Injuries are a reality of the NFL; at any point any player could suffer a knock that forces them to miss time. That's why its good to have depth on your roster. Even with depth, though, if the back ups don't have a lot of experience with other starters then there can be break downs in communication and loss of impact plays.
Jay Cutler had a good statistical year last year, the first working in coach Marc Trestman's offense. Had it not been for his injuries he may have had a career year or, at the least, re-written the Bears' record book in 2013.
Now Cutler is more established and comfortable in the system, he has a rapport with all of his No. 1 targets; Alshon Jeffery, Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett. The offense's expectations are very high this year, in part because of the standard they set last year and just because another year should allow them to grow.
With Cutler healthy, he should be soaking up all the reps with the 1s that he can so that the offense can be firing on all cylinders, and so that he can get more familiar with new No. 3 wideout Marquess Wilson.
However, John "Moon" Mullin reports over at CSN Chicago that Cutler has actually been taking reps with... the 2s?
This year, with four quarterbacks, the approach is still to acclimate him, this time to personnel. The Bears avoided significant injuries on offense other than those to Cutler, and a goal is to have comfort levels with more just the starters. "Jay is taking probably another 3 to 4 [second-team] reps per period," said coach Marc Trestman. "We did that to give him more work." A secondary benefit is to enable more complete evaluation of the second-tier receivers, seeing how they perform with a top quarterback.
The way that great offenses like the Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots never seem to miss a beat despite injuries is by the quarterback's familiarity with all the targets on offense.
Cutler taking reps with the team's second corps will help him have a rapport with the players who may have to fill in at any point in the event of an injury and, if asked, Cutler can help coaches decide which players would be a good fit on the offense. However, the biggest benefit is just the extra reps that Cutler is getting in the offense, as well as the reps that the back up QBs get with the first-team offense when Cutler is with second unit.
In addition to improving the back ups, Cutler is also working with his starters to maximize their skills and be even more efficient. From Michael C. Wright:
What should have been a touchdown to Martellus Bennett from Jay Cutler during a red-zone drill instead became a breakup by linebacker Jonathan Bostic.Bennett and Cutler refused to let it go. So after practice, the two stood in the end zone discussing ways they could be more effective in the red zone as the rest of the team walked off the field.
That was from Saturday. This was in this morning's practice, showing that they are making progress:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bears?src=hash">#Bears</a> TE Martellus Bennett 2 TD catches from Jay Cutler in red zone; first was tipped by safeties Ryan Mundy and Brock Vereen.</p>— Bob LeGere (@BobLeGere) <a href="https://twitter.com/BobLeGere/statuses/493776990663491584">July 28, 2014</a></blockquote>
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Cutler is making the most of his teammates, the offense and his reps to make sure that they are playing to their potential in season. The work going in now in late July will be paying dividends in December.