Bears must regroup for rebuilding Rams
Cutler, O-line have more than week to get act together physically and emotionally
- Week 2 photos: Packers 23, Bears 10
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- STORY: Former Bears captain rips Cutler's behavior
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Cutler's toughness was wrongly questioned after that nightmarish defeat when the Bears were a game away from reaching the Super Bowl. Now, his composure and leadership skills are under scrutiny after the loss to the Packers at Lambeau Field that seemingly erased all the confidence generated in a feel-good Week 1 smackdown of the Colts.
The Bears (1-1) have more than a week to regroup before the rebuilding Rams (0-1) visit Soldier Field on Sept. 23, ample time to consider changes on an offensive line that will take its blame for seven sacks, the second-most in Cutler's career.
It's too early to tell if coach Lovie Smith and offensive coordinator Mike Tice are ready to yank left tackle J'Marcus Webb, who was praised after Game 1. But if the team was to re-insert former first-round draft pick Chris Williams at the position, it might make sense to let him get acclimated during a home game before a Week 4 trip to Dallas for another prime-time appearance on ESPN's "Monday Night Football."
Left guard Chris Spencer turned loose Clay Matthews for one of his 3 1/2 sacks and hasn't had a smooth adjustment since moving from the right side.
Cutler, captured screaming at Webb as he left the field following one first-half possession, bumped Webb as they neared the sideline in footage the NFL Network showed in what was a record telecast for the league's channel with an overnight rating of 6.3.
"Just frustration more or less," Webb said of the incident. "We really had to score there so that was him just saying 'Let's pick it up, let's get it together.'"
Afterward, Cutler pressed on, saying, "If they want a quarterback that doesn't care, they can find someone else."
In the Green Bay locker room, Packers safety Charles Woodson said it was the "same old Jay." At one point in the fourth quarter, Cutler kicked at Woodson when he was at the quarterback's feet following a blitz.
"I'm good," Woodson said. "I don't want to talk about it."
Former Bears captain Adewale Ogunleye, a defensive end in Cutler's first season with the team in 2009, was critical of his former teammate Friday on WSCR-AM 670.
"If you are not doing your job, yeah, someone should be allowed to get in your face," Ogunleye said. "But if you live in a glass house, you can't throw any stones. So the way I am looking at the game, no one is yelling at Jay when he is throwing the ball three (four) times to their defenders. And you have to have some sense of accountability. At the end of the day, you start losing the respect of your teammates … when publicly you're bumping people and yelling at them in their face.
"There is no good to Jay, there is no smiling. All we see is when he is pissed off, when he is angry and that reflects in the way people might view him in the locker room."
General manager Phil Emery is in his first season and will be evaluating Smith, who is signed through 2013. Cutler's contract has the same timeline and Emery has no ties to him. The Bears know full well about the immense physical talent Cutler possesses but the linemen didn't lead Cutler to fire repeatedly off his back foot into the Packers secondary, leading to the four interceptions.
The first step has to be shoring up protection issues that extended to the running backs and the tight ends. Otherwise, Cutler isn't going to find his happy place, however challenging it is for teammates to locate him there. It's clear to all on the field when he is frustrated.
"I heard a few of the coaches say something about it," Woodson said. "They were saying he was pretty frustrated out there. Who wouldn't be frustrated?"