Bates, news quarterbacks coach, has experience with Cutler

The Sports Xchange
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--New Bears quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates' biggest claim to fame is the positive relationship he has with the team's most important offensive player, Jay Cutler.

"I'm very excited to be working with Jeremy Bates again," Cutler told the Bears' website. "We got the right guy for the job."

With Bates as Cutler's position coach in Denver in 2008, the quarterback was voted to his only Pro Bowl, throwing for a career-best 4,526 yards, with 25 touchdowns, 18 interceptions and a passer rating of 86.0. Cutler also established Broncos' passing records for completions (384), attempts (616), yards and 300-yard games (eight) that season. He was sacked only 11 times while operating an offense that ranked second in the NFL in total yards.

"His history with Jay was a big thing," coach Lovie Smith said on the Bears' website. "And not just history with Jay but a good history, a productive history with him helping Jay as a quarterback.

"I did a lot of research and I think Jeremy is a perfect fit."

Cutler gives Bates credit for his rapid development as an NFL starter in Denver, especially his last two years with the Broncos (2007-08), when he threw for 8,029 yards and 45 touchdowns with 32 interceptions.

"He was very vital in my growth and my experience as a quarterback there," Cutler said. "The last couple years he had full control of my development and our plays coming in.

"He's a grinder. He's a guy that's going to work extremely hard to find weaknesses in defenses, and he's going to be able to present it to us in a way that we understand and will be able to make plays where we can take advantage of those weaknesses."

Bates, 35, flew to Tampa last week to interview with Smith and then met with new offensive coordinator Mike Tice at Halas Hall.

Bates began his NFL coaching career with the Buccaneers as offensive quality control coach (2002-03) and assistant quarterbacks coach in 2004. He was the New York Jets quarterbacks coach in '05 and then spent three years with Cutler in Denver. He began as an offensive assistant in '06 and then coached wide receivers in '07 and quarterbacks in '08.

Bates was University of Southern Cal's assistant head coach/quarterbacks in 2009 and the Seattle Seahawks' offensive coordinator in 2010. He was out of football last season.

Bates was a quarterback at Tennessee (1995) and Rice (1997 and 1999).

In Bates' one season as offensive coordinator, the Seahawks 23rd in scoring, 28th in total yards, 31st in rushing yards, 29th in average gain per rush, 19th in passing yards, 27th in average gain per pass and 22nd in third-down efficiency.

--The Bears interviewed former Buccaneers offensive coordinator Greg Olson for their quarterbacks coach position late last month, but he turned down their offer in favor of taking a similar job with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

On Monday the Bears hired Bates.

Olson, the Bears' quarterbacks coach in 2003, has previous experience as an offensive coordinator with the Rams, Lions and, most recently, the Bucs. The Bears were also rumored to be interested in Alex Van Pelt. He was the Bucs' quarterbacks coach the past two seasons under Olson, but they were fired along with head coach Raheem Morris and his entire staff after last season's 4-12 record.

"Did we look at other guys?" Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "Yes, we did. Every time we have an opening, I look at everybody available. I even waited to see who would be available so I could see what the pool really looked like.

"Even though we had only brought in one guy (Olson), I had been talking to a lot of guys. But in the end, it was Jeremy by a landslide."

--Smith completed his staff by hiring Tim Holt as the team's offensive line coach. He replaces last year's offensive line coach Mike Tice, who was promoted to offensive coordinator.

Holt has 17 years of coaching experience, including the last three with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Last season he was the Bucs' assistant offensive line coach after working as an offensive assistant coach for the team in 2010, concentrating most of his work on the offensive line. He joined Tampa Bay in '09 as a coaching intern, concentrating on tight ends and helping with the offensive line.

In the last two seasons, the Bucs sent two offensive linemen to the Pro Bowl, guard Davin Joseph (2011) and left tackle Donald Penn (2010). In those two seasons, the Bucs' 4.5-yard average per carry was the seventh best in the NFL.

Prior to joining the Bucs, Holt spent 14 seasons (1995-2008) as a college coach, including 10 working with offensive linemen. He began at his alma mater, Southern Connecticut State, in 1995, then at Lehigh (1997-98) and Cornell (1999-2000). From 2001-03, Holt was the offensive line coach/offensive coordinator at American International before returning to his alma mater to coach the running backs for three seasons (2005-07). Holt's last collegiate stop was Stonehill College in 2008 as the offensive line coach and run game coordinator.

Holt played offensive line for four seasons (1991-94) Southern Connecticut State and was a three-year letter winner.

QUOTE TO NOTE
"The one year he was a coordinator, he led their team to a division title, and he just ran up against a juggernaut in the Chicago Bears. We can't hold that against him." -- Bears coach Lovie Smith, discussing new quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates' one ill-fated season as an NFL offensive coordinator in 2010 with the Seahawks, whom the Bears defeated 35-24 in a divisional-round playoff game at Soldier Field on Jan. 16, 2011.

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