This week’s film sessions at Winter Park have highlighted Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler’s ability to extend plays this season.
In his 10th NFL season and seventh with the Bears, he’s operating in a new scheme under new coach John Fox. The changes have appeared to benefit Cutler’s athleticism.
“Cutler is making plays by buying time with his feet, making plays down field,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said Friday at Winter Park. “And they’ve done a good job of not turning the ball over.
“He really is doing a great job of seeing pressure and avoiding it. … He’s got a cannon for an arm. He can be very, very accurate, especially when he is throwing a deep ball. It’s a challenge. We’re going to have to make sure that we’re doing a good job the way we rush, the way we pressure and in our zones as well.”
The Vikings face Cutler and the Bears on Sunday at noon in Chicago.
Cutler is averaging 246.2 yards per game and has thrown seven touchdowns and four interceptions. He threw for a season-high 353 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the Bears’ 37-34 overtime loss to Detroit in Week 6.
Vikings safety Harrison Smith has always been aware Cutler’s athleticism, but said it might be more evident to the fans this season. Cutler’s ability to buy more time, combined with his strong arm, add a layer of difficulty for the Vikings secondary to defend.
“That does make it hard. … You just gotta know he’s a playmaker,” Smith said. “He can make all the throws and, especially this year, he’s been getting out of the pocket and coming up in the pocket moving around, buying time for his guys and allowing them to get open. So we just gotta beconscious of that.
“He’s always had an arm. As far as the athleticism … I’ve seen more and more this year … and it’s really helping them out.”