Can Jay Cutler read a defense?

I'm starting to wonder.  Last year running the offense of the unimaginative Ron Turner, Jay Cutler threw a ton of picks.  A league leading twenty-six to be precise.  The same Turner offense that Kyle Orton was able to game manage his way into some ball securing success.  But to be fair it was also the offense that gunslinger Rex Grossman was able to throw 20 picks of his own in 2006.  But Jay Cutler is a better QB than Sexy Rexy, isn't he?

Last season a lot was written about where to place the blame for all those picks - on the receivers for not running the right routes, the offensive line for leaving Cutler shell shocked, or on Jay for simply throwing into coverage.  What if the marriage between the Mike Shanahan offense and Jay Cutler, with it's roll outs, moving pocket, and play action passes was perfect because it limited how much of the field Cutler had to read?  Just because Cutler has a full grasp of the complicated Mike Martz offense, that doesn't necessarily mean to he'll be able to execute it.

In theory, Mike Martz would be perfect for the gunslinger mentality of Jay Cutler.  Who better to guide the confident and cocksure young signal caller than the confident and cocky offensive coordinator.  They seem to get along just fine, even gushing over the brilliance of each other on more than one occasion.  But diagramming plays on the chalkboard is different than actually taking that 7 step drop, reading the safety or safeties, checking linebacker depth, feeling the blitz, checking the leverage of the corner, hitting the hot route...  etc. etc. etc...

I'm not even going to get into his individual success in college.  Honestly I don't even know what style of offense they ran at Vanderbilt.  It doesn't matter.  Throughout the history of the NCAA there have been plenty of great college quarterbacks that have no problem reading a college defense, only to fail in making the transition to the much quicker pace of the NFL game.  Maybe reading the entire field at the NFL level is too much?  Maybe being drafted to run Shanahan's O was the perfect scenario for Cutler and maybe Mike Shanahan knew exactly what he was doing when he drafted Cutler.  And maybe Jerry Angelo made a mistake in his talent evaluation of Cutler, and an even bigger mistake is not putting him with the type of offense he's had success in.

As a fan, I really hope I'm wrong, and that the offense is close to having everyone on the same page.  But the body of work from Cutler is starting to tell me otherwise.  He has a freakishly strong arm and good mobility, and in the right system he can play at a Pro Bowl level.  He's done it before, but can he do it again?

The Bears have their bye week at the perfect time.  If Mike Martz can't go through his voluminous playbook and find something that works or create some new pages for it that better fit the talents of his players, the season will be lost.  He has the football know-how to do anything he sets his mind to and he's shown the ability to adapt in the few games we've seen in 2010.  But is he too stubborn to make wholesale alterations to his game plans?

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