Cutler: Could take 3 years to master Bears offense
(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler sees himself making almost as big a commitment on the football field as he recently made off it.
Cutler, who recently married actress Kristin Cavallari, calls the new Bears offense one that will require time to master.
A lot of time.
"Really whenever you want to get into it, it's a three-year process to learn an offense," Cutler said. "It just is what it is. It takes time. It's hard to go out there Year 1 and blow the doors off. But we're going to do the best we can with the time allowed and we'll see where we're at."
Cutler has an expiring contract and no heir apparent in Chicago. He does have a new offensive-minded head coach in Marc Trestman and a new offensive coordinator in Aaron Kromer. But Cutler is now learning his fourth Bears offense in five seasons with the team.
"His work ethic is unparalleled, as good as anybody I've ever been around," Trestman said of Cutler. "His detail in the offense is as good as anybody I've been around. He's doing all the right things. He's working at his craft and it's not easy when you're starting over one more time. I applaud him."
With about six weeks to go until training camp, the pieces to the offense are still being shuffled, too.
Cutler did not have wide receiver Alshon Jeffery at practice Tuesday after he pulled a hamstring last week. The Bears have also cut fullback Evan Rodriguez following his second alcohol-related arrest. And 2011 first-round pick Gabe Carimi was traded over the weekend to Tampa Bay for a sixth-round 2014 draft pick.
The Bears have brought in fullback Tony Fiammetta to replace Rodriguez, and signed former Bears and Vikings receiver Devin Aromashodu.
"I think skill position-wise, we've got some great guys, we've got some guys that can really play football offensively in that locker room," Cutler said. "So guys are filling the places and we'll just keep moving."
The Bears did not want to make their decision to cut Rodriguez look like it was entirely based on his alcohol-related arrests.
"We feel we've made very good decisions moving in the direction of a fullback who could give us more on special teams and give us a little more flexibility with some of the things that we're going to be doing," Trestman said.
Trestman insisted the new coaching regime and general manager Phil Emery had not decided to make an example of Rodriguez for his troubles, or of Carimi, who had opted to work out on his own in the offseason and reportedly considered his move from tackle to guard a demotion.
"No decision is based on anything other than best decisions of the team," Trestman said. "They're mindful. They're in good faith. We're not making decisions based on being belligerent or having animosity. That's not in the best interest of the team."
Fiammetta started 34 games his first three seasons with Carolina and Dallas, and went on the reserve/left team list last year with the Patriots for personal reasons. Aromashodu is in his second Bears stint and developed a good rapport in 2009 with Cutler during their first year together, but was cut and signed with Minnesota for two seasons after he had trouble adapting to the offense of former coordinator Mike Martz.
"You never know where your career may lead to, if it's back somewhere you played at," Aromashodu said.
Cutler recalled Aromashodu's first two years as productive, but Chicago already has Brandon Marshall, Jeffery, Earl Bennett, Eric Weems and rookie Marquess Wilson.
"He's kind of behind the eight-ball," Cutler said. "He's behind the other guys. He's got a lot of catching up to do. Receiver-wise I think we've got some really good guys. We've got some really good skill guys on the offensive side, so he's going to have to catch up to us."
Then there is new Bears tight end Martellus Bennett, who is living up to a reputation as a free spirit.
"He says he's abstract, so take that for what it's worth," Cutler said. "We've talked about it and I said, `Some of your creativity you've got to leave that in the locker room.' He brings a different humor, a different swagger to that offensive group."
NOTES: Kromer is not attending practice due to hip surgery. ... First-round draft pick Kyle Long is unable to attend because his college class does not graduate until the day after minicamp ends. ... Kicker Robbie Gould is back after surgery to repair a ruptured left calf tendon. ... Defensive end Shea McClellin practiced and said later that he is no longer plagued by plantar faciitis, which slowed him in OTAs. ... Defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis signed a one-year contract. Ellis started 70 games with the Saints from 2008-12 and had 12 1-2 sacks.
Updated June 11, 2013