- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 4, 2010

BOURBONNAIS, ILL. (AP) - So far, it’s nothing but sweet talk.

Jay Cutler mentions an aura, the respect his new offensive coordinator commands when he walks into a room or steps on the field.

Mike Martz, meanwhile, can’t stop heaping praise on his quarterback and simply laughs at the notion that they won’t get along.

Whether they do could go a long way toward determining if the Chicago Bears get back to the playoffs after three straight misses and save coach Lovie Smith’s and general manager Jerry Angelo’s jobs. Coming off a 7-9 season, they’re operating under a win-now mandate from above and made several big changes during the offseason.

The biggest, of course, was signing Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers, but they didn’t leave the offense untouched.

They added running back Chester Taylor and overhauled the coaching staff on that side, with Martz’s hiring as the headliner.

The move made sense on many levels but also raised a few questions like: Can Martz and Cutler coexist?

“I don’t mean any disrespect, but if you knew how silly that was and how easy things are between he and I,” said Martz, who as an NFL Network analyst last year criticized Cutler. “I thoroughly enjoy his company, just enjoy being around him outside the football part of it too. He’s got a great sense of humor by the way. He’s a little screwed up in his sense of humor like I am, so we kind of fit pretty good I think.”

Cutler, meanwhile, said Martz commands instant respect.

“With the young group we have, like us offensively, I don’t think there is any question he was going to get it,” he said.

The architect of the “Greatest Show on Turf” in St. Louis, Martz was hardly a surprise choice to replace Ron Turner. After all, he’s known for developing quarterbacks and he also happened to hire Smith as defensive coordinator when he was the Rams’ head coach.

His history is well-documented. The story of Kurt Warner going from stocking grocery store shelves to thriving in Martz’s offense while leading the Rams to a championship has been told and retold.

Warner threw for 4,353 yards and 41 touchdowns while starring alongside Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt on the 1999 team’s title run, when Dick Vermeil was the head coach and Martz was the offensive coordinator. The Rams also produced the first of a record three straight 500-point seasons.

The Rams continued to win with Martz as the head coach, going 56-36 in 5 1/2 seasons, but he became known for what many thought was arrogance. He also clashed with the front office before a messy exit.

Stints as offensive coordinator in Detroit and San Francisco didn’t end well even though he coaxed a 4,000-yard season out of the Lions’ Jon Kitna.

Story Continues →