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Cutler quickly showing just what he can do
By Bob LeGere | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 5/20/2009 1:09 PM | Updated: 5/20/2009 8:52 PM

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Judging by the way Jay Cutler's passes traveled from his right hand to his intended receivers, almost as if connected by a clothesline, the Bears' new quarterback already is getting in sync with his targets.

But that's just part of his role as the new field general.

"A quarterback's got to be a coach on the field," Cutler said after his first OTA practice Wednesday at Halas Hall. "And you've got to get the best out of every single player.

"It's a delicate process. I can yell at some guys, and you can lightly push other guys. It's a tiptoe act. I've got to feel out the guys and kind of see what their pressure points are and how much you can push them, and that's going to come in time.

"I've tried to do as much on the field and hang out off the field with these offensive guys and just get a feel for what makes them tick."

The on-the- field stuff doesn't figure to be a concern.

Of Cutler's first 40 or so passes, only one ball hit the ground, and that was a drop by Rashied Davis, his only one of the day.

Most of the routes were being run against air, but even on throws to the far sideline or 50 yards downfield, receivers rarely had to break stride, and they never had to wait very long for the ball.

"His arm strength is incredible," Devin Hester said. "The first couple days (during voluntary workouts) everybody's eyes were wide open and saying, 'Wow.'

"We're getting used to it."

Even on the deep balls, Cutler doesn't need to put much air under his throws to get them there, like the one he flipped 60 yards in the air to Hester behind the secondary in 7-on-7 drills.

"He's got a lot of velocity on it, and there's not a lot of trajectory," offensive coordinator Ron Turner said. "The ball gets there in a hurry.

"Just his arm strength, I've never been around anything like that before, and he's shown very good accuracy the little bit I've been around him."

That's why the Bears gave up their own starting quarterback, Kyle Orton, two first-round draft picks and a third-rounder to get Cutler. Bears receivers already have learned that his passes arrive with plenty of giddy-up on them.

"It takes a little time to adjust," Turner said. "They know they better get their head around and get their hands up because that ball's going to be there. Receivers want that, coaches want that, everybody wants that."

And they all expect Cutler to provide it, which is fine with him.

The 26-year-old has been making the rounds of the city's hot sports spots and maintaining a busy social schedule, so he's aware of the great expectations that arrived with him from Denver.

"I knew coming into it," he said. "Anytime a team wants to make a trade like that and give up what they gave up, it's going to be a lot of pressure, a lot of high expectations, and I welcome it.

"It's going to be fun. It's going to be a good challenge. I've got a lot of time to work with the guys and get ready for Game 1."

Leading the Bears to a victory in that one would shoot Cutler's popularity through the roof. The opener is Sunday night against the Packers in Green Bay.