Will the 'real' Jay Cutler please stand up?

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Will the 'real' Jay Cutler please stand up?

Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011
2:47 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

If the Seattle Seahawks know as little about Jay Cutler as the general public, the Bears should be in very good shape on Sunday.

As he does most weeks at his standard weekly press conference, the Bears quarterback took questions Wednesday. One was from an out-of-town writer, wanting to know from Cutler how many in the crowded media room really knew Cutler.

I dont know, Cutler said. Youre gonna have to poll these guys, I guess.

A couple of hands attached to senses of humor went up in the back of the room.

Right there, thats one, Cutler said, smiling. Two.

Why is that the case? he was asked.

Because they raised their hands, Cutler said, deftly dodging the real question. I dont hang out with anybody in this room on a regular basis except for Wednesday press conferences. So Im sure its kind of hard to get to know somebody within a 10-minute weekly press conference.

But if his demeanor, the looks away from whoever is talking to him or the other indicators suggest standoffishness, those who see him the most insist thats not the real Jay.

There have been Bears quarterbacks thoroughly disliked by teammates. Cade McNown comes immediately to mind. Jim McMahon had the offensive side of the locker room behind him and some on the defensive side ready to punch him out. Olin Kreutz once had to be restrained from taking out Moses Moreno during a pre-practice snapping drill in training camp.

Derisive comments were made by the likes of Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher about Cutler when he was acquired. But those were taken largely out of context and fell under the general heading of defensive guys considering all quarterbacks a sub-species.

Cutler is nowhere near that list or description.

I probably know him better than yall do, said running back Matt Forte. I will tell you that hes probably the opposite of what you media guys portray him to be. Jays a good guy who comes to work every day to work hard. A lot of guys get this perception of Jay as whatever, arrogant, but I think hes the opposite of that.

Not interested

Of all the quarterbacks remaining in the playoffs Tom Brady, Mark Sanchez, Joe Flacco, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Matt Hasselbeck and Cutler Cutler has perhaps the poorest reputation, something that followed him from Denver. (Ben Roethlisberger is also still in the playoffs but neither Cutler nor the rest of the group deserve to be lumped into any reputation or personality sentence with Roethlisberger and his off-field conduct.)

Cutler is active through his foundation in working against diabetes, but his public appearances at schools and such have not always been comfortable experiences for either Cutler or those waiting for him, sources said.

But public perceptions are far less important this time of year than what teammates think of him. Cutler, as quarterbacks routinely do, occasionally attended the traditional weekly offensive line dinner, although that custom was discontinued some weeks ago after being moved to Monday nights.

Cutler and the team have strictly limited his availability to Wednesday press conferences and post-game podium Q&As. So if few people have any real idea what Cutler is like as a person, thats Cutlers choice.

As soon as they put cameras in the huddle and on the sideline and tape everything, which is pretty close, said Kreutz, youll never know who guys really are.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Wrapping up Bears-Chiefs: Not all bad, so why not find some good?

Wrapping up Bears-Chiefs: Not all bad, so why not find some good?

Bears coach John Fox declared in the wake of Saturday’s 23-7 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs that what transpired hadn’t been all bad. And that’s true; good wins don’t usually look as good in the film room afterwards, and bad losses don’t automatically show up all dark, either.

And so it is after preseason game No. 3 that the Bears in fact did have some good along with some bad in what was the worst performance of the preseason, if only because so much of it involved the No. 1 units, and they’re supposed to be better than that.

Since so much seemed to be (and actually was) bad on Saturday night, the contrarian approach is invoked here: Let’s start with the good.

Good: The Bears faced Kansas City (which also was missing a handful of key starters) without Bryce Callahan, Leonard Floyd, Kyle Fuller, Kyle Long, Pernell McPhee, Zach Miller and Eddie Royal. Tracy Porter left with a concussion. They expect to have some if not all of those starters and sub-starters back by Week 1.

Bad: Miller, Porter, Royal and McPhee have varying degrees of injury histories, McPhee the least of the group but had never been put in the position of holding up as a full-time starter before last season. The chances of the Bears having all their key players for full seasons are slim.

Good: Jay Cutler has thrown 31 passes this preseason. None of them have been intercepted. In what proved to be a foreshadowing of a ball-security breakthrough for the historically turnover-prone quarterback, Cutler threw zero interceptions in 33 attempts last preseason. In the regular season Cutler had two games of 31 attempts and another of 33 with zero interceptions, plus pick-free games of 24, 27 and 45 attempts.

Preseason and training camp stats mean nothing; preseason and camp performances often do.

[RELATED: Bears defense can't pick up all the pieces from a broken offense]

Bad: Kevin White has shown less than nothing through preseason, catching a total of three passes and dropping an equal number in what is his de facto rookie season. He has run imprecise routes and looked a seventh-round draft pick, not a seventh-overall one. Despite his apparent explosiveness, no Bear is averaging less than White’s 4 yards per reception.

