- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Sure, Jay Cutler struggled in the season-opening loss to Buffalo, throwing a pair of interceptions which led to Bills points.
But former NFL quarterback Scott Mitchell believes Cutler is in the right hands with Bears head coach Marc Trestman. Trestman spent the 1997 season working with Mitchell as the quarterbacks coach of the Detroit Lions, and helped the signal-caller produce a 3,483-yard passing season, which at the time ranked as the second best in team history (it’s now No. 6).
“Jay’s a little bit like Matt[hew] Stafford,” Mitchell explained to ESPN NFL Nation reporter Mike Rothstein. “Big arm, is much more temperamental. I’m really curious to see what Marc can do with him if Jay will actually let him.”
Cutler passed for 349 yards and two touchdowns in the opener, but the performance was marred by the turnovers. Cutler took accountability for the INTs, and offered assurances he’ll make better decisions with the football as the season progresses.
Mitchell, who once started 57 games for the Lions, recently joined the cast of NBC’s The Biggest Loser, and was asked what Trestman does to coax the most from his quarterbacks. During his tenure with the Lions, Mitchell passed for 12,647 yards and 79 touchdowns and played in two postseason contests.
“Marc really understood how to keep your mind calm. Everything happens so fast and the decisions you have to make ... we just spent a lot of time preparing to keep your mind calm,” Mitchell explained. “So you knew on this play, you just know this is exactly what I do. On this play, this is exactly what I do. And he was just excellent at helping you with having a calm mind when you played. Marc was the best coach I ever had, actually. I just really connected to him. He got quarterbacks. He understood the position. He understood all that went into it. He was great at developing and teaching and communicating offenses. He looked so cerebral. But he has this fiery intensity with how he goes about things. It really, really resonated and we connected quite well.”