By Adam Hoge-
HALAS HALL (CBS) While the Bears’ offensive line as a whole played well against the Bengals, right guard Kyle Long made his fair share of minor rookie mistakes.
Long didn’t commit any obvious errors like allowing a sack, but head coach Marc Trestman indicated Wednesday that a swing pass to running back Matt Forte could have gone a long way had Long gotten outside quicker to make the key block.
So when asked about his performance Thursday, Long was pretty hard on himself.
“The way I look at it, we did give up zero sacks, but at the same time, I thought I played terribly,” Long said. “In looking at the film, I wish I could have had a lot of those snaps back.”
The good news is that offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer said a lot of the mistakes are easily correctable and quarterback Jay Cutler, who has been very supportive of Long, painted a much nicer picture of the rookie’s performance.
“Kyle doesn’t know what kind of game he had,” the quarterback said. “He’s doing a good job. I think his mistakes are magnified because those other four guys are doing a great job and they don’t make a lot of mistakes, so whenever someone does it usually is him because he is so young and he doesn’t have as much experience as everyone else. We’re just trying to get him up to speed with the rest of those guys. But if he keeps playing the way he’s playing and getting better and better we’re not going to have any problems.”
Cutler Evolving Into A Leader?
There have been doubts about Cutler’s leadership during his time in Chicago, but with all the turnover with the coaching staff and the exit of Brian Urlacher from the organization, it appears the quarterback has taken on a larger leadership role this season.
“I think that his teammates believe he is (a leader),” Trestman said. “They elected him captain. I think that says a lot, right there. Leaders don’t have to be captains, anybody on our team can be a leader and I think we have a lot more than the five that were elected. I think that Jay certainly has the respect of his teammates and I think that’s what’s most important. That ‘C’ on his chest, I didn’t give it to him. His coaches didn’t. His teammates elected him.”
And speaking of Urlacher, who made recent comments about how Cutler was the only teammate who didn’t call him after he retired, here’s what Cutler had to say:
“I haven’t spoken to Brian. I did not call him, so I guess I’ll reach out to him.”
So that’s that.
Cutler Takes Blame For INT
At first glance, Jay Cutler’s lone interception Sunday appeared to be left tackle Jermon Bushrod’s fault as his guy got around him and was able to get a hand on Cutler’s throwing shoulder as he let go of the football.
As it turns out, Cutler was in the wrong spot, which made him vulnerable.
“I was too deep in my drop, kind of put Bush in a bad spot,” Cutler said. “He blocked him great. He was expecting a little bit shorter drop, and that’s what his set was. So it wasn’t his fault. I got grabbed from behind, but I was just a little bit deep.”
– Charles Tillman and Julius Peppers both missed practice Wednesday. Tillman was excused for family reasons not related to his injured knee and Peppers was sick. Trestman said Peppers had a fever and was “fluish”, so they sent him home to protect the rest of the team in case it was contagious. Both players are expected to play Sunday.
– The Bears were frustrated with the officials Sunday when they were trying to go no-huddle and the refs let the Bengals make their substitutions. As it turns out, the Bears were making their own subs, so by rule, their opponent is allowed time to do the same.
“Kind of a learning experience for us in doing that,” Cutler said. “I talked to the ref about it. If you want to do it, don’t sub, and you can go as fast as you want to go.”
– Cutler said that the offensive tempo in the second half forced the Bengals to use their timeouts as “they were a little bit tired and got misaligned a few times.”
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.