During the Mike Martz era, both Jay Cutler and the former offensive coordinator spoke highly of each other. They laid it on so thick that we dubbed it a bromance. Judging by Cutler's comments this week, their relationship was not as smooth as they said.
Now working with Mike Tice at OC and Jeremy Bates as quarterbacks coach, Cutler called the new arrangement a breath of fresh air.
“I think Jeremy has a really good feel for what I like to do and what I don’t like to do," Cutler said. “There were plays out here today (where) I told them, ‘I don’t like them. Let’s think about getting rid of them.’ He’s fine with that and (new offensive coordinator Mike) Tice is fine with that. So it’s a give and take, and that’s a breath of fresh air around here; being able to give ideas. Everyone gives ideas and let’s pick the best ones that work for everybody.”
Martz had a well-earned reputation for being inflexible. During his first year in Chicago, he tried to force his vaunted offense onto a team that didn't have the personnel. Matt Forte was not utilized enough, and Cutler had to use long drops back to run Martz's plays. Since the Bears offensive line was lacking, Cutler was pasted on nearly every play.
Though things improved in 2011, it wasn't enough. Martz and QB coach Shane Day were dismissed in favor of Tice and Bates. Both men have worked with Cutler before, and know that his football smarts are to be respected.
Cutler's comments aren't like the mutual admiration society he created with Martz. But in a work environment, I'd take flexibility and things being fine over praise that leads nowhere any day.