Martz praises QB Cutler, upbeat about Bears offense in 2011

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- It sure looks a little more like a Mike Martz offense.

The Chicago Bears brought in Roy Williams hoping he could rediscover the form that made him a Pro Bowl receiver and underwent a makeover at tight end, trading away Greg Olsen and bringing in a blocker in Matt Spaeth. How all that plays out remains to be seen for a team coming off a run to the NFC Championship Game.

Once again, the biggest factor could be the development of Jay Cutler, and Martz gushed about the quarterback on Tuesday.

"His footwork and his drops, I was kind of stunned," said Martz, who couldn't work with Cutler during the lockout. "He's done an awful lot of work on his own this offseason. I was kind of giddy, to be honest with you. Watching him drop right now is textbook, and I didn't know how we were going to get him there. But he got there by himself."

Now, Cutler has a new target, and Williams has a shot at redemption in a system he knows well. He had his greatest success when Martz was his coordinator in Detroit, finishing with 1,310 yards receiving while making the Pro Bowl after the 2006 season. Now, after a disappointing run in Dallas, he's looking for more.

Can he still be a top receiver?

"That's what we brought him here to do," Martz said. "If we didn't feel like he could be that guy and should be that guy. That's what we would expect him to do and what he would expect from himself."

Martz said he still expects the run to be "a very, very important factor in our ability to win," and he still would like to add another veteran offensive lineman after the Bears brought in free agent Chris Spencer on a two-year deal.

"Sure, I think we would all like to have a couple more veteran linemen," Martz said. "I don't think that's any different than any camp right now. I don't know if you can ever have enough quality offensive linemen ... but that's the case throughout the league."

There still are some big questions on a line that struggled in the early going last season before finding some continuity. Six-time Pro Bowl center Olin Kreutz is gone after contract negotiations broke down over the weekend, and Spencer could take his place, with Roberto Garza going back to guard, although Martz insisted that's no sure thing.

"We're not going to anoint anyone the starter over anyone," he said. "He may not make it. I don't know."

This much is clear. Spencer has some catching up to do. When he saw the playbook, he couldn't believe how big it was.

"Yeah, it's a lot," said Spencer, who spent his first six NFL seasons in Seattle. "I went through it the first day and I'm starting to get it down, the terminology and stuff."

Besides learning a new system -- quickly -- he realizes there's a big void to fill after Kreutz's departure.

"I respect the hell out of Olin," Spencer said. "He was a great guy for me to watch, so I'll just come in here, play my game and do what I can do to help this team win."

Martz praised Olsen, but said the Bears couldn't use him the way they wanted because of the issues on the line. As a result, Olsen wound up out of position at times, but it's no secret that Martz prefers blockers at the position.

Olsen doesn't fit that mold. Spaeth does.

"We had to use him as a running back, blocker, in pass protection," Martz said. "It was not fair to him. But we were trying everything we could to win a game, too. We know he was capable of so much more, and was excited about it. But that's where it is. He's got a great deal of money, to go play for a real good team. He's a great guy, and a terrific football player."

The Bears also agreed to terms with veteran tight end Desmond Clark for another year, the team announced Tuesday. Clark has been with Chicago since 2003, and is entering his 13th NFL season.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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