The Bears are embarking on their third offense in the last three years. Each time Bears players welcomed the new coordinator and his new style with the optimism of the Dominican Republic (to borrow an analogy from Family Guy) "this new guy, this guy's going to get it right."
In the past week alone I know I have read at least two Bears players sing the praises of Marc Trestman's offense. As per usual, we the fans are buying in, getting excited about the prospect of what the offense could be come September, despite the fact that it is May.
As tough as the Chicago sports media is known to be, it is surprisingly optimistic in May. I have dug into the depths of the Windy City Gridiron archive to uncover articles from Bear's Dens of the past to see what players, coaches and the media were saying in May of 2010 when Mike Martz took over, as well as May of last year when everyone was buying into the Mike Tice system.
For starters lets look at what Earl Bennett said this week about Trestman's system.
Bennett called the entire new coaching staff "player-friendly," and the offensive system a scheme in which "you never know who's going to have 10 to 15 catches (in) a game," adding that "it could be multiple receivers in one game have 10 to 15 catches."
"This offense, actually, it moves everybody around," Bennett said Wednesday on ESPN 1000's "Carmen and Jurko Show." "So you're not just stuck in one spot. I won't be just primarily a slot guy. I'll be all over the place, and that's what I love about this offense: You never know where you're gonna be. You just have to know what's going on and understand the whole play. I think it's gonna be great for me."
Now, what was that Bennett was saying last July, on the eve of training camp. From ESPN Chicago:
"I feel like the top three or four receivers should come close to 1,000 yards," Bennett said. "I know Matt is going to run for 1,000 yards. I look for Jay to throw for at least 4,000 or better yards. We want to be an explosive offense, but it's just up to us to go out there and do it. We look good on paper, but it means nothing if you can't go out there on Sunday and prove it."
Strikingly similar statements, aren't they? Bennett ended up with 29 catches, which as Wright points out, is 89 less than Brandon Marshall. Marshall was the only one who ended up with 1,000 yards, no one else even sniffed 500 yards.
Now, what was being said when Tice took over the offense? From Wright:
"Just that we want to play fast," Tice explained later. "We don’t want to be out on the field and have the kids think[ing] too much. We don’t want to make it hard for the kids. We want to make sure the kids know exactly what we’re gonna do, when we’re gonna call it and why we’re gonna call it. That’s our job as coaches. We have some great athletes on offense. We have to put them in a position to show us and show the fans, and show the people that love the Bears, their athleticism and explosiveness. We want to be explosive."
And last month when Trestman hit the field with the team for the first time? From Wright, again:
During meetings prior to the start of practice Trestman wrote on a board that the No. 1 goal for the workout was "to practice fast." The idea, the coach added is "to try to develop how we want to practice, a tempo of practice where we could keep our players safe, keep them off the ground and make sure we can get them to the next play safely get competition between the (starters on offense against the starters on defense."
Not the exact same thing but follows the same themes: practice fast, be explosive, keep the defense on their heels.
The last usual offseason account is the budding bromance between QB and coach, let's dip back to 2010 for this. The quote here is from Mike Martz himself. From Peter King:
"What I've seen in him so far is he has no flaws. None. He's got no ego. I'm sure I've not met anyone as intelligent as him at quarterback. He's been a great leader. He can make all the throws. His recognition of the defense at the snap of the ball is freaky, incredible. He sees things the way Kurt used to see them. He came to me with a completely open mind about this offense, and every day when I come to work, he's ready to learn. It tickles me. He's bought in so completely.''
What did the Bears QB coach Matt Cavanaugh say this week? From Dan Pompei:
"Very impressed. He’s borderline football brilliant. I think he gets it. I think he knows the game. I think he knows offensive schemes. I think he knows defenses."
"I’m excited for him, and I think he’s excited," Cavanaugh said. "In the short period of time we’ve been here, I’ve seen him embrace what we’re trying to get done and want to be a big part of it."
My point with all this is we have heard it all before. I found more, tons more. Writers saying Cutler's attitude has turned and we're going to see a "new," "improved" and/or "real Jay." Here is a piece Rick Telander wrote earlier this offseason. Now compare it to this piece Neil Hayes wrote last summer about Cutler.
Just be careful what you buy into this summer. Temper your expectations some, this is a new staff and a new system and there will be growing pains. There will be tough losses.
But then again, it's only May. By week four of the preseason I'm sure we'll all be ready to buy tickets for New York in February.