Thursday, October 3, 2013
Cutler hopes to rebound from bad game
By Michael C. Wright ESPN.com
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The last time Jay Cutler tossed three or more interceptions in a game (Sept. 13, 2012), the Chicago Bears would proceed to run off a string of six consecutive wins.
Prior to that, he threw four picks in a 2010 loss to Washington, with the Bears running off five straight starting the next week to win the division and advance to the NFC Championship. So naturally, with Cutler coming off a three-interception (four total turnovers) nightmare in last week's loss to the Detroit Lions, the assumption is the Chicago Bears could be on the verge of something big starting with Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints.
Cutler certainly hopes so.
The Lions will be looking for Ndamukong Suh to give the defense a spark on Sunday against Dallas.
"I hope you're right. It's gonna happen," Cutler said. "What you don't want to see is three turnovers, three turnovers, three turnovers, consecutive weeks like that. If you can minimize those, you're going to be in a better place, obviously."
The staff hasn't lost faith in Cutler's ability to get the Bears there.
"There were three good performances [to start the season] and one, as we said, he would want back," Bears coach Marc Trestman said. "But he's been unflappable in practice. I just think it's the unflappability and the emotional stability of just being able to move on to the next play and isolating that play as the only one that really is important, and then forgetting about it and moving on."
But Cutler hasn't yet caught amnesia regarding the performance at Detroit last week, one in which he completed 57.4 of his passes for a passer rating of 65.6. Cutler admitted that feelings of accountability for what transpired against the Lions have affected his preparation for the Saints in a way that gives him the mentality that he must "take care of the ball" because "we can't give them free opportunities."
"Sometimes it's hard to walk back into that locker room and know that, 'Hey, I was responsible for four turnovers,' and you put your team in that position," Cutler said. "It makes you feel bad because I thought the defense played their butts off. Offensive line did a great job. It just brings everything into perspective of how it important it is; how important my job is of taking care of the ball, and making sure I put ourselves in a position to win each week."
Tight end Martellus Bennett doesn't "think Jay needs to bounce back from anything" when the Bears host the Saints, and isn't concerned about Cutler's mistakes from last week lingering. After all, the Bears trailed 30-13 at halftime last week yet still had a chance to tie the score in the final minute despite Cutler committing four turnovers.
Cutler finished the prior three games before the loss at Detroit with passer ratings of at least 90.8, while completing at least 63.6 percent of his throws.
"He did a great job toward the end of the game. He threw three touchdowns," Bennett said. "He bounced back very well. I'm not really worried about it."
Offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer isn't concerned either and mentioned Cutler "has improved his mechanics a bunch" since the start of the season, but against Detroit the club got "in that situation [where] you're throwing it 40 times straight" and "once you turn it into an al-passing game, no one is going to have success."
Cutler, meanwhile, remains acutely aware of the situation he put the Bears in last week (although the first interception to Louis Delmas wasn't the quarterback's fault), and knows what needs to be done for the offense to continue progressing.
Cutler said the Bears are "definitely better" now than the team has been in the past with new offenses.
"I don't know what Marc's expectations were. But if we limit turnovers last week I think we're in a lot better spot," Cutler said. "The Pittsburgh game [in Week 3], we didn't have the production we wanted, but it was a different type of ballgame. In the first two [games], we made plays in the fourth quarter and were pretty efficient. If we keep heading in that direction I think we'll be all right."