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

Bobby WagnerOct 22 08:03p

Seattle Seahawks SS Kam Chancellor (ankle), DT Jordan Hill (ankle), CB Byron Maxwell (calf), C Max Unger (foot) and LB Bobby Wagner (toe) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. [ More ]

Zach MillerOct 22 08:03p

Seattle Seahawks FB Derrick Coleman (foot) and TE Zach Miller (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 22, and they have been ruled out for Week 8 against the Carolina Panthers.

Frostee RuckerOct 22 06:53p

Arizona Cardinals DE Calais Campbell (knee) and TE Troy Niklas (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. S Rashad Johnson (knee) was limited, while DE Frostee Rucker (calf) practiced in full.

Johnathan JosephOct 22 06:53p

Houston Texans LB Brian Cushing (knee), CB Johnathan Joseph (knee), CB Darryl Morris (ankle), LB Brooks Reed (groin), LB John Simon (ankle) and LB Jeff Tarpinian (knee) did not [ More ]

Cyrus GrayOct 22 06:33p

Kansas City Chiefs WR Donnie Avery (groin) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the St. Louis Rams. WR Junior Hemingway (hamstring) and CB Christopher Owens (knee) did [ More ]

Tre MasonOct 22 06:32p

St. Louis Rams RB Tre Mason could be the top candidate for a majority of carries since he is averaging 5.4 yards per carry. Mason rushed for 85 yards [ More ]

Dion SimsOct 22 05:53p

Miami Dolphins T Branden Albert (elbow), CB Cortland Finnegan (neck), WR Brandon Gibson (knee), CB Brent Grimes (groin), C Samson Satele (hamstring), TE Dion Sims (neck) and S Jimmy [ More ]

Jo-Lonn DunbarOct 22 05:43p

St. Louis Rams C Tim Barnes (shoulder), DE William Hayes (illness), CB Janoris Jenkins (knee), S T.J. McDonald (concussion) and OT Rodger Saffold (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. [ More ]

Scott SolomonOct 22 05:43p

Cleveland Browns WR Jonathan Krause, Seattle Seahawks TE Rashaun Allen and Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Solomon Patton and DE Scott Solomon cleared waivers and became free agents Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Billy WinnOct 22 05:33p

Cleveland Browns DE Desmond Bryant (wrist) and LB Barkeveous Mingo both fully participated in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. DE Ahtyba Rubin (ankle) and CB K'Waun Williams (concussion) were both [ More ]

Lance BriggsOct 22 05:23p

Chicago Bears CB Kyle Fuller (hand, hip) and SS Danny McCray (knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. LB Jonathan Bostic (back) and LB Lance Briggs (ribs) [ More ]

Sharrif FloydOct 22 05:13p

Minnesota Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph (hernia), LB Gerald Hodges (hamstring) and C John Sullivan (concussion) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. DE Corey Wootton (back), DT Sharrif Floyd (ankle), [ More ]

Dashon GoldsonOct 22 05:13p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Jonathan Casillas (hamstring), OT Anthony Collins (knee), S Dashon Goldson (ankle) and S Keith Tandy (hamstring) were limited in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. C Johnthan Banks (neck) practiced in full.

Brandon BrownerOct 22 05:13p

New England Patriots DE Chandler Jones (hip) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. CB Brandon Browner (ankle), LB Jamie Collins (thigh), OG Dan Connolly (concussion), DE Dominique [ More ]

Josh McCownOct 22 05:13p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh McCown (thumb) was listed as a limited participant in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Brett KeiselOct 22 05:03p

Pittsburgh Steelers OT Marcus Gilbert (concussion), DE Brett Keisel (non-injury), DT Steve McLendon (shoulder), FS Mike Mitchell (non-injury) and SS Troy Polamalu (non-injury) did not participate in practice Wednesday, [ More ]

Jimmy GrahamOct 22 04:53p

New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham (shoulder) was limited during practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Jonathan GoodwinOct 22 04:53p

New Orleans Saints C Jonathan Goodwin (ankle, knee) and LB Kyle Knox (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. CB Keenan Lewis (knee, shoulder), LB Ramon Humber [ More ]

Thomas DavisOct 22 04:53p

Carolina Panthers CB Bene Benwikere (ankle), LB Chase Blackburn (knee), WR Philly Brown (concussion), LB Thomas Davis (non-injury), S Roman Harper (non-injury), OG Amini Silatolu (calf), OG Trai Turner [ More ]

A.J. GreenOct 22 04:43p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (toe) wasn't feeling good enough to return to practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. Head coach Marvin Lewis said Green won't play in Week 8 against [ More ]

Pierre ThomasOct 22 04:43p

New Orleans Saints RB Pierre Thomas (rib, shoulder) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Reggie WayneOct 22 04:33p

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (elbow) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Jake LockerOct 22 04:33p

Tennessee Titans QB Jake Locker (thumb) was a limited participant in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Kelechi OsemeleOct 22 04:33p

Baltimore Ravens DE Chris Canty (wrist) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. OT Eugene Monroe (knee) and OG Kelechi Osemele (knee) practiced in full.

Gosder CherilusOct 22 04:33p

Indianapolis Colts TE Jack Doyle (knee) and OT Gosder Cherilus (rest) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. CB Darius Butler (ankle) was limited during practice, while DT [ More ]

James StarksOct 22 04:33p

Green Bay Packers RB James Starks (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. Starks injured the ankle in Week 7 against the Carolina Panthers.

Brandon ThompsonOct 22 04:33p

Cincinnati Bengals LB Rey Maualuga (hamstring) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the Baltimore Ravens. DE Robert Geathers (toe), CB Leon Hall (back) and OG Mike Pollak [ More ]

Andre BranchOct 22 04:23p

Jacksonville Jaguars CB Alan Ball (bicep) and DE Andre Branch (groin) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. C Luke Bowanko (ankle), CB Aaron Colvin (knee) and S Craig Loston (hamstring) were limited.

Trent RichardsonOct 22 04:23p

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (hamstring) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Mario WilliamsOct 22 04:13p

Buffalo Bills WR Marquise Goodwin (hamstring) and LB Ty Powell (ankle) both did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. WR Marcus Easley (knee) and S Aaron Williams (neck) [ More ]

Martellus BennettOct 22 04:13p

Chicago Bears TE Martellus Bennett (hamstring) said he expects to practice Thursday, Oct. 23, and play in Week 8. Bennett missed practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Nick MangoldOct 22 04:13p

New York Jets LB Trevor Reilly (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. OT Oday Aboushi (shoulder), CB Phillip Adams (groin), OG Willie Colon (knee), LB David Harris (shoulder) [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group