Bears' Jay Cutler finds he needs more protection

  • Article by: CHRIS MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 15, 2011 - 12:45 AM

The Bears don't seem inclined to provide either, leaving the quarterback open to attacks from both pass rushers and critics.

Jay Cutler needed just one more victory to change his image from glum to glamorous.

Just think: Had the Bears beaten the Packers in the NFC Championship Game last season, it might now be Cutler acting his way through cheesy insurance commercials, not Aaron Rodgers.

Instead, the image of the Chicago quarterback is one of him on the sidelines at cold Soldier Field, wrapped in a cape during the second half as the Packers earned the victory and Twitter blew up with Cutler criticism. Even NFL players tweeted to excoriate Cutler, whose injury was neither readily apparent nor announced, and who also didn't bother to don a headset or give sideline advice to his replacements, Todd Collins and Caleb Hanie.

Entering Sunday's game against the Vikings, Cutler seems to care little about that image.

"I don't get involved in that," he said Wednesday.

The Bears revealed, the day following the title-game loss to the Packers, that Cutler had a torn MCL in his left knee but would not need surgery. The Packers went on to win the Super Bowl, and the court of public opinion had issued its verdict. Cutler -- despite leading the Bears to the NFC North title -- supposedly hadn't gutted it out. It was another smirch on the reputation of a player who had asked to be traded out of Denver, where he once was hailed as the team's quarterback of the future.

But Cutler's immediate problem isn't his reputation, it's his health. The Bears offensive line has given up 18 sacks through five games -- last year, Chicago led the NFL by allowing 56 -- and teammates will vouch for Cutler's toughness in the face of such pressure. That pressure, in a Monday night loss in Detroit, caused the Bears to commit nine false-start penalties, eight by the offensive line.

"We were a little anxious up front," Cutler said. "Guys just have to settle down. It's hard to win games if you do things like that."

Cutler had what coach Lovie Smith called a "great" game against the Lions, but the Detroit pressure kept the quarterback under duress. Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz said the team is working on adding shorter drops and quicker throws into the mix, what with NFL sacks leader Jared Allen in town for the game. The Bears offensive line is in transition, with right tackle Frank Omiyale benched and replaced by Lance Louis. The first-round draft pick, tackle Gabe Carimi, is out because of an injury, but right guard Chris Spencer should play despite having a broken right hand.

So Cutler could be on the run again.

"I expect more of the same," Cutler said. "Detroit blitzed a little early on, then they just relied on the front four the rest of the game ... and we struggled with them. So the defensive fronts that the Vikings have and their tendency to kind of play zone coverage and let the front four work, I would expect them to have the same kind of game plan [Detroit used]."

Additionally, Cutler has yet to establish a favorite among his less-than-sterling receiving corps. Dane Sanzenbacher has the most catches (16) among Bears wide receivers, but he's a rookie free agent out of Ohio State. Chicago's leading receiver is tailback Matt Forte, seventh in the NFL with 30 catches.

The Bears' 2-3 start leaves them only a game ahead of the Vikings as both have quickly fallen behind the unbeaten Lions and Packers in the NFC North.

"For us to be in position where we need to be, we need to start playing some better football," Cutler said. "It's the NFL. Every game is different, every season is different, you never know what you are going to get. To go into the season saying you're going to win X amount of games is ludicrous, so we just got to keep battling and try to turn it around."

  • VIKINGS WEEK 6

    7:20 p.m. Sunday vs. Chicago • TV: Ch. 11 (100.3-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Miami - LP: M. Dunn 1 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: D. Carpenter 3
Arizona - WP: T. Cahill 7 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: P. Strop 5
San Francisco - WP: J. Machi 12 FINAL
Colorado - LP: C. Bettis 10
Texas - WP: M. Perez 3 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 0
Houston - LP: J. Fields 3 FINAL
Seattle - WP: F. Rodney 5
Cincinnati - WP: A. Simon 5 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: C. Morton 2
LA Angels - LP: E. Frieri 4 FINAL
Washington - WP: D. Storen 5
Kansas City - LP: K. Herrera 3 FINAL
Cleveland - WP: B. Shaw 5
Baltimore - WP: C. Tillman 10 FINAL
Toronto - LP: T. Redmond 8
Chicago WSox - WP: A. Rienzo 6 FINAL
Detroit - LP: E. Reed 4
St. Louis - LP: M. Wacha 2 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: J. Niese 3
Minnesota - WP: C. Fien 6 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Lueke 4
NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 1 FINAL
Boston - WP: J. Lackey 5
San Diego - LP: T. Ross 2 FINAL
Milwaukee - WP: K. Lohse 5
Philadelphia - LP: C. Hamels 2 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: Z. Greinke 5
Charlotte 97 FINAL
Miami 101
Dallas 113 FINAL
San Antonio 92
Portland 112 FINAL
Houston 105
Pittsburgh 3 FINAL(OT)
Columbus 4
Anaheim 2 FINAL
Dallas 4
St. Louis 3 FINAL(OT)
Chicago 4
Houston 0 FINAL
Red Bull New York 4
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2013 preseason     
Aug 9 - vs. Houston 7 pmX27-13
Aug 16 - at Buffalo 6 pmX20-16
Aug 25 - at San Francisco 7 pmX34-14
Aug 29 - vs. Tennessee 7 pmX24-23
2013 regular season     
Sep 8 - at Detroit NoonX34-24
Sep 15 - at Chicago NoonX31-30
Sep 22 - vs. Cleveland NoonX31-27
Sep 29 - vs. Pittsburgh (in London) NoonX34-27
Oct 6 - Bye
Oct 13 - vs. Carolina NoonX35-10
Oct 21 - at. NY Giants 7:40 pmX23-7
Oct 27 - vs. Green Bay 7:30 pmX44-31
Nov 3 - at Dallas NoonX27-23
Nov 7 - vs. Washington 7:25 pmX34-27
Nov 17 - at Seattle 3:25 pmX41-20
Nov. 24 - at Green Bay Noon26-26
Dec 1 - vs. Chicago NoonX23-20
Dec 8 - at Baltimore NoonX29-26
Dec 15 - vs. Philadelphia NoonX48-30
Dec 22 - at Cincinnati NoonX42-14
Dec 29 - vs. Detroit NoonX14-13

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many regular season games will Vikings win?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close