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Much of the added optimism in the offensive line coming into this season is the switch in offensive coordinator from Mike Martz to Mike Tice. Martz liked to use seven-step drops, only block with the front five, and wouldn't allow Cutler to use audibles.
Mike Tice will have an improved line simply because Martz is gone. The seven-step drop is eliminated, more tight ends and running backs will stay in to block, and Cutler can finally think for himself. However, there's still no ignoring the fact that the offensive line is the same as it was last season.
At least Jay Cutler is optimistic about his line in 2012.
If we have to keep eight in there, if we have to keep nine in there, that’s what we’re going to do. We’re not going to put those guys in positions where they’re going to fail or I’m going to get hit. We would like them to step up and be able to block 4-on-4, 5-on-5, but we’ll see how it goes.
The issue with more blockers is that there are less options to throw to, but with the addition of star wideout Brandon Marshall and rookie second-round pick Alshon Jeffery, it may be the best route to go.
The switch to Tice will certainly mean Cutler spends less time on his back, but it remains to be seen how improved the offensive line will be this year. With lofty expectations and one of the most dynamic offenses in the league on paper, the offensive line may make or break the Bears season in 2012.