Jay Cutler wishes Packers 'good luck'

Updated: September 12, 2012, 12:15 PM ET
By Michael C. Wright | ESPNChicago.com

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Jay Cutler invited the Green Bay Packers' aggressive defensive backs to mix it up with Chicago Bears receivers on Thursday night at Lambeau Field.

Cutler wished Green Bay's secondary "good luck" at utilizing physical tactics against Chicago's receivers, while Brandon Marshall deadpanned, "I do welcome that."

"We've got some dudes that, if you're gonna get up in their face, even our speed guys are gonna get around them, and our big guys are gonna throw and go," Cutler said. "So we invite press coverage. We invite man (coverage). If we get that type of game, our guys outside have to make some plays for us."

In the past, with Packers cornerbacks jamming Chicago's receivers at the line of scrimmage, the Bears often failed to make the plays Cutler referenced. In two losses to the Packers last season, running back Matt Forte finished as the team's leading receiver in one (7 catches, 80 yards) while recently retired receiver Roy Williams (6-81) led the team in the other.

In the past eight meetings against Green Bay (counting the 2010 NFC Championship Game), Chicago has won only once with dominance by the Packers' defensive backs serving as one of the primary reasons, according to Cutler.

The Bears addressed their shortcomings at receiver in the offseason by trading for Marshall and drafting Alshon Jeffery.

"It's all about matchups," Marshall said. "I'm 6-5 (listed at 6-foot-4), 230, and there aren't too many DBs walking around that big. "If they want to get physical, I do welcome that. But again, you look at (Tramon) Williams and (Sam) Shields over there, and even (Charles) Woodson when he's down there. They like to mix it up. They give you different looks, and that's what makes them big-play potential."

Unlike in past years, the Bears feature a receiving corps stocked with size and strength in Marshall and the 6-3, 216-pound rookie Jeffery. Marshall was targeted 15 times and caught nine passes for 115 yards and a touchdown Sunday in a 41-21 win over the Indianapolis Colts, while Jeffery caught three passes for 80 yards and a TD.

Interestingly, in Cutler's first three seasons in Chicago, no Bears receiver has put together a 100-yard outing against the Packers. The laundry list of receiving leaders in those games range from Devin Aromashodu (12 targets, 8-76, TD in a Week 14 loss in 2009) to Rashied Davis (7-63 yards in a Week 17 loss in 2010). Furthermore, Cutler generated a passer rating of better than 80 in only one game against Green Bay, a contest which coincidentally served as the quarterback's lone victory over the Packers. Cutler failed to produce a passer rating of better than 78.1 in the rest of his matchups against Green Bay, which included a couple of stinkers in which he had passer ratings of 31.8, 43.5 and 43.2.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy senses the Bears could be in the midst of some positive change.

"They definitely have a chance to be a complete offense," McCarthy said. "They have the ability to challenge you both ways (with the run or pass), and their offensive line is off to a good start against Indianapolis.

"Obviously, with the production Brandon Marshall had the first game and the relationship that Marshall and Cutler have from their past in Denver, you can see they got off the way they wanted to. I like the receiver group. It's definitely improved."

Cutler said the diversity of the new offensive weaponry, in addition to the change in scheme with new offensive coordinator Mike Tice, equates to "a different energy" and "a different confidence" in the locker room than what the quarterback has become accustomed to throughout his four-year tenure.

"I think there's a big difference in what we're doing offensively. This is a totally different scheme and mentality and direction of where we're going offensively," Cutler said. "But we have to be careful. We've only played one game. We don't have a lot on tape yet, so we've got to continue to work hard.

"But there's something to be said for being confident about what you're doing, having a feel for what you're doing, and going out there and expecting to do good. That's what we try and instill in these guys."

Michael C. Wright

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter

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