Hot Feet: Jay Cutler's Legs Will Add New Dimension to Chicago Offense
Kyle Orton was a solid QB, but the only mobile part of him was the hairs flying around from his indomitable beard. Rex Grossman ran, but he often looked like a chicken with his head cutoff as he would run into sacks more often than not.
Cutler is no Michael Vick, but he does have an uncanny ability to make plays out of nothing with his feet and is blessed with the ability to throw accurately on the run.
“I am excited more by his athletic ability than his strong arm,'' said Bears WR Rashied Davis. ''He can move around. I'm not saying anything against K.O. [Kyle Orton] and Rex [Grossman] because I love K.O. and Rex, but he can move around a lot better. He can throw the ball on the move a lot better.”
Look for the offense to incorporate more roll-out plays to take advantage of Cutler’s abilities and help create open spaces for their inexperienced receivers. This will specifically help Devin Hester, who is not strong enough to physically outmaneuver defenders, and has yet to master short/middle range routes. A play that is guaranteed to be seen is a quick/deep out pattern for Hester starting with a QB-rollout that will draw the linebackers away from the middle of the field.
Look out for an increase in play-action plays, normal and roll-out variety, as an added boost of Cutler’s mobility. Cutler’s arm strength will keep defenses on their toes and prevent them from stacking the box against RB Matt Forte. But the Bears will always be a run-first team, so these will be highly effective if incorporated at the correct times.
A play that should be specifically used in the beginning of the game, even if not successful, is a play-action fly route to Hester to open up the field. This will make the defense respect the deep pass and allow more space in the middle of the field for TE’s Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark to take advantage of. This will allow the Bears to effectively run HB screens with Matt Forte who with 63 receptions last year, has proven himself to be a safe pair of hands.
Finally, although a long shot, another possible wrinkle that the Bears could add because of Cutler’s mobility is the Wild-cat formation. This new formation that is sweeping through the NFL is effective with a QB who is athletic enough to play WR, and Cutler certainly fits the bill. It is yet to be seen whether Forte can throw the ball, but I wouldn’t put it past the multi-talented RB. If not, I’m sure the Bears can find one WR/RB on their roster who can throw the pigskin.
Will the team open up the playbook as all of Chicago is expecting them to? Am I delirious to think that the Chicago Bears, a team who prides itself on conservative football would run the Wildcat formation? Maybe, but three months ago, nobody in their right mind would have thought that Cutler would land on the shores of Lake Michigan either.
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