Notebook: Cutler Much More Accountable This Time Around
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By Adam Hoge-
SOLDIER FIELD (CBS) The attention given to Jay Cutler in the last week and half was probably too much, but that’s what happens when you’re the quarterback of the Chicago Bears and there are 10 days to stew over a performance like the one in Green Bay.
Cutler was better Sunday in the Bears’ 23-6 win over the Rams, but he was still far from perfect, completing 17-of-31 passes for 183 yards and one interception with a quarterback rating of 58.9.
But while his performance on the field wasn’t a huge improvement, his performance off the field after the game definitely was. Cutler gave the offensive line the credit it deserved Sunday and put plenty of blame on himself.
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“Every position’s got to improve, including myself, offensively,” he said. “We didn’t play a perfect game. It’s hard to play a perfect game. There are definitely some areas and some plays that we can improve on and move on next week.”
Cutler’s receivers didn’t help him out and dropped some passes, but the quarterback also knew his passes weren’t always accurate.
“Yeah, it’s frustrating,” he said. “We want to catch all the balls. I missed a few throws too though, so it’s part of the game. It’s going to happen … That being said, I have to make the throws and they have to make the catches.”
And that’s pretty much all anyone wanted to hear after the loss to Green Bay Sept. 13. There was plenty of deserved blame to go around, but the quarterback needed to put some on himself too. He certainly did that Sunday.
Guard Switch Works
Mike Tice’s decision to bench left guard Chris Spencer in favor of Chilo Rachal got off to a rough start Sunday, but it appears to have paid off.
Rachal got beat a couple of times early and he was guilty of two false starts, but he got a ringing endorsement from his quarterback. Cutler said neither false start was Rachal’s fault, taking the blame on the first one and saying center Roberto Garza made a mistake with the snap on the second one.
“I think Chilo brings that edge to the offensive line, and he doesn’t take a lot of grief in there,” Cutler said. “He’s a big guy. He’s kind of a mauler and I feel comfortable with him in there.”
With that kind of support from Cutler, you can bet Rachal will be starting at left guard against the Cowboys next Monday night.
While the Bears won comfortably Sunday, the offense left a lot to be desired. Running back Michael Bush said he would grade the offense with a ‘C’ or a ‘B’ depending on what the film looked like and he insisted the unit is going to look more like the one we saw against the Colts Week 1 than the one we saw against the Packers and Rams.
Meanwhile, the head coach refused to criticize the offense.
“I expect the offense to do what is required of them on that day,” Lovie Smith said. “Some days we may have to score 41 points to win. Other days it may be about ball security and making plays when we have to. For our team to put over 20 points, the offense has to be in position to do some good things and they were.”
Of course, it was the defense that put the Bears over the 20-point mark with Major Wright’s defensive touchdown and it’s fair to remember that the 41 points in Week 1 came against the Colts. Still, the offensive line looked better Sunday and that’s encouraging.
“The line played well,” Cutler said. “They had a little edge to them. You go into a game and you’re up in the third or fourth quarter, and know you’re going to run the ball. Those guys came in and when we needed it, opened up some holes. I thought the line played well.”
The only significant injury in Sunday’s game was fullback Evan Rodriguez, who injured his knee on the opening kickoff. Rodriguez has played a significant role in his fullback role and one can only wonder how much his injury changed what Mike Tice wanted to do on offense. With Rodriguez out, Kyle Adams was asked to block more.
Some wondered if running back Michael Bush suffered an injury because the Bears opted to use Kahlil Bell late in the game to kill the clock, but Bush said he’s fine and that the coaches just wanted to get Bell some work.
Adam is the Sports Editor for CBSChicago.com and specializes in coverage of the Bears, White Sox and college sports. He was born and raised in Lincoln Park and attended St. Ignatius College Prep before going off to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he earned a Journalism degree. Follow him on Twitter @AdamHogeCBS and read more of his columns here.