PRO FOOTBALL

Common sense not a part of Cutler's playbook

2012-11-23T17:30:00Z 2012-11-24T14:35:03Z Common sense not a part of Cutler's playbookAl Hamnik al.hamnik@nwi.com, (219) 933-4154 nwitimes.com
November 23, 2012 5:30 pm  • 

CHICAGO | Jay Cutler prides himself in being a tough guy.

Bears' fans, coaches and teammates respect their quarterback for it.

But sometimes, there's the need for common sense.

Earlier this week, Cutler was asked if his second concussion with the Bears and third in the NFL would make him take fewer risks, especially with the recent birth of his first son.

"I'm not going to change the way I play football," he shot back. "It's not going to change my desire to return to the field by any means."

A reality check is in order, nevertheless.

The Bears have given up 34 sacks this season, second only to Arizona's 44. Cutler has been sacked 28 times, second most in the NFL behind Aaron Rodgers' 32.

You see the risks involved.

Even with Cutler healthy, the Bears have struggled moving the football behind the league's 30th-ranked offense and 31st passing offense.

"Ah, there's a lot of reasons," Cutler said. "I don't think pointing them out or talking about them is going to do any good. We just have to collectively get better as a whole.

"We have to establish the running game and go from there. We've got to get our identity, offensively, as to who we are and run the plays we're comfortable with."

Cutler's ability to extend plays is key to keeping drives alive, something backup Jason Campbell is unable to do.

When offensive coordinator Mike Tice was asked Wednesday if he felt Cutler would be cleared to play against the Vikings, he gushed: "God, I hope so. It would be great to have our guy back."

A reporter then wondered how Cutler could personally help his struggling O-line.

He replied, jokingly: "Gain maybe 100 pounds or so."

The Bears have won five straight over Minnesota dating back to 2009, but the Vikings come in at 6-4 and fresh off a bye.

"They're defensively what we are here," Cutler noted. "A lot of Cover 2, Tampa 2, the Tony Dungy coaching tree. Good linebacking crew. The rest of the D-line's good. And their safeties play extremely disciplined football."

In the Bears' last two losses -- Houston and San Francisco -- they were held to a mere 13 points.

"We watched film (of the 49ers' rout). It's not acceptable and it will never be seen again," said center Roberto Garza. "We have the coaching staff and guys who take a lot of pride in what we do.

"It's all technique things; things we did to ourselves. It starts on the practice field, starts in the weight room, and it comes down to fighting on every single play."

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