John Fox on Jay Cutler: ‘It’s a performance-based business’

SHARE John Fox on Jay Cutler: ‘It’s a performance-based business’

BOURBONNAIS — Jay Cutler used to show up to training camp as the big story.

Last year, the giant, luxurious conversion van he drove to camp went viral, and former Bear Brandon Marshall declared Cutler could be the NFL’s most valuable player.

Now Cutler is just the same old story.

In his seventh season with the Bears, Cutler opens another camp learning another new offense under another new coordinator as a new coaching staff tries to unearth ways to win with him.

“It gets difficult whenever you’re learning a new offense,” Cutler said. “There’s going to be days where, no matter what happens, it’s just going to be a bad day.”

But some things are different, and the Bears should be better off for it.

Coach John Fox seems to have warmed to Cutler as a person — “He’s a very giving, caring person, in my opinion, in my short timeframe with him,” Fox said — but he remains reserved about him as a player. Even on Day 1 of camp at Olivet Nazarene University, when heaping praise on players is common practice for coaches.

Fox and general manager Ryan Pace will try to win with Cutler this season, but they aren’t tied to him like their predecessors were. They seem intent on making sure Cutler remembers that.

“I get asked this 8,000 different ways,” Fox said about Cutler. “At the end of the day, we’re a performance-based business. No matter what we say about anybody, it’s going to come down to how we perform.”

Wednesday served as another reminder that the coddling of Cutler is over. Fox’s straightforwardness could do Cutler some good.

“Fox is not going to sugarcoat it,” Cutler said. “He tells you exactly how it is, what he expects from you, how things are going to go from day to day.

“He wants guys who want to win a Super Bowl — that’s all he wants. He doesn’t want guys who are in it for themselves and want to go to Pro Bowls.”

In a way, Cutler seems to be relieved by his situation. Under former coach Marc Trestman, everything ran through Cutler. That’s not the case anymore.

“Every quarterback across the league wants some balance throughout the season,” Cutler said. “It just makes your life so much easier if you can run the ball, if you can do some play-action, if you can move the pocket from time to time throughout the game.”

That’s where offensive coordinator Adam Gase comes in.

As a pupil of Mike Martz, the Bears’ offensive coordinator in 2010 and 2011, Gase joins the Bears with some philosophies that Cutler is familiar with.

Gase might not make seven-step drops a staple — Cutler was sacked 52 times in 2010 — but he likely will simplify Cutler’s options as Martz did.

Cutler said Gase’s offense is similar to Martz’s in terms of formations and concepts, but it’s also a blend of other systems.

“Adam’s done a really good job over the course of his career of choosing plays that are core plays that really work, some gimmicky stuff, some stuff that’s just situational, combining everything together,” Cutler said. “He’s combining all that good stuff to make one good one.”

Right now, Cutler is the Bears’ best option to run it.

“Every year I think you have to be trying to improve your game and show not only the coaches but the rest of the league what you can do,” Cutler said.

Follow me on Twitter @adamjahns

Email: ajahns@suntimes.com

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