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Old 09-20-2009, 10:58 AM   #1
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Default Bears: QB panic sets in

Bears: QB panic sets in
Sunday, September 20, 2009
By Gene Collier, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

For his Soldier Field debut this afternoon, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will wear goat horns and a dark metaphorical cloak of diminished hope, which is not the way he envisioned his ensemble for this day at all, at least not on the morning of April 2.

That was the date on which these Bears dispatched a starting quarterback and three draft picks (two of them first rounders) to Denver, springing Cutler from the dungeon of disrespect allegedly dug for him by novice head coach Josh McDaniels. On that day, the story was that Cutler was landing in his new sweet home Chicago to play for a coach with a Super Bowl on his resume and at the head of a roster with aspirations for Super Bowl XLIV.

Not counting quarterbacks who were coming out of either retirement or prison, he was the most buzzed-about passer in the NFL.

Of course, you're never more than four interceptions away from having your key to the city repo-ed, and Cutler's four picks courtesy of the Green Bay Packers last Sunday in Wisconsin triggered a ridiculous amount of civic hand-wringing and tsk-tsking national scrutiny on the first day of his new life.

But what happened to the Bears at Green Bay was not entirely Cutler's fault, nowhere near it in fact, and that's why Chicago is a perilous assignment today for the Steelers as they try to make Mike Tomlin the first coach in club history to start 2-0 in each of his first three seasons.

(Just how perilous got described in part by Tomlin this week when he called the leading edge of Chicago's defense "a vertical attacking, gap-elimination, disruptive front." You may know exactly what that is, but to me it sounded like the Bears are not above coming through the ceiling of the jeans store at the mall.)

It was bad enough that Chicago's defense lost Brian Urlacher and Pisa Tinoisamoa, two starting linebackers against the Packers, but imagine Cutler's alarm when he looked around his own huddle for an experienced wideout and couldn't find one other than fifth-year guy Rashied Davis.

"No one's perfect," Davis told Chicagoland reporters this week of Cutler's 17-for-36 passing performance and four turnovers. "But Brett Favre has almost as many interceptions as touchdowns, and, when it's Brett Favre throwing a pick, everyone says he's just trying to make a play."

Well thanks for getting Favre's name into this column when I was obviously trying to keep it out of at least one this year, but Rashied's "almost" must herein be defined loosely. Favre has 465 career touchdown passes against 310 career interceptions, and, see, now we're talking about Brett Favre again, and he's got nothing to do with this column or today's game.

It's maddening, isn't it?

But Favre rarely has had as thin a cast of capable receivers as the one with which Cutler will try to redeem himself this afternoon against the Steelers' Polamaluless secondary. At wideout, the Bears have Johnny Knox, a rookie out of Abilene Christian, Juaquin Iglesias, a rookie out of Oklahoma, Earl Bennett, a second-year man who got his first start last Sunday, Devin Aromashodu, a third-year guy, Devin Hester, most of whose time has been spent on special teams, and Davis, who thinks 310 is almost 465.

For all that, Cutler still pushed them into Green Bay's defense for 352 yards, only five fewer than the Steelers gained in their opener.

Moreover, Cutler completed six passes of 20 yards or more, and no one in the league did any better in Week 1.

"There were a lot of things the rest of us could have done," tight end Greg Olsen. "It wasn't just Jay."

Olsen is a player Tomlin singled out as "a unique tight end who is a tough, physical matchup for most linebackers," but Chicago's pass offense was so stressed by receiver inexperience in the opener that the Bears actually lined two tight ends up as wideouts and put their wideouts in the slots. In those cases, the tight ends were loose ends, and don't be surprised if the Steelers' defensive success today becomes a matter of tying up some loose ends.

Oh, you thought I was above that one? Nope.

"It's easy to dogpile us because we didn't play well," said Bears coach Lovie Smith. "The way you get rid of that is to play well."

Lovie please, don't say dogpile in a column that's trying hard not to mention Michael Vick by name at least until next week.

As for Cutler, he's nowhere near as bad as four picks, and his sharp improvement today will make for a very tight episode: Steelers 23, Bears 21.

Gene Collier can be reached at gcollier@post-gazette.com. More articles by this author

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09263...#ixzz0RfADaU9d
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Old 09-20-2009, 11:08 AM   #2
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Default Re: Bears: QB panic sets in

They have every reason to be panicing.... I haven't seen a QB play that bad since my mother played QB for our team at the last family picnic.....

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Old 09-20-2009, 11:22 AM   #3
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Default Re: Bears: QB panic sets in

Originally Posted by SteelerEmpire View Post
They have every reason to be panicing.... I haven't seen a QB play that bad since my mother played QB for our team at the last family picnic.....
oh come'on, your mom couldn't have played as bad as Cutler
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Old 09-20-2009, 11:25 AM   #4
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Default Re: Bears: QB panic sets in

cutler will be much improved today. olsen could have 2 td's.
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Old 09-20-2009, 11:46 AM   #5

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Default Re: Bears: QB panic sets in

Originally Posted by tony hipchest View Post
cutler will be much improved today. olsen could have 2 td's.
Not if James Harrison has any influence on that .
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Old 09-20-2009, 01:41 PM   #6
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Default Re: Bears: QB panic sets in

I'm not taking Cutler lightly. Yes he looked like shit last week, but he has a lot to prove this week and I'm sure he doesn't want to hear the boos and jeers of the Bears fans - they're ALMOST as rough on their QB's as Steelers fans have always been on theirs.

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