- Doug Padilla, ESPN Staff Writer
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Four new members of the line, not to mention two rookies on the right side, could have been a recipe for disaster, but so far it has been good enough to allow Cutler to pass for 532 yards and five touchdowns in the Bears' 2-0 start.
"The hardest thing right now is stepping in the pocket and not seeing ghosts because these guys are doing such a fabulous job protecting," Cutler said Monday on ESPN 1000's weekly "The Jay Cutler Show." "It's just getting used to being able to take my steps, take my appropriate drop and step up and go through all my reads. It's a good problem to have, but it's still something I have to get used to with these new guys."
When protection goes bad, quarterbacks can often feel pressure that's not there. At its worst, it can result in phantom sacks -- when the quarterback crumples simply expecting to get hit. Cutler seems to be moving as far away from that stage as he ever has.
"I think we do a good job of protecting me early in the game so I can get that trust level and can feel protected in there," Cutler said. "But the more I watch film, and the more I'm (playing) with these guys, they are doing everything they can to protect me, and I just have to do my job back there and deliver the ball for them because they're fighting their (tails) off."
"He's so cool," Long said about Cutler following Sunday's 31-30 victory over the Vikings. "I wish I was as cool as Jay Cutler. I was all fired up, and Jay, his heart was going two beats a minute like nothing was going on. He does a great job. He's our leader on the offensive side of the ball and we'll follow him to the promised land. Today it was the end zone."
The typically unfazed Cutler said it's all in a day's work.
"I've got to have a sense of calm in the huddle," Cutler said. "If I was going crazy and all frantic, the guys will do the same. As long as I'm calm and have everything under control, that will perpetuate to the rest of the guys and they will be calm as well."