Bears

Dowell Loggains' relationship with Jay Cutler (likely) a Bears positive

dowell-loggains-bears-insider-0110.png

Dowell Loggains' relationship with Jay Cutler (likely) a Bears positive

UPDATE: Bears officially promoted Dowell Loggains to offensive coordinator on Monday. Click here for more.

One strong positive on the resume’ of quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains to succeed Adam Gase as the next Bears offensive coordinator is his relationship with quarterback Jay Cutler, and his role in helping Cutler reach a new level of quarterbacking.

“Dowell is good,” Cutler said. “He started at a young age. He’s still pretty young -- he’s only two or three years older than me, so a lot of football in his short span of coaching career and playing career. Innovative guy, lot of energy, like the rest of our offensive staff, which is good. He’s not afraid to push the group and try to get everyone better."

But a presumed relationship with Cutler is not a presumption of success or even harmony within the offensive family.

Jeremy Bates was Cutler’s Denver Broncos quarterbacks coach in 2007-08, came to Chicago in 2012 as Mike Tice’s QB coach, and was gone in the mass firings that followed Lovie Smith’s 10-6 final season.

When Mike Martz served as offensive coordinator, he was hired only after he’d flown to Nashville to interview – or be interviewed by? – Cutler. His relationship with Cutler was outwardly positive through the run to the 2010 playoffs. But by the time of Cutler’s thumb injury in mid-2011, the quarterback had directed F-bombs toward the coordinator over in-game disagreements.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

Reality is that coach John Fox is not going to tailor any coach hiring to suit one player. Still, Loggains has been an NFL offensive coordinator, called plays in games and would step into the job with an offensive system and philosophy already in place, which was not the case in the changes from Ron Turner to Martz and Martz to Tice, for example.

What this means is that Cutler would be going into an offseason preparing to work with his sixth different coordinator in just eight Chicago seasons, but this one comes in with the baseline of, as Fox said, “our systems are our systems.”

And Loggains has understood both Cutler, working with him on the specifics of technique, footwork and the rest, and also the hugely significant overall mindset that a quarterback needs and that Cutler hasn’t appeared to truly have in the past.

“I think it’s just getting him comfortable,” Loggains said last season. “The key to playing quarterback is getting the other 10 guys around you to do their jobs. When everyone’s where they’re supposed to be when they’re supposed to be there, it helps him and that’s a credit to a lot of his teammates, these younger guys who’ve stepped up, and credit to the assistant coaches, battling injuries and it’s a group effort.

[MORE: Bears thoughts following wild-card weekend]

“I do believe the No. 1 thing in quarterback play is getting the other 10 guys to do their jobs first.”

That holistic thinking subtly shifts the role of the quarterback, which obviously has “playmaker” at the top, to one of facilitator. The genius of the greats at the position is what they did/do to get the football into others’ hands and making the offensive line better. Even with the tumult on the Bears’ offensive line this year, the Bears still were still middle of the pack in pass protection, one of five teams to allow 33 sacks, two of which (Carolina, Pittsburgh) are in the divisional round of the playoffs.

“[Loggains is] extremely talented,” Cutler said, adding, “bright, has a lot of energy as well, has been around quarterbacks for a long time, played the position in high school, has been around really good coaches his entire career, been blessed in that regard. He’s a sponge. He took all the good stuff from all the coaches.

“I’m not saying that he doesn’t make his mistakes because we all do. But he’s done a really good job of managing our room, from the ‘3’ to me and he works well with the rest of the coaches developing the plan. I think Adam [Gase] would testify to it that he’s been a large help to me and him both.”

The Bears arguably were well served with a reserved, prove-it approach to Cutler in the weeks after Fox, Gase, Loggains and even GM Ryan Pace were hired. For the first time in Chicago, Cutler’s situation wasn’t guaranteed by virtue of being traded for by a Jerry Angelo or handed a $122 million contract by a Phil Emery.

