Jay Cutler is playing in what could be his final season in Chicago, and so far, 2016 hasn’t been one of his best. He was knocked out for a few weeks with an injury to the thumb on his throwing hand, and recently registered one the worst games in his career (versus the Buccaneers).
Cutler spoke with the media Sunday afternoon and addressed some of those things, and discussed what happened during the loss to the New York Giants.
Q: You guys got off to a good start, scored on the first three possessions. What would you say was the biggest difference in the second half?
A: We couldn’t run the ball very well. We got into some tight situations, just trying to get into the strength of their defense.
Q: What was the key earlier on, in establishing that rhythm on the first three tries?
A: I thought that we ran the ball really well down hill. [Inaudible] put ourselves in third manageable situations.
Q: How do you describe the injury epidemic right now from all the guys?
A: It’s crazy. When I saw [Josh] Sitton get rolled up, I knew that he was probably done. Then Zach [Miller] came running off the field and he told me he was done. It’s hard. You know, obviously, injuries are part of the game. We’re in a situation where we got to replace them with somebody but you know, they’re starting to add up pretty quickly.
Q: How tough was is without Jefferies and then at the end without Miller?
A: Yeah, well those are two guys who make a lot of play for us. Zach (Miller), he started off hot. We were getting him matched up with some linebackers which we felt pretty good about going into this game. Not to have those to guys, it’s difficult. We had a chance at the end of the game. Defense did a great job. We were kind of flipping field positions back and forth that fourth quarter. We had a shot. We had a shot there at the end to go in a win it which is all you can ask for.
Q: The completion you had to Marquess [Wilson] to start that final drive, what was key to springing him over to open up that sideline there?
A: Oh, It was a great call by Dowell [Loggains], you know, they played a little bit of palms out there. They brought the nickel. You know one-on-one out there. I thought Q [Marquess Wilson] ran a great route. We unfortunately didn’t get a good first play and try and kick it off.
Q: Did you think you had a chance to score there when you released it?
A: I thought so.
Q: Is it tough when you’re used to so many games where you win a game but you can’t seem to get over the hump?
A: It’s hard.
Q: It looked like you slipped on the interception. What happened?
A: I don’t know. I feel like I got clipped or something...maybe I didn’t. I went to step and my foot just kind of bounced a little bit. Kind of like I got wider than I wanted to. Hips couldn’t work. I couldn’t get through the throw and came up flat. But I tried to put it over the top to Q, give him the chance there, which is cover two defense. Whatever, long yards there to pick up.
Q: At any point in the fourth quarter did you look around in the huddle, see all the inexperienced guys and think, okay, how do you handle this?
A: We were there last year. We’ve been there last year with some of these guys. Obviously the offensive line has taken some hits too and we’ve got some different guys up there, but all those guys have shown the ability to go out there and play and be successful, we’ve just got to grow as a group and be consistent for four quarters. You look at the first half and we’re kind of walking the ball up and down the field. In the second half, it’s a completely different story and they didn’t do that many things differently. They showed us a few things, but nothing that, you know, would allude you to think that we couldn’t move the ball like we did the first half.
Q: Is that a product of execution or…
Q: …personnel that you do or do not have out there in the second half?
A: I’m not going to put it on that. That would be a disservice to the guys and they’re working their butts off and they’re fighting tooth and nail. We’ve just got to execute. I thought Dowell [Loggains] called a really good game, given the circumstances, and some of those negative runs we have, we have some run-throughs, we have some stuff in the backside we just need to clean up.
Q: Did you sense there was something there that you wanted, if you had been able to plant your back foot?
A: Uh, yeah, I mean I think it was my front foot. I think we had a shot, it wouldn’t have been pick, it would have been a back of the end zone, tap-tap situation, or out of bounds. Something would have happened.
Q: After last week, did it feel good to just have a chance to play…
A: [Laughs] To play again?
Q: Well, I mean to put that behind you.
A: I mean it’s one game. Eleven years, those things are going to pop up. They’re going to happen. I think it’s a bigger deal just because of where we are in the season and the struggles we’ve had. This one’s going to be a hard one to swallow, too. These games that you lose and you definitely have a chance at the end to win, those are the ones that kind of keep you up at night.
Q: What’s the biggest strain on the [offensive] line that has so little continuity? Series to series, week-to-week?
A: What do you mean?
Q: Just in terms of the strain that it puts on those guys to be in…
A: Oh yeah, it’s tough. You’re shipping guys in and out in the middle of the game. I think we do a decent job of rotating everybody throughout the week and making sure that six and seven, whoever that guy is, is ready to play, but the starters mostly get most of the reps at practice, so it’s a tough spot to put those guys in. I don’t think they’re going to make any excuses for anything and neither do I.
Q: What goes through your mind when Leonard [Floyd] is down for as long as he was down?
A: It’s tough. Injuries are a part of the game. We all know that, we all live with it and everyone in the locker room kind of battles through things throughout the year, but when you see those different, those injuries that are scary, it kind of puts things in perspective a little bit and you kind of see how important each guy is to each other in the locker room.
Q: And Leonard [Floyd] seems to be very well liked in the locker room?
A: [Laughs], would that matter?
Q: No, well…
A: He is. He’s a good kid. He works hard.