A lot of people can get there. It just takes time. [But] with Jay [the chemistry] is slowly going up. It’s not going to go down. It’s gonna go up.”