Mike Ditka sympathizes with Jay Cutler

Updated: September 19, 2011, 2:25 PM ET
ESPNChicago.com

While some Chicago Bears fans assign plenty of blame to quarterback Jay Cutler for Sunday's 30-13 loss in New Orleans, Mike Ditka sided with the group that felt sorry for the beleaguered quarterback.

Cutler was sacked six times -- for a total of 11 in the first two games -- and was hit 10 times by the Saints.

"I thought New Orleans exploited their weakness, and I think that's what you do," Ditka said on "Mike & Mike In The Morning" on ESPN Radio. "They don't have a good offensive line. They have receivers, but they're not going to stop you in your tracks with their receivers or tight end.

"I think Jay's kind of handicapped. He probably gets a bad rap. I don't think it's the best group around him."

And Ditka doesn't see an easy solution.

"I don't know if you can change it," he said. "Philosophically, what [offensive coordinator] Mike Martz did last week [against the Atlanta Falcons], he used some screen passes and had success. But you can't trick everybody every week. They start seeing those screen passes and they'll figure them out.

"But some of these guys were unblocked. It's just not good. There's a lack of understanding on the offensive line on who's supposed to block who. Or else they're just not very good. You can put it either way."

Ditka didn't think the Bears' loss was entirely the fault of the offense.

"I think the thing to me that was disappointing was their defense," he said. "I thought the defense played outstanding against the Falcons, and I don't know where they were. I'm sorry.

"The pass play for the touchdown [79 yards to Devery Henderson on a third-and-12] should never have happened," Ditka said. "All you have to do is back up. You get caught up there in the wash and the big run, but I'm just saying to me that's who they are. I think they're going to be a good football team one week and not so good the other week."

Ditka did save some praise for Bears running back Matt Forte, who had 166 yards of offense Sunday.

"They've got a football player, I'll tell you, No. 22 is as good as I've seen," Ditka said. "He does everything you can do but serve meals to those guys."

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