Mike Tice praises Jay Cutler

Updated: October 3, 2012, 3:47 PM ET
By Michael C. Wright | ESPNChicago.com

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice offered some insight Wednesday about his exchange with Jay Cutler during Monday night's victory over the Dallas Cowboys, and he stressed that "Jay and I are good."

During what appeared to be a heated exchange on the bench between Cutler and Tice, the coach explained that he might have vented for too long to Cutler about why the offense didn't convert a crucial third-and-1 situation, and that eventually the quarterback probably thought "OK, OK."

As the incident seemed to escalate, Tice attempted to move over to sit next to Cutler on the bench to communicate, but the quarterback rose and walked away as the offensive coordinator attempted to speak. Tice appeared to be flabbergasted by the quarterback's actions.

But both Cutler and Tice explained that the exchange came as a result of frustration because of the team not converting a crucial third-and-1 situation, and they said the situation was typical of what occurs on the sidelines on a nearly weekly basis around the NFL.

The incident gained attention nationally because of Cutler's reputation as a lightning rod for controversy, especially after his shoving incident with a teammate during a loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 13. The episode Monday grabbed headlines despite the quarterback producing one of his best games since joining the Bears. Cutler finished the game with a passer rating of 140.1 and threw a pair of touchdowns to lead the team to a 34-18 win over the Cowboys.

"He probably had enough of me telling him why the play didn't work," Tice said. "I get enough of me sometimes, too. I can talk a little bit, as you guys know. So in the heat of the battle, it's tough. I was really angry about the fact that we didn't make that third-and-1. I was in his ear all the way from the time he came off the field to the time he went over and put his helmet down. At a certain point, probably enough is enough.

"I wasn't angry at him. I was venting to why the play didn't work. We move on. He had a great game; very pleased with his performance, had a couple of really nice checks for us. He's doing the things that we're asking him to do. He's understanding the things that I'd like to see him do as far as managing the line of scrimmage."

Cutler said Wednesday that he and Tice spoke about the situation "just because it's so prevalent in the media for whatever reason," adding that the incident "wasn't an issue then, and it's not now. We've just got to keep working hard and offensively take another step forward."

Tice explained that what the camera crews didn't catch was a jubilant moment between himself and Cutler toward the end of the game, in which the quarterback and coach exchanged smacks on the backside.

"It's an emotional game, and Jay and I are fine," Tice said. "I wish they would've gotten the clip on the end of the game when he smacked me on the rear end. And I smacked him back, but they didn't show that one. They showed the other one. So that's the way it goes."

Michael C. Wright

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter

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