- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Jay Cutler snickered at the notion of a potential repeat of last October's Massacre at the New Meadowlands on Monday night when he leads the Chicago Bears against the New York Giants.
"I don't know about that," Cutler said, laughing. "It's just a preseason game. So we've just got to take it for what it is."
Still, given the prowess of the Giants' pass rush and the nine sacks of concussion-inducing punishment the quarterback absorbed in one half the last time these teams met, it's certainly imperative that the offensive line performs up to snuff.
Sacked on nearly 50 percent of his dropbacks in last year's game, Cutler didn't appear to be overly concerned Tuesday about facing a Giants defense that churned out a grand total of 10 sacks in that Oct. 3 outing, which ranks as the most in one game by a Bears opponent since the statistic became official 29 years ago.
Instead, Cutler wants to focus on the offense, correcting mistakes and fine-tuning the intricate details of the system.
"Hopefully, we won't have a repeat of last year," Cutler said. "We've got to move the ball. We've got to get first downs, protect up front and deliver the ball on time. So we've got to have a good showing."
Cutler completed his only pass last week against the Bills for no yards and was sacked once in one series of action. But the club plans to ramp up the repetitions a tad for the second preseason game.
"You just want to get in and out of the huddle," Cutler said. "You just want to see stuff happening and get a rhythm. We're getting there. There's still some stuff out there that isn't happening, the timing isn't there, things are off. I think you can attribute that to a lot of different things. We've got some different guys out there, and we're missing OTAs. So everyone's kind of in the same boat around the league. You've got to hurry up and put the gas on right now."
Obviously, the protection up front dictates whether the team will make the strides it desires against the Giants. In addition to taking the NFL-record nine sacks in just one half, Cutler fumbled three times -- losing one -- and tossed an interception before leaving with a concussion.
Offensive line coach Mike Tice said the Giants "embarrassed" Chicago's line in that outing, calling Monday's preseason matchup "a great test."
Offensive coordinator Mike Martz, meanwhile, welcomes the challenge of facing the Giants because difficult situations for the players help the coaches in their evaluations.
"The thing you want to see as a playcaller, you try to put linemen, backs, receivers, quarterbacks in situations and see how they respond," Martz said. "You're just looking at guys mostly and trying to get them in pressure situations and see what they do, and how they handle it and play. Last year we didn't win (any) of these games. I think we're much, much further along than we were in the past."
Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.
15hEric D. Williams
2dSharon Katz & Hank Gargiulo