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updated: 8/2/2011 4:04 PM

Bears' Martz likes what he sees from Cutler, O-line

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  • Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz, center, talks with quarterbacks Jay Cutler, left, and Caleb Hanie during camp Monday. On Tuesday, Martz told reporters he was "giddy" watching Cutler's improved dropbacks and footwork.

      Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz, center, talks with quarterbacks Jay Cutler, left, and Caleb Hanie during camp Monday. On Tuesday, Martz told reporters he was "giddy" watching Cutler's improved dropbacks and footwork.
    Associated Press

  • Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz told reporters Tuesday he'll miss center Olin Kreutz, but he likes the size and athleticism of the offensive line to start the season. Last season, quarterback Jay Cutler, above, was sacked the most of any quarterback in the league.

      Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz told reporters Tuesday he'll miss center Olin Kreutz, but he likes the size and athleticism of the offensive line to start the season. Last season, quarterback Jay Cutler, above, was sacked the most of any quarterback in the league.
    Associated Press

 
 

BOURBONNAIS -- All is well with the Bears' offense, -- at least it seems that way after listening to offensive coordinator Mike Martz extol the virtues of his troops.

Among the developments that Martz is most enthused about are:

• Quarterback Jay Cutler's improved drop-back technique and leadership.

"Technically, his footwork and his drops I was kind of stunned," Martz said. "He's done an awful lot of work on his own in the off-season. I was kind of giddy to be honest with you because watching him drop right now is textbook.

"I didn't know how we were going to get him there, but he got there by himself before he came to camp, and I couldn't be more happy with that."

One of the criticisms directed toward Cutler has been his less-than-ideal technique, and it remains to be seen if he has improved some flaws in his delivery that have accounted for errant passes in the past.

Cutler's leadership qualities have also been questioned, but Martz believes the quarterback's preparation and grasp of the offense will make him a natural leader.

"Leadership is kind of a funny thing," Martz said. "Everybody has different versions of what it is. But I think confidence and how you approach your craft says everything about it, and your ability to exude that in the huddle and how you play.

"And that's where (Cutler) is right now. He has such a great grasp of where we are offensively and what we're trying to accomplish from last year. We put probably more on his plate than what we would normally do, just because of the circumstances (no off-season)."

• The acquisition of Pro Bowl wide receiver Roy Williams.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Williams averaged 73 receptions and 1,047 yards with the Lions in the two seasons Martz was the offensive coordinator in Detroit. Williams is entering his ninth NFL season, but he's just 29 years old, and Martz believes he's capable of putting up similar numbers for the Bears.

"That's what we brought him here to do," Martz said. "If we didn't feel like he could be that guy, or should be that guy, there wouldn't be any reason (to bring him in). Really, that's what we would expect him to do, and that's certainly what he would expect of himself."

According to Martz, Williams plays his best with the most at stake.

"I just know how competitive and tough Roy is," he said. "Roy excels when you put it on his plate and say, 'OK, we've got to win this game here on this play.' He's that kind of elite player. He's a physical guy, he makes plays after the catch, he's got incredible hands, and he knows the system, which in this short preseason is really important."

• The offensive line.

That's not a misprint or typographical error. Martz seems genuinely pleased with the direction of a unit that allowed the most sacks in the NFL last season. In Monday night's padded practice the first-team O-line had rookie Gabe Carimi at right tackle and last year's starting right tackle J'Marcus Webb, at left tackle.

"I'm very happy with the size of these guys and how physical they are," Martz said of the group. "There are a couple of things with the line that are very encouraging, that people outside the program wouldn't realize.

"First of all, (right guard Roberto) Garza last year had a terrific year. He played exceptionally well. Moving J'Marcus back over to the left side, he's probably a little more comfortable over there; he's very athletic.

"The progress that that group made together in the second half of last season, (it) continued to get better every week, and we've kind of picked up with that a little bit."

Garza has been taking snaps at center, but he's expected to return to guard Thursday, when recently signed unrestricted free agent center Chris Spencer is eligible to practice.

Follow Bob's Bears reports via Twitter@BobLeGere, and check out our Bear Essentials blog at dailyherald.com.

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