2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Spotlight on Cutler with Bears eyeing playoffs

By ANDREW SELIGMAN - AP Sports Writer
    2013-12-26 17:29

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) - There will be no shortage of eyes on Jay Cutler this week, even with Aaron Rodgers returning to the field.

The season comes down to a playoffs-or-bust finale for the NFC North title when the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers meet at Soldier Field on Sunday, and the quarterbacks will be in the spotlight.

Rodgers will be behind center for the Packers for the first time since he injured his collarbone in a loss to Chicago on Nov. 4. Cutler will get his share of attention, too.

Cutler has an expiring contract, a bad history against Green Bay and at least a few fans in Chicago who would just as soon see Josh McCown starting. Cutler insisted he's not looking for vindication.

''This isn't a personal game for anybody in that locker room,'' he said. ''It's all of us together.''

Maybe. But no matter how much Cutler tries to make it about the team, to a large degree this one is still about him.

Even as his fifth season in Chicago winds down, big questions remain about his demeanor, his leadership and his ability to perform in big situations.

The fact that his contract is up just adds another wrinkle to the story.

General manager Phil Emery has expressed his support for Cutler, but exactly how the negotiations play out remains to be seen.

Emery has said he would prefer to work out a multiyear deal rather than have Cutler play under the franchise tag next season, assuming they retain him.

But could a bad game by the quarterback this week affect his value? And if he leads the Bears to a victory, same question. For now, Cutler's future is a bit murky.

''I haven't really thought about it,'' Cutler said. ''Not going to think about it. I've got enough on my plate thinking about Green Bay.''

And if that conjures up a few bad memories for him, it easy to see why.

Cutler is 1-8 against the Packers, including a loss with Denver in 2007 and in the NFC title game at Soldier Field three years ago. He has 17 interceptions, nine touchdowns and a 59.9 rating in those games, and when the Bears won at Lambeau Field this year, it was with McCown filling in.

Cutler sat out that game with a groin injury and suffered a high ankle sprain against Detroit the following week, forcing him to miss four more games.

When he returned at Cleveland on Dec. 15, he shook off some early rust to lead the Bears to a 38-31 victory. But he got sacked five times last week while the defense got rolled over by Philadelphia in a 54-11 loss that prevented Chicago from locking up the division.

Now, it comes down to one final game and one big moment for Cutler against a team that's given him fits.

''Every year is independent of the next,'' Bears coach Marc Trestman said. ''I don't know that you can define how it was, how it's going to be. We'll know more about that at 7 o'clock Sunday night and then you got a little more to work with, but this year is this year. He is in a new offense, with new coaches all around him.''

And Cutler is having one of his best seasons as a pro in his first year in Trestman's offense.

His 88.1 rating and 63.1 completion percentage are the best since he arrived from Denver. He has a rebuilt offensive line and elite receivers in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery to go with tight end Martellus Bennett and running back Matt Forte.

''We weren't as good on offense,'' Cutler said when asked about his struggles against Green Bay.

He has the weapons now. And the Bears have a big opportunity this week.

To some, it's a defining moment for Cutler. Can he lift this team? And will his performance on Sunday impact the Bears' perception of him?

''I don't look at this moment to be a time to be talking about things that are really not relevant to the moment,'' Trestman said. ''I think I've been consistent with that the entire year with how I've approached those questions.''

NOTES: WR Earl Bennett was tending to what Trestman said was a ''very personal'' family issue in Texas on Thursday. ... The Bears signed WR Chris Williams from the New Orleans Saints practice squad and waived DT Christian Tupou.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Justin HoustonMar 2 09:52a

Kansas City Chiefs LB Justin Houston had the franchise tag placed on him Monday, March 2, according to a source.

Ndamukong SuhMar 2 09:43a

Detroit Lions impending free-agent DT Ndamukong Suh will not receive the franchise tag Monday, March 2.

