It wasn’t quarterback Jay Cutler’s decision-making under pressure, his improved mechanics in the pocket or his playmaking on the fly that impressed former Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase this season.
‘‘I loved the fact he did such a great job the entire year of communicating,’’ Gase said recently. ‘‘He wasn’t like, ‘I don’t like this, but I’m not going to say anything.’ He voiced his opinion, which I always appreciated because it makes my job easier of, ‘Why call a play if he doesn’t feel good about it?’ ’’
As the season went on, their talks had a positive effect on game plans. It spoke to Cutler’s comfort with Gase’s diverse offense and to Gase’s comfort with Cutler.
‘‘He was constantly getting better in that each week,’’ Gase said.
Now the dynamic no longer exists. After a whirlwind week of interviews, Gase was named the Miami Dolphins’ coach Saturday. He signed a five-year deal and will have the final say over the 53-man roster. He also will call plays.
So what happens with Cutler? Will he be able to be the efficient quarterback coach John Fox wants without Gase’s contributions? Gase would know best.
‘‘[Cutler] has a good idea of how he wants to play the game, and the thing that you have to understand is that he’s the one that’s [improved his play],’’ Gase said when he was asked whether Cutler has a foundation to succeed without him.
‘‘The turnovers have been cut down because of the things that he’s worked on and the way that he’s approached the game. It’s been a low number this year because he’s allowed himself to get better within practice and took it upon himself that we’re protecting the ball.’’
Three seasons spent watching Peyton Manning’s maniacal work habits turn into big results with the Denver Broncos gave Gase some perspective. While not comparing the two, Gase said Cutler’s work ethic shouldn’t be questioned.
‘‘The way he does it is very good for him,’’ Gase said. ‘‘I just know what he’s been for us.’’
Having to work with a new coordinator is old hat for Cutler, but this change will be different from previous ones. It helps that he has known since early on that Gase’s departure was a possibility. Fox and Cutler also have said the Bears will run the same offense next season, which wasn’t the case after previous coordinator changes.
Quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains is the favorite to replace Gase. General manager Ryan Pace said the Bears will continue to build around Cutler, and promoting Loggains would help continuity.
Last month, Fox described Loggains — the Tennessee Titans’ offensive coordinator for parts of two seasons (2012-13) — as a sharp coach who did a tremendous job with Cutler this season. Loggains had a significant role in game-planning and implemented drills that improved Cutler’s awareness in the pocket.
As far as running an offense, Cutler likened Loggains to Gase and said he would be ‘‘100 percent comfortable’’ with him if he were to be promoted.
‘‘Him and Adam [worked] hand-in-hand,’’ Cutler said. ‘‘Their minds work very similarly in the same trend about offensive football. The belief system is the same of how you win football games, of how you approach practice, of how you approach the week.
‘‘He’s a grinder. He’s here all the time. And he’s had some setbacks. He’s had some ups and downs [in his coaching career]. He’s able to learn from those things, have some perspective about different things. I think he’s 100 percent ready if he gets the nod.’’
Cutler’s confidence shouldn’t be discounted, either.
‘‘I don’t think [Gase leaving is] going to be the end of the world for us,’’ Cutler said.
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