Martz Working on Quicker Pass Plays

Mike Martz agrees that Jay Cutler must get the ball out of his hands quicker if the passing game is going to improve. Additionally, we talk with Rod Marinelli, Israel Idonije and more.

When asked yesterday about the possibility of Chicago Bears coordinator Mike Martz installing more pass plays to got the ball out quicker, quarterback Jay Cutler was open to the idea. He also said it wasn't up to him.

"Whenever you talk to him, you can ask him," Cutler said. "I said, 'I'm hoping.' I'd like to see that happen."

Martz said today he agrees with Cutler and is working to make that a reality.


QB Jay Cutler & OC Mike Martz
Brian D. Kersey/Getty

"Jay is right, we've got to come up with [an answer]," Martz said. "And we're working on it. We've talked about it as a staff and we've addressed this issue. We've got to make sure that we're giving him a better chance with some of these quicker throws and things."

It will be interesting to see if Martz is just paying lip service to the idea of a short passing game, as he hasn't shown any desire to call such plays up to this point in the season. He said those changes are built in and can be instituted by this Sunday when the Bears take on the Minnesota Vikings.

"Sure. It's all part of the system," said Martz. "We just change gears and go in the other direction, that's all. It's not hard. We're dealing with that."

On Monday night, there appeared to be issues with the plays getting from Martz in the booth to Cutler on the field. This forced the offense to burn two timeouts during the game. Yet Martz said it's a technical issue and has nothing to do with the team's process of sending plays to the field.

"I think we have a little communication problem with some of our [equipment] on the sideline," said Martz. "We've always had that problem here for some reason. I don't know why. I had the defense on my headset during the game. We're not getting the plays in late, I can promise you that, but there is something going on."

He said it's not just an issue at Soldier Field but that the technical problems have followed the team on the road.

"Obviously I think it's more of an issue with the headsets than it is anything else. It's frustrating for Jay, I know that. A lot of times things will shut out completely and he can't hear."

NOTES

-DE Israel Idonije said that, even though he hasn't practiced this week, Julius Peppers will suit up come Sunday night.

"Julius will play," Idonije said. "He's a tremendous competitor."

Even if Peppers does play, it's very likely his role will be diminished due to his knee injury. Idonije said it's then up to the other players on the team to raise their level of play.

"When he comes off the field, someone steps in and that person has to elevate their play and make sure there's not a drop-off from when Julius steps off," said Idonije. "It's going to be no different. When he comes out, someone's got to get in there and maintain that level of play."


DE Israel Idonije & DE Julius Peppers
Grant Halverson/Getty

Idonije believes the Bears' defense has a unique opportunity to recover from a poor start, as the problems so far have been mental, not physical.

"With the situation we've put ourselves in here, we have an opportunity to bounce back and do something special and say, ‘Hey, despite the fact that we started off a little bumpy, the character of the guys on this team were able to rise above the adversity that we faced early and end up in a good position.' It starts just every day at practice and everyone getting better. And really the guys just coming together as a unit and being who we know we are. The reassuring thing is that these things can get cleaned up pretty quickly."

-Bears coordinator Rod Marinelli said the big plays the defense has given up have been the result of players not following their gap assignments.

"Usually when something pops in the run either it's a missed tackle or anybody in that front seven, front eight, who hasn't played their gap correctly. That's where we are," said Marinelli. "We've looked horrible when we don't get a guy in the gap correctly. That's on all of us, coaches, players, we've got to make sure that happens."

-WR Earl Bennett practiced for the first time today since injuring his chest in Week 2, although he's still not expected back until after the Week 8 bye. CB Charles Tillman missed practice with a sore hip but coach Lovie Smith said it was just precautionary. DT Matt Toeaina also didn't practice and is expected to be out for a couple of weeks. Expect second-round rookie Stephen Paea to finally be activated this Sunday in place of Toeaina.

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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.


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