What should be expected of Chicago's offense with all the changes made?
One possible way to look at it would be to imagine all the good things that the Bears did when Grossman and Orton were succeeding at QB. With Grossman they threw the ball long successfully and weren't afraid to go deep.
When they were most successful with Orton they ran the ball well, used the TEs perfectly, threw the ball to the RB coming out of the backfield, and kept the chains moving.
Cutler can do all of that.
Jay Cutler will give Ron Turner the ability to go through his playbook without filter. He won't have to second guess calling a long play. He won't have to fear the defensive pressure on every snap and worry about the QB turtleing and taking a sack. He can be confident that his line can block and his QB can complete a play.
Even with the change of QB and offensive line, sacks will still occur. Even Jay Cutler isn't perfect. But compare last year's statistics among Cutler and Orton and you'll see a glaring difference.
In 2008 Orton was sacked 27 times, Cutler 11. That's with Cutler attempting 616 passing attempts, 150 more passes than Orton.
In 2006, when Grossman was at his best, he was sacked 21 times on 480 passing attempts. In other words, even when Grossman and Orton had their best seasons with Chicago, they weren't as good as what we can expect from Cutler this upcoming season.
How will this affect the play calling?
Expect the Bears to continue to use the two TE sets they ran last year. It's extremely useful for concealing what they want to run and it's also a formation that provides a tremendous amount of flexibility for them.
It's hard to guess what the Bears will do with three established TEs and one up-and-coming one in Kellen Davis. With the perceived lack of depth at receiver right now, expect the Bears to utilize the TEs often.
With the two receiving TEs the Bears have, Desmond Clark and Greg Olsen, the Bears can still effectively run block and shift the formation to create receiving mismatches for Cutler to take advantage of. This set also allows them to put Forte in motion to create an empty backfield, more targets, and create favorable matchups all over the field for Cutler.
Another possibility, with the addition of TE Michael Gains, could be for the Bears to begin heavy use of the I formation. Gains could line up as a FB and be a lead blocker for Forte or supply backfield pass blocking instead.
Gains could also go in motion from the I formation to give the Bears more flexibility on an audible and again, create mismatches for Cutler to take advantage of.
The Bears attempted to do this last year with Olsen a few times, but Olsen's run blocking wasn't as good as Gains' blocking is supposed to be. This could be the reason the Bears decided to sign Gains this off season.
The increase in multiple TE sets will force defenses to line up in man situations that Cutler will be able to take advantage of in the passing game. The more Chicago uses the TEs in the passing game, the more difficult it will be for an opposing defense to determine if the Bears are running or passing.
In short, Chicago, a team that has traditionally used the threat of running to set up the pass, may be able to use the threat of passing to set up the run. The changes the Bears made in the offseason will make this offense dangerous.
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