Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Cutler stays mum on T.O.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- If Jay Cutler's salivating at the thought of passing to Terrell Owens, he wasn't about to let the public in on it.
The Chicago Bears quarterback would not say Wednesday whether he'd like the team to acquire the flashy and controversial receiver from Buffalo.
Asked what he would say if Bears management approached him about Owens, Cutler responded: "I don't think they're going to. I think they'll keep that upstairs."
Is that because the team is happy with its wide receivers? Roughly translated, Cutler mumbled, "Hmmm."
And when asked if he's texted or tweeted Owens, Cutler simply said he doesn't know him. He did, however, let on that he has watched Owens' reality show and that it's "humorous."
While the possibility of T.O. taking his act to the Magnificent Mile and joining forces with the strong-armed quarterback is a tantalizing one, Cutler likes what he's seeing from the Bears (3-1). They've won three straight and should be well-rested after a bye heading into their game Sunday night at Atlanta, where they lost in the closing seconds last year.
Last season in Atlanta, the Broncos rallied for a victory. That made Cutler the lone opposing quarterback to win there in 2008.
"It's a loud environment," said Cutler, who threw for 216 yards and led a fourth-quarter touchdown drive that lifted Denver to a four-point win. "Sunday night football, it will be even louder so we've got to protect the football. They're a good defense. Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, all those guys will try to do a good job. We've got to play our best ball."
Whether they could use help at wide receiver is open to debate, considering the group in place is exceeding expectations.
The Bears opted not to go after a high-profile receiver in the offseason, when Owens was on the market, and stuck with an unproven group. The results so far are promising. The Bears are averaging just over 26 points, and Devin Hester, Earl Bennett and rookie Johnny Knox have all contributed on offense and special teams.
"We had high expectations for them," offensive coordinator Ron Turner said. "We felt good about that group coming in. The only knock on them was they're young and inexperienced. But we felt they were good players."
As for the Owens rumor?
"I just heard something about that," Turner said. "We're happy with the guys we have. We really are. I'm excited about the young receivers we have. They're not playing like young receivers. They're playing well."
They're thrilled with their franchise quarterback, too, of course. And seeing Matt Forte break out with 121 yards in the last game against Detroit certainly was a welcome sight.
Now, they'd like to get tight end Greg Olsen a little more involved and improve on their 33-percent third-down conversion rate.
"We've only played four games and there's a lot of football left for us to improve in that area," Cutler said. "We've gone against some tough defenses. ... We've kept ourselves out of third-and-long, which is good. We've just got to get a little bit better at third-and-7 and nines."
With the arrival of Cutler and an unproven group of wide receivers, Olsen seemed poised for a Pro Bowl season. Instead, he's fifth on the team with 10 receptions for 94 yards.
Were the expectations too high?
"I don't think so at all," Olsen said. "I feel I have that type of potential and that type of ability. Things have to go your way sometimes."
Cutler said they will for Olsen, eventually.
"We've done a lot of different stuff with Greg," he said. "A lot of teams are trying to take him away from us, which is fine. That's why it's opened up stuff for everyone else."