Wednesday, October 16, 2013
QB Watch: Bears' Jay Cutler
By Michael C. Wright
A weekly analysis of the Bears' quarterback play:
Rewind: With no protection issues to fret about, Jay Cutler came out precise, hitting 5-of-7 for 85 yards and a touchdown on Chicago’s first two drives. By halftime, the Bears had built a 24-14 lead with Cutler completing 13 of 18 passes for 179 yards, two touchdowns and a passer rating of 140.7. Chicago let off the gas somewhat in the second half to protect the lead, but Cutler finished with a passer rating of 106.5. Cutler ranks eighth in passer rating (95.2), sixth in completion percentage (65.9) and seventh in completions (143). He is tied for sixth in touchdown passes (12).
Fast-forward: Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall became the first player in NFL history to pick off four passes in a game thanks to Cutler the last time these teams met back in 2010. Cutler said he doesn’t plan to go after Hall on Sunday, but I find that a little difficult to believe. Cutler won’t blatantly go after Hall, but he’ll try his best to throw at the cornerback within the confines of the system. Cutler has become a much more disciplined passer, so he won’t throw away the game in a quest for revenge on Hall. But don’t think the 2010 matchup isn’t on Cutler’s mind going into this game.
Keep taking what they give you: Cutler needs to continue to focus on attacking vulnerabilities in coverage rather than force-feeding the ball to favorite targets such as Brandon Marshall. Cutler directed 11 attempts at Marshall against the Giants, but he didn’t do it in an effort to appease the receiver. He did it because of the way the Giants were playing on the back end. So if Alshon Jeffery happens to be the 10- or 11-target receiver Sunday at Washington, so be it.
Prediction: The Redskins held a high-powered Dallas offense to just 213 yards, which was the team’s lowest output in 45 games. So Cutler won’t light it up against the Redskins, but he’ll be efficient. The key is limiting turnovers.