- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Whether it helps to gain an advantage, Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen doesn’t know. But it’s not difficult to coax Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler into a conversation on the field.
So does that make Cutler more or less easy for defenders to rattle?
“I don’t know if he’s more or less rattled,” Allen said. “I think he’s a competitor. I remember playing against him in Denver back when he used to run his mouth back at the D-linemen. That was always fun. He likes to mix it up. I wouldn’t say he’s one way or the other, easily rattled or not. But you can definitely get him engaged in a conversation.”
The chatter between Allen and Cutler should resume Sunday when the Bears host the Vikings at Soldier Field. During the two matchups between the teams in 2012, Allen failed to sack Cutler. In 2011, on the way to setting a franchise record with 22 sacks, Allen posted 4.5 in matchups against the Bears.
But only one of those sacks came against Cutler, who lit up the Vikings that day for two touchdown passes to finish with a passer rating of 115.9. Cutler missed the 2011 season finale between the teams due to a broken thumb, a game in which Allen racked up 3.5 sacks.
“If [Cutler] can sit back there and set his feet, he’s deadly,” Allen said. “When he runs on his terms, when he gets outside the pocket and does things on his terms, he’s a very dangerous quarterback. The key to him [is] you’ve got to put pressure on him constantly. You’ve got to be around him. You’ve got to hit him. Just like any quarterback, the more you can get pressure on him, the more you can get him focusing him on the rush, or [a] missed assignment by an [offensive lineman], whatever it is, then his eyes aren’t downfield making plays that he’s capable of making.”