LaMarr WoodleyMar 1 07:12p

The Oakland Raiders plan to release DE LaMarr Woodley, a league source said Sunday, March 1. He made just five tackles in six games before his season ended due [ More ]

DeMarco MurrayMar 1 02:42p

Dallas Cowboys impending free-agent RB DeMarco Murray probably will hit the free-agent market since contract talks with him have gone slow, according to executive vice president Stephen Jones. Jones [ More ]

Dez BryantFeb 28 10:12p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant is expected to receive the franchise tag by Monday, March 2, but during the NFL Scouting Combine, team owner Jerry Jones said that he [ More ]

DeMarco MurrayFeb 28 09:02p

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray could give the team a chance to match any offer he receives during free agency, according to executive vice president Stephen Jones. 'There is [ More ]

Dez BryantFeb 28 08:52p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant will receive the franchise tag by the deadline Monday, March 2, executive vice president Stephen Jones confirmed Saturday, Feb. 28. The move will guarantee [ More ]

EJ ManuelFeb 28 02:22p

Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel still seems to be the No. 1 option at quarterback, for now, with Josh McCown heading to the Cleveland Browns. Buffalo could still add [ More ]

Josh McCownFeb 27 07:52p

Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns QB Josh McCown signed a three-year deal Friday, Feb. 27, according to a source. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed. McCown completed [ More ]

Josh McCownFeb 27 06:32p

Free-agent QB Josh McCown (Buccaneers) has signed with the Cleveland Browns, according to his agent. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Reggie WayneFeb 27 04:42p

Indianapolis Colts impending free-agent WR Reggie Wayne (triceps) recently underwent surgery on his triceps and has started his rehab. Wayne still has not decided if he will play in 2015.

Darnell DockettFeb 27 04:22p

Arizona Cardinals DT Darnell Dockett was released Friday, Feb. 27. The Cardinals would like to re-sign Dockett if he is not able to find a better offer from another team.

Brandon GibsonFeb 27 03:42p

Miami Dolphins WR Brandon Gibson was released Friday, Feb. 27.

Stephen BowenFeb 27 03:22p

Washington Redskins DE Stephen Bowen was released Friday, Feb. 27.

Adrian PetersonFeb 27 02:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson could be a trade target for the Indianapolis Colts. QB Andrew Luck hasn't had a successful running game behind him so far in Indianapolis. [ More ]

Adrian PetersonFeb 27 02:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson could be a trade option for the Arizona Cardinals with QB Carson Palmer and WR Larry Fitzgerald nearing the end of their careers in [ More ]

Adrian PetersonFeb 27 02:32p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson could be an option to be traded to the Dallas Cowboys. Peterson is from Palestine, Texas, which is between Dallas and Houston, and he's [ More ]

Devonta FreemanFeb 27 02:12p

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman could be the full-time back in new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's scheme next season, according tot general manager Thomas Dimitroff. 'My first impression of [ More ]

Robert GeathersFeb 27 01:32p

Cincinnati Bengals DE Robert Geathers was released Friday, Feb. 27.

Greg LittleFeb 27 01:32p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Greg Little was released Friday, Feb. 27.

Chris CantyFeb 27 11:32a

Baltimore Ravens DE Chris Canty was released Friday, Feb. 27. The move saved the team around $2.7 million on the salary cap.

Brian HartlineFeb 27 10:32a

Miami Dolphins WR Brian Hartline was released Friday, Feb. 27.

Harry DouglasFeb 27 10:32a

Atlanta Falcons WR Harry Douglas was released Friday, Feb. 27.

Matt HasselbeckFeb 26 07:42p

Indianapolis Colts impending free-agent QB Matt Hasselbeck was re-signed to a one-year deal Thursday, Feb. 26. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Steven JacksonFeb 26 07:32p

Atlanta Falcons RB Steven Jackson will reportedly be released Friday, Feb. 27.

Adrian PetersonFeb 26 05:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's suspension was overturned by U.S. District Judge David S. Doty Thursday, Feb. 26. However, the NFL also announced that they will appeal the ruling, [ More ]

Travis KelceFeb 26 05:42p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce, who led the team with 67 catches and 862 receiving yards in 2014, is expected to be a more prominent part of the [ More ]

Kendall LangfordFeb 26 04:12p

St. Louis Rams DT Kendall Langford was released Thursday, Feb. 26, saving the team $6 million in salary cap space.

Greg HardyFeb 26 02:32p

Carolina Panthers impending free-agent DE Greg Hardy will seek immediate reinstatement after a judge overturned Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's suspension, according to a source.

Theo RiddickFeb 26 02:22p

Detroit Lions RB Theo Riddick likely will be given the chance to earn a bigger role in the offense next season after the team released RB Reggie Bush.

Adrian PetersonFeb 26 12:32p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's suspension has been overturned after a judge granted a motion from the NFL Players Association to vacate the suspension.

Michael RoosFeb 26 12:02p

Free-agent OT Michael Roos (Titans) has announced his retirement from professional football.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group