Bears Working to Speed Up Jay Cutler's Release Time

USA TODAY Sports

No, he's not being released. The Bears are trying to speed up the quarterback's tendency to hold onto the ball and instill a little on-field urgency in him, in an effort to help him get rid of the ball quicker.

I'm sorry, there isn't a way to word the headline to make it not sound like the Bears are trying to dump their quarterback. Believe me, I've been trying for an hour. (EDIT: At least it was tough at 6 AM.)

Because what we're talking about here is a report the Bears are working on ironing out one of the knocks against Jay Cutler since his drafting - his long, slow release. Cutler's built a reputation as a see-it-throw-it passer, and that leads to him holding onto the ball for extended periods of time.

So Marc Trestman and quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh have espoused a "verbal clock" during the 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 portions of minicamps, with the intent on using an actual clock during training camp.

"I just want them to have a sense of urgency up there making the calls, assessing the defense, those types of things," Trestman said Thursday. "We'll have a clock in training camp so it will be easier on the voice. But I want them to get to the line of scrimmage. It's like any other quarterback in the league, time is of the essence. We've got a lot of work to do before the snap. It's the same everywhere. We just want to make sure we have that sense of urgency with every single play."

To be fair, it's not just Cutler that stands to benefit from this - the Bears are doing it with any quarterback that lines up for them. But as the starter, Cutler gets the most time with the starting unit, and he could probably use this more than Josh McCown or Matt Blanchard.

"One of the things we emphasized when we got here was that we wanted to protect the quarterback," Bears quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh said. "Protecting the quarterback isn't just the line's responsibility, or the protectors, it's the quarterback's responsibility too. He can't hold onto the ball forever.

"We've stressed that we want the ball out. There's a rhythm to what we do. He appreciates that, and he knows if he's getting the ball out he's not getting hit. We're all involved in it and everybody is responsible for it. Since we said Day 1 that's our No. 1 goal, we've got to live up to it and make sure we are not holding onto the ball forever."

Getting rid of the ball probably would help cut down on a couple of the sacks Cutler's taken over the years.

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