June 18, 02010
Before Jay Cutler met Mike Martz when the Chicago Bears put together an interesting screening process that involved the quarterback meeting the candidates for the offensive coordinator job, Cutler did some homework.
That involved calling around the league to some players familiar with Martz. One of those calls was placed to Alex Smith of the San Francisco 49ers, who didn’t fare so well under Martz, not when he lost out on the starting job to journeyman J.T. O’Sullivan, a player Martz had brought with him to the Niners from Detroit.
Still, Smith put in a good word for Martz, according to a report by Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune.
“I think the first thing is you just have to trust the system and buy into it,'' Smith said. “It is a little different than anything he's ever done ... at least it was that for me ... and you just have to trust it from the jump.
“If you do that and you really dive in, I think some good things will happen. There are a lot of good things in this offense that no one else is doing in the league.''
Smith was frank and said the switch was a difficult one for him, and Martz was his fourth coordinator in as many years.
“Martz is a little unorthodox with the way he does things, especially with quarterbacks. Like I said, you have to buy into the system. It's all about timing. You have to get rid of the ball. There are a lot of seven-step drops. You're going to have to attack. The one thing I remember is that it's just very structured. Martz gives you a lot of detail. And there were a lot of plays in the play book.”
Cutler’s first season with the Bears began with incredible fanfare but turned into a rocky ride as he led the NFL with 26 interceptions. The hope at Halas Hall is that pairing Martz with the talented Cutler will turn around the fortunes of a moribund offense.
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