BOURBONNAIS – Bears quarterback Jay Cutler and new offensive coordinator Mike Tice talk all of the time during training camp at Olivet Nazarene University.
They just don’t always understand what the other one is saying.
“He’s from the South, and I’m from the North,” Tice said in his typical New York-style baritone. “So, he doesn’t get my jokes much or understand much of my English.”
As long as the Bears score points this season, fuhgettaboudit.
The Bears completed their fifth practice of training camp Tuesday, which featured the addition of short-yardage plays and goal-line plays into the typical assortment of passing plays and a two-minute drill. Whenever Cutler stepped aside for second- and third-string quarterbacks Jason Campbell and Josh McCown, he chatted with his coaches nearby.
One was Tice, a 6-foot-7 former NFL tight end who spent the past two seasons working exclusively with the offensive line. The other was Jeremy Bates, a 5-6ish quarterbacks coach who worked with Cutler during his best season with the Denver Broncos.
Cutler said his relationship with both coaches also spanned the spectrum.
“They’re different,” Cutler said. “I’ve been with Jeremy before. He has a really good understanding of what I like, what I dislike. I don’t really have to say much to ‘JB’ about a certain play. It’s just kind of a look here and there.
“With Mike, we’re trying to explain everything to him. I’m trying to give him everything that’s on my mind: what I dislike, what I like, what I love, what I hate, what I think is going to work. That’s why he’s got a tough job. He’s got to take it all in and figure out what’s best for us offensively.”
Tice appreciates the input. That goes for every player, but especially Cutler.
“We want to know what he likes,” Tice said. “I think it’s very important to have a line of communication with the quarterback and running back and the receivers.
“Why call things that they’re not comfortable with? If we’re calling things they’re not comfortable with, they’re not going to make the right throws. If we’re calling runs the back doesn’t like, he’s not going to hit it up in there. If we’re calling routes that the receiver doesn’t like to run, he’s not going to run them with authority or confidence.
“I think it’s important across the board to have a great line of communication between the players and the coaches.”
It will be hard to gauge the byproduct of those conversations for at least a few weeks.
The Bears will practice today and Thursday before heading to Soldier Field for their annual “Family Fest,” which typically is a toned-down practice. One week remains before the Bears’ preseason opener Aug. 9 against the Denver Broncos, but Cutler will play little if at all.
For now, it’s all about communicating in different dialects.
“I’ve got a few things that I whisper in his ear, and he’s always receptive of it,” Cutler said. “At the end of the day, we’re going to do what’s best offensively for us. No matter if a rookie has the idea, if Mike has the idea or Jeremy or me.
“Whatever is going to work against a given defense, we’re going to use it.”