Good: Josh Bellamy and Cameron Meredith have had next-step preseasons, a matter of some potential significance given the health concerns with Eddie Royal and production concerns with White. No Bear has caught more than Bellamy’s 10 passes, and no Bear with more than two catches has averaged more than Meredith’s 16 yards per catch.

Bad: The Bears need a road win at Cleveland next Thursday to avoid the fifth winless preseason in franchise history.

Good: Of the previous four no-win warmup slates, the Bears finished 9-5 in 1962 and 11-5 and in the NFC Championship in 2010. The 1998 season, Dave Wannstedt’s last, wound up 4-12 but 1978 at least was 7-9.

Five of the last six times the Bears lost the “all-important third preseason game,” the Bears finished 8-8 or better.

Bad: (put in the Kansas City game tape)

Bears cut 10 players, trim roster to 80

Bears cut 10 players, trim roster to 80

The Bears have until Tuesday to move their roster down to 75, and they began Sunday by cutting 10 players.

The following players were waived: DL Keith Browner, WR Kieran Duncan, WR Derek Keaton, OL John Kling, RB Senorise Perry, WR Darrin Peterson, DB Joel Ross, TE Gannon Sinclair, OL Martin Wallace, FB Darrell Young

The Bears' roster currently sits at 80 players. After getting the roster down to 75 on Tuesday, the team will then cut down to 53 for the start of the regular season.

The Bears open their regular season on Sept. 4 in Houston against the Texans.

For the Bears, defense can’t pick up all the pieces from broken offense

For the Bears, defense can’t pick up all the pieces from broken offense

The current state of affairs for the 2016 Bears is seriously concerning when, after adding multiple starting players and investing high draft choices, the best that can be said about the Bears defense is that it isn’t as bad as the Bears offense.

A unit predicted to contend for a spot among the NFL’s top 10 this year was pushed around for 378 yards and 23 points in a 23-7 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. To push all of it off onto the fact that it was a preseason game won’t work, if only because the No. 1 defense allowed 239 of those yards and 20 of those points in the first half.

One mitigating fact is that the Bears offense hit a new preseason low and was coming back off the field before most members of the defense had had time to look at photos and to hydrate. Five of the Bears’ first seven possessions lasted less than 1 minute 30 seconds. Defensive players usually had time to get water or get with their coaches; not both.

And the defense did stiffen in the red zone, forcing the Chiefs twice to settle for field goals with the ball inside the Chicago 10 and a third time at the 23. And players at least bristled at the suggestion that the Bears are soft. “I take that personally,” said safety Harold Jones-Quartey. "I have never heard that word… . The first time I’ve ever heard anybody call us ‘soft’ is [now].”

Coach John Fox found some good in “the way our defense improved. We got a couple turnovers down in the lower-red area.”

[SHOP: Get your Bears gear here]

But those were scant positives in a game that saw Kansas City put together drives of 50 yards or longer five of the first six times it had the football, and those were against the supposed front liners.

The Chiefs drove 53 and 62 yards on their first two possessions, which included conversions of third-and-5 and third-and-14, part of the Chiefs converting six of 10 third downs in the first half. (“Obviously our third-and-long defense wasn’t real sufficient,” Fox allowed.)

Kansas City piled up 106 yards in the first quarter and what defensive “stops” there were might just as easily be credited to Kansas City execution as Bears playmaking. The Chiefs arguably had their initial drive stopped as much by tailback Spencer Ware colliding with blocking back Darrin Reaves on a third-and-short (2) for no gain. A fourth long drive of the half ended only when the Chiefs had a Bears blitz blocked, only to have Smith miss wide open wideout Albert Wilson inside the Chicago 10.

Special teams did the defense few favors. Kansas City punt returns of 18 and 15 yards put the ball at the KC 36 and the 50. The Bears did well to leave those possessions giving up only 3 points.

The game, in which starters and first-alternates play the longest of the preseason, had its points of player evaluation. Rookie cornerback Deiondre’ Hall, whose preseason has been marked by impact plays (not all of them good, of course), did generate another in the third quarter with an interception that thwarted a Kansas City scoring drive deep in the Chicago end. This was, however, after he had lost the ball and the receiver on a 58-yard completion the previous Chiefs possession.

And rookie defensive end Jonathan Bullard, after missing practice last week to attend to family matters, collected two quarterback hits, a sack and two tackles for loss among his three solo stops, according to initial game stats.

But rookie linebacker Leonard Floyd, who has missed practice time with three different health issues since the start of training camp, was limited in practice this week with a hamstring strain, and missed an important opportunity for much-needed work against unfamiliar competition.

“We got a chance to look at some young guys and make evaluations,” Fox said, “and that’s what preseason’s for.”