Martz promises more runs to protect Cutler
What else ails him?
“Hips,” Cutler replied. “You could go down the list.”
It’s a long one. But he said he’s improving and looking forward to facing the Packers on Sunday at Soldier Field. Whether or not he can continue to take beatings like this—he has been sacked an NFL-high 11 times—that’s a different story.
“I don’t know,” Cutler said.
What we do know is the message has been delivered to offensive coordinator Mike Martz. Run it or else. For the second time in 11 months, Martz has come out and said “blame me” following a renegade play-calling effort.
The Bears were 4-2 last year after a home loss to the Seahawks in which he called 47 pass plays and just 12 runs. So everything he said Wednesday at Halas Hall was familiar, this mea culpa coming after his effort in New Orleans when he called 52 passes and 11 runs.
“If you’re looking for blame, blame me,” Martz said. “I did a poor job of coaching, and we didn’t play very good. We’ve got to clean up what was wrong and what we didn’t do and move on.”
But it’s important to realize the Bears are cleaning up the same mess they have before, the one in which the running game becomes an afterthought and the offensive line gets asked to block seven pass rushers with five men.
Martz talked about being in “throw-it mode” in the fourth quarter that was only slightly different than the chuck-it mode he was in before that. When the Bears trailed the Saints 16-13 with 10 minutes remaining in the third quarter, Cutler had been sacked only once (five more were to come) and Martz had called 29 passes to 10 runs.
“What happened, to be honest with you, is I got into a two-minute mode too soon,” Martz said. “That’s one of the things I talked to (coach Lovie Smith) about, going into that fourth quarter, once the turnover came, there was just, there are just a lot of things involved. It’s just not simple, but none of them are justification.”
When Cutler was asked if he was given an explanation for the play calling, he said to check with Martz. Both tried to push their conversations toward the Packers, who knocked Cutler out the last time they faced him in the NFC championship game. The Bears will have their third starting offensive line combination in as many weeks as Frank Omiyale will replace Gabe Carimi at right tackle. Lance Louis is questionable at right guard.
“We’re going to be fine,” Cutler said. “I’m not worried about it. We’re 1-1. We still have a lot of football left to be played. If this continues, then obviously we’re going to have a problem. We’re going to have to address it. But looking forward to this game.”
The most frustrating thing for those surrounding Martz had to be that he didn’t bend in the Superdome when his strategies were failing.