Jay Cutler out for Sunday – will Mike Martz be forced to rely on the run?

Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz stands on the field during warmups before a preseason game against the Oakland Raiders at Soldier Field in Chicago on August 21, 2010.   UPI/Brian Kersey Photo via Newscom

Mike Martz has long established that he would rather sit next to a crying baby on an airplane than run the football any more than he has to on Sundays. In fact, if it were truly up to him, he may scratch the run entirely and throw the ball on every down.

But he has a problem this week. The Bears are in Carolina to take on a winless Panthers team and Jay Cutler is still feeling the affects of the concussion he suffered last Sunday night in New York. That means Todd Collins will have to start, which doesn’t bode well for Martz’s pass-happy offense.

Collins was beyond putrid last weekend and it would behoove the Bears to keep the ball on the ground and allow their defense to win the game. Chicago has two capable running backs in Matt Forte and Chester Taylor, but thanks to Martz’s pass first and ask questions later approach, Da Bears are gaining only 68.8 yards per game on the ground this year.

If Martz can’t adjust, the Bears are in trouble. The Panthers may not be in the win column yet and they certainly don’t have the pass rush that the Giants (Chicago’s opponent last weekend) have, but they hung with the Saints last Sunday and have two running backs in DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart that can wear down a tired defense late in games. If Chicago’s defense is on the field for long periods of time thanks to the ineptitude of Collins, then Carolina can take the game out of rookie quarterback Jimmy Claussen’s hand and lean on their ground attack.

I don’t know what’s least likely to happen, Collins actually throwing the ball for more than 2.5 yards per pass or Martz changing his offense to a run first approach.

Or Carolina winning a game.

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