But for whatever credit is due Loggains for the changes in Cutler and his game, the coach is pointing the finger rather than the thumb.

“[Cutler] deserves all the credit because he’s worked his tail to be better at it,” Loggains said.

Bears still have much to prove after disappointing loss to Patriots

Bears still have much to prove after disappointing loss to Patriots


 Beating the, arguably, best coach and quarterback pairing in NFL history is a difficult enough task. Trying to do it while allowing two touchdowns on special teams? Good luck. 
 
The Bears will leave Soldier Field frustrated with their 38-31 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday for a number of reasons, but top of the list will be Cordarrelle Patterson’s 95-yard kickoff return score and a blocked Pat O’Donnell punt that was raced into the end zone by Kyle Van Noy. A special teams unit that had been solid all year — and forced a fumble on a Patterson kickoff return in the first quarter Sunday — suddenly became a disaster, allowing an uncharacteristically undisciplined Patriots side back into the game, and then ahead in it. 
 
Add in an inaccurate game from Mitch Trubisky — who completed 26 of 50 passes for 333 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions — and an uneventful afternoon for Khalil Mack and the pass rush, and the Bears had to scratch and claw to hang with New England. 
 
Interestingly, after all week hearing from Bears coaches and players about how they couldn’t let the Patriots take them out of their own game, it felt like Bill Belichick and Tom Brady did exactly that. Mack frequently dropped into coverage — but so did Leonard Floyd, so maybe it wasn’t all about Mack’s injured ankle. While Brady frequently got the ball out quick, when he didn’t he was rarely pressured. 
 
And on offense, Taylor Gabriel had the same number of targets (one) as offensive lineman Bradley Sowell until midway through the fourth quarter. Trubisky dazzled with his legs, covering over 70 yards on an eight-yard touchdown run and dancing his way to a 39-yard scramble that set up a touchdown in the third quarter. 
 
But Trubisky’s struggles were clear, with the second-year quarterback throwing two ill-advised passes that should’ve been picked off in the end zone and then underthrowing Anthony Miller in the fourth quarter, allowing Patriots safety Jonathan Jones to make a tremendous interception. New England drove 96 yards after that pick into the end zone, with Brady taking apart a defense that missed two tackles on a 55-yarder to Josh Gordon, extinguishing any hope the Bears had of a comeback.
 
While Trubisky did lead a scoring drive after Adrian Amos assisted Kyle Fuller for an interception, cutting the deficit to seven. And Trubisky nearly pulled off a miracle with a Hail Mary to Kevin White, which was completed just shy of the end zone. 
 
The loss dropped the Bears to 3-3 and heaps plenty of pressure on Matt Nagy’s side to win seemingly-winnable games in the next three weeks: At home against the New York Jets, on the road against the Buffalo Bills and at home against the Detroit Lions. But then again: When the Jets come to town next weekend, it’ll have been nearly a month since the Bears’ last win. How the Bears fare over these next three games will be a clear window into if this team is a legitimate contender or one that faded after a strong start. 

WATCH: Mitchell Trubisky runs like Michael Vick for 8-yard touchdown

WATCH: Mitchell Trubisky runs like Michael Vick for 8-yard touchdown

The New England Patriots defense wasn’t giving Mitchell Trubisky many options through the air, so he decided to take matters into his own hands at Soldier Field.

The young quarterback’s legs were the Bears’ most-effective weapon in the first quarter, as Trubisky led the team with 35 rushing yards on four carries in the opening period of play.

He capped it off with an eight-yard touchdown scramble that had him looking like Michael Vick on the field.

The Bears will need to have a more well-rounded offensive attack to keep up with teams like the Patriots, but Trubisky found what was working in the first quarter.

Perhaps most importantly, he’s been smart and safe with his running, opting to slide and go to the ground on his big plays to avoid any big hits.

His legs continue to make this offense more dynamic, to keep up with top-notch opponents like New England.