Daily Herald
Martz could finally be our QB solution
By Mike Imrem | Daily Herald Columnist
Published: 9/21/201 12:01 AM

Where has Mike Martz been all my life?

It isn't like the Bears haven't needed a quarterback fixer for the past, oh, let's say six decades.

Against long odds, early indications are that Martz is stifling the punch lines about Jay Cutler.

Like, in Monday's column I erroneously wrote that the upcoming Bears-Packers game will be in Green Bay when it's actually scheduled for Soldier Field.

Last year I could have joked that I committed a Cutler.

Can't say that anymore.

Last week, just in passing so to speak, syndicated sports humorist Norman Chad wisecracked this in his column:

"Traditionally, Major League Baseball unofficially opens its season by having the president throw out the first pitch; in the NFL, the new season is unofficially christened when Jay Cutler throws his first interception."

Ho-ho - no! Nobody is laughing at Cutler this season.

In two games under Martz, Cutler has suffered 1 interception. At this rate he'll wind up with 8 interceptions for the entire season compared to 26 in 2009.

Bears head coach Lovie Smith said after beating the Cowboys. "I'm looking forward to see exactly how far (Cutler) can go."

More precisely, to see how far Martz can take Cutler. Can this finally be a Bears coach capable of transforming quarterback potential into all-pro production?

If the answer is yes, we would have to say Martz was underrated when he arrived at Halas Hall. Personally, I expected him to be no more than the Bears' best offensive coordinator since they thrilled the nation with the T-formation.

Or maybe since further back when Henry Ford thrilled the nation with the Model-T.

Anyway, up to now Martz has been so much more than even his supporters expected.

My goodness, the man is like a plumber who turns back floods with a stare, a carpenter who builds villages with a plastic knife and fork, a composer who pens entire movie scores on his lunch hour.

Cutler didn't invent the interception last season, but he did perfect the imperfection. Now Martz has him throwing to the correct uniform or beyond the nearest sideline when appropriate.

So where was Martz all the years when the Bears needed him to turn Bob Avellini into a Terry Bradshaw and Rex Grossman into a John Elway?

The impression always was that if the Bears drafted Joe Montana he would have become, say, a Cade McNown, and if they traded for Brett Favre he would have become, say, a Rick Mirer.

Last season critics started saying that Cutler never would be all he should be here and continued to say the Bears never would have a premier quarterback in our lifetimes.

Today those same critics wonder whether Soldier Field can be a place where quarterbacks actually go to thrive instead of dive.

You see, Martz has added field vision, football awareness and overall sound judgment to Cutler's arm, legs and guts.

Not to exaggerate so soon, but judging by Cutler's progress Mike Martz is the favorite to win both the NFL assistant coach of the year award and the Nobel Prize for offensive coordinating.

The season is young, as is the Martz-Cutler/mentor-pupil relationship, but so far so awesome.

The next test will come Monday night - in Soldier Field, by the way, not Green Bay.

mimrem@dailyherald.com