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Last updated: Sat. Jan. 12, 2013 - 02:06 am EDT

COLUMN

Arians would be good fit for Bears, Cutler

The Colts' offensive coordinator would let QB sling it

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Bruce Arians and Jay Cutler are both brash gunslingers, so put that fact No.1 on the list of reasons why Arians would be a good pick as the next Chicago Bears coach.

It's a necessity in the NFL that coach and quarterback operate with one purpose, one direction and one mind. That's true whether it's Bill Belichick and Tom Brady or Jim Harbaugh and Alex, er, Colin Kaepernick.

Arians has spent his career as a coordinator and quarterbacks coach, so it'll be a natural transition. He worked and developed Peyton Manning with the Colts, Ben Roethlisberger with the Steelers and the first season of Andrew Luck with the Colts. Roethlisberger loved Arians so much he pouted all season, verbally and non-verbally, about his absence.

Cutler's a bit of a different story, of course.

He's already an established NFL quarterback, not some wide-eyed rookie eager to gain wisdom from a pro coaching sage.

But Cutler's favored style of play –a risk-taking, big-play loving, throw, throw and throw some more approach – is exactly what Arians loves to promote. Arians isn't afraid to use a running game. Look at the increase in the Colts' ground attack later in the season when Vick Ballard blossomed. Since the Bears have a big-time runner in Matt Forte, Arians would use that weapon.

But it's a passing league and Arians wholeheartedly endorses a passing attack. He has said often there are no “dinks and dunks” in his list of favorite plays. Brandon Marshall would be popular in an Arians offense.

Cutler can live without dinks and dunks, too.

Can Cutler take some constructive criticism? Arians doesn't sugarcoat things, and if Cutler would let him, he could still improve as he enters his eighth season in the league.

Arians is a bit of a mystery as a head coach since his only experience came this season as three-month interim coach of the Colts, a stretch where the Colts went 9-3 and found their way into the playoffs. But what Arians showed during this season is the fact he can keep a 53-man roster focused, he can handle both veterans and rookies and he can build game plans from team to team.

Some questions are harder to answer, such as which coaches Arians would have on his staff. He has made it a point that he wants to call plays if he's a head coach, essentially being the offensive coordinator, too. Would the Bears or any other team agree to that? Arians did both with the Colts, but there's no guarantee that would work over the long haul.

The Bears are a playoff-caliber team, so Arians would not have to rebuild. That's a key to why he'd be a good fit, too.

Arians is 60, which is pretty old for his first coaching job. With his age comes experience. There won't be anything that happens with the Bears that he hasn't dealt with or seen during his career. He won't be taken by surprise by any aspect of the job.

The fact this would be his first and likely last chance at a head coaching job would guarantee urgency in his approach.

He helped foster a win-now mentality with the Colts, a team no one expected to contend, so that shouldn't be an issue with a team like the Bears.

Incidentally, Bears fans and media who tired of Lovie Smith's news conferences and reticence to deliver any type of memorable sound bites? Arians never runs out of quips or stories. He'd be a media darling, at least until he lost to the Packers.

Arians told a San Diego radio station he is interested in the Chargers job, where former Colts vice president Tom Telesco is now the general manager. That could be a nice fit, too. The Eagles might also be interested.

Neither of those jobs is better than coaching the Bears. None of those teams have the weapons in place to make an immediate Super Bowl run. San Diego has Philip Rivers at quarterback, a player not unlike Cutler in terms of experience and approach. The Eagles are coming off a disaster and Michael Vick is not an Arians-style quarterback.

The Bears are the best team, right now, of the bunch. They are not far from Super Bowl contention. Earlier this season, they looked like one of the top three or four teams in the NFL.

Roethlisberger swore by Arians. Loved his guidance. Loved his play-calling. Loved his brash approach. That style would fit Cutler, too.

If the coach and QB fit, there's no better way to jump-start a team already on the verge of a big season.

rhayes@news-sentinel.com


This column is the commentary of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of The News-Sentinel. Email Reggie Hayes at rhayes@news-sentinel.com.


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