Faced with potentially having to adjust to a fourth offensive coordinator going into his fifth season as a Chicago Bear, quarterback Jay Cutler said Monday that kind of inconsistency at the position is a significant challenge for an offense.
"It's hard for an offense and as a quarterback to get to where you want to be and be consistent on a weekly basis if you're changing coordinators every couple of years," Cutler said on "The Jay Cutler Show" on ESPN 1000. "That's a reality. I think it's an overlooked fact."
Under Mike Tice, the Bears rank 28th in total offense and have averaged just 14 points a game over their last seven games. Still, Cutler praised Tice, a first-time offensive coordinator who had never called plays before this season.
"I thought he did a good job. We're not done yet," said Cutler, who had Ron Turner for one season and Mike Martz for two as offensive coordinators in Chicago. "It's a difficult job where we had a lot of injuries on the offensive line, first year of the offense and you're expected to go out there and rip it up. But it's just reality. It's the first year of the offense."
The addition of Brandon Marshall has given the Bears the No. 1 receiver they lacked for years. His 113 catches and 1,466 yards are franchise records and rank second in the NFL behind Detroit's Calvin Johnson.
But there hasn't been much production outside of Marshall. He has 71 more catches than the next leading pass catcher on the Bears -- Matt Forte -- and 89 more than the next-best receiver (Earl Bennett).
Cutler said he recently talked about the lack of stability at offensive coordinator around the NFL with fellow Bears quarterbacks Jason Campbell and Josh McCown. In his 11 seasons in the NFL, McCown has worked with 8-9 coordinators, according to Cutler, while Campbell has worked with a new one in each of his eight NFL seasons.
"There's a lot of different coordinators between the three of us, and it's amazing that those two guys have been able to still be successful in the NFL because most of the time whenever you get cut up like that it's hard to stick around and be successful," Cutler said. "You get bounced out pretty quick."
With talk of the uncertain job status of coach Lovie Smith and his staff leading up to their game against the Arizona Cardinals, the Bears delivered a 28-13 victory on Sunday to keep their playoff hopes alive. They need a victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday and a Minnesota Vikings loss to the Green Bay Packers to make the playoffs.
Whatever the outcome, Cutler knows there is some uncertainty with a general manager finishing his first season on the job and a head coach with one year left on his contract.
"I think with (GM) Phil (Emery) coming in, a new GM, you're not sure how he feels about certain players and coaches and everything else. But I don't think we can worry about it," Cutler said. "I thought we did a great job last week of staying focused. I think this week we will do the same against Detroit. All the speculation and questions and what's going to happen now, that's literally probably right after the end of the season."