How Cutler could've impacted RG3's decision to play

979493.png

How Cutler could've impacted RG3's decision to play

By Lauren Cook
CSNChicago.com

Its a familiar playoff predicament: an NFL quarterback leaves the field with an injury, hes checked by the training staff and, eventually, a decision whether to return to the game is made.

In 2011, Jay Cutler seemingly made the wrong one. After playing almost the entire first half, Cutler left the field with a knee injury and didnt return. He watched from the sidelines as his Chicago Bears lost to the Green Bay Packers and were eliminated. If Cutler could have predicted the oncoming backlash, odds are he wouldve chosen to play and be carried off in a cart.

"Cmon cutler u have to come back," Arizona Cardinals safety Kerry Rhodes tweeted. "This is the NFC championship if u didn't know!"

He was joined by Cardinals defensive lineman Darnell Dockett: If Im on chicago team jay cutler has to wait till me and the team shower get dressed and leave before he comes into the locker room.

"All I'm saying is that he can finish the game on a hurt knee I played the whole season on one," Maurice Jones-Drew tweeted.

The publics reaction was swift, vicious and not likely to be forgotten any time soon - even though it was later determined that Cutler tore his MCL.

The widespread criticism of Cutler could have impacted Robert Griffin IIIs decision to play through his own knee injury in the Redskins recent NFC wild-card playoff game against the Seahawks; where he eventually tore his ACL and MCL. He underwent reconstructive surgery Wednesday.

Griffins choice ignited a familiar NFL debate: Is it more desirable for a player to admit his injury and let an able player take his place, or should he play through the pain until hes forced to leave the field on a cart?

Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan believes its the latter, or at least it should be. And judging from Cutlers experience, hes in the majority.

Is this extreme dedication to the game worth the end result? Perhaps we should ask Griffin.

Bears looking into Teryl Austin’s past for clues on how Lions will scheme vs. Matt Barkley

Bears looking into Teryl Austin’s past for clues on how Lions will scheme vs. Matt Barkley

The adage “play the man, not the board” seems somehow appropriate for what the Bears are doing to prepare for the Detroit Lions behind quarterback Matt Barkley.

“The man” is Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, and the Bears have been scouting him as well as his defenses, beyond just Bears games, beyond this season and last, taking in his 2014 Detroit season when Austin prepared defenses for Jay Cutler and Jimmy Clausen.

How did Austin scheme for rookie Carson Wentz when the Lions played (and beat) the Philadelphia Eagles? How did he structure is defense to stop a rookie Teddy Bridgewater when Detroit played Minnesota? (Not very well, apparently, since the Vikings won both games and scored 54 points combined in the two games).

While the John Fox Bears staff went against Austin’s Lions defense twice last year, Cutler was the Bears quarterback. When the Bears beat Austin and the Lions two months ago, it was with Brian Hoyer.

Now the Bears quarterback is Matt Barkley, who has fewer NFL games played (seven) than Cutler has NFL seasons (11), Hoyer (eight), too, for that matter.

“Different defensive coordinators attack young quarterbacks differently,” said offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains. “Some guys blitz, some guys play a bunch of zone. This group on defense there, they have a really good defensive coordinator, they're really smart, they do a bunch of stuff. On the back end, they run all the coverages.

“As a game, we'll have to make adjustments as the game goes and see what their plan to come out is early.”

Coaches and players may talk about how they prepare for a scheme irrespective of which opposing quarterback, running back, linebacker or whatever they will be facing. But in fact, preparations start with who is orchestrating the opponent’s offense or defense – play the man, not the board.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

A risk can be out-thinking yourself trying to anticipate what a coordinator will do. The first point, Loggains said, is to start with your own strengths.

“We definitely look at that,” Loggains said. “As you go in the league long and longer, you face these guys, you see them in crossover games. We always know how a guy attacks a rookie quarterback or attacks a young quarterback, a veteran, or, in Matt's case, a guy who hasn't played as much.”

Evaluations of Barkley’s performance will broaden, particularly now that he is on tape for defensive coordinators to scheme for and scout. And while they are watching Barkley, the Bears are watching them.

Bears Talk Podcast: Is there friction between John Fox and Vic Fangio?

john_fox_bears.jpg

Bears Talk Podcast: Is there friction between John Fox and Vic Fangio?

In the latest Bears Talk Podcast, Jim Miller joins Pat Boyle to discuss the friction between John Fox and Vic Fangio. And are there changes in store for the Bears coordinators?

Plus, Brian Urlacher and Mark Schanowski break down the play of rookie Leonard Floyd and find out which one of Urlacher’s former teammates Floyd reminds him of.

And don't miss a preview of Sunday’s NFC North clash with the Lions, who will be out for revenge.

Check out the latest edition of the Bears Talk Podcast here: