Bears QB Jay Cutler struggled in 2009, but he’ll be under the direction of new offensive coordinator Mike Martz in 2010. That could be viewed as either a good thing or a bad thing, given Cutler’s tumultuous history.
QBs Kurt Warner, Marc Bulger and Jon Kitna experienced some of the best years of their careers under Martz. But Warner warns Cutler that the success can come at a price because Martz is one of the NFL’s most demanding coaches.
“I think he presents you, as a quarterback, with unique opportunities to succeed, and succeed at a high level,” Warner told the Chicago Sun-Times on Monday. ”That’s the Catch-22 — he puts you in positions to do that, and if you can handle it all, and you can do what he puts you in a position to do, then you can have great success. But if not, then you can go in completely the other direction.”
Or, as Warner put it, ”You can implode.”
Cutler struggled with interceptions last season, throwing a league-high 26 while playing behind a depleted offensive line. Cutler also was sacked 35 times, tied for seventh-most in the league.
QBs have thrown a lot of interceptions under Martz. Warner had 36 touchdown passes in 2001, but he also threw 22 interceptions. Kitna twice topped 4,000 passing yards under Martz, but he also tied a career high with 22 interceptions in 2006 and followed that with 20 picks the next season.
And then there are the sacks. Bugler was sacked 41 times in 2004. Lions QBs were sacked 63 times in 2006. The 49ers, whom Martz directed in 2008, allowed 55 sacks.
Warner believes that Cutler has the makeup to shine under Martz’s demanding system, mostly because the Bears QB doesn’t appear to be gun shy.
”One of Jay’s greatest strengths is his confidence,” Warner said. ”He doesn’t seem to be easily shaken.
”And I think that’s one of the biggest attributes you can have when dealing with Mike. He’s going to throw things at you, and there’s going to be frustration.”