Bears QB Jay Cutler
You guys go off to a good start in week one. What do you think worked for you?
“Defensively we played extremely well. We really got after Matt Ryan. Offensively, we got some points on the board early. We were able to hold on.”
You received some criticism in the offseason. What do you attribute to you being able to ignore that and get off to a good start this season?
“I am not really worried about what happens outside of our building. I will continue to do the same. As long as the guys in my locker room are OK I will be the same.”
You have an opportunity to beat two elite quarterbacks to start this season with Matt Ryan and Drew Brees. What do you think that would do for your reputation around the league?
“I don’ really worry about what other locker rooms feel about me. This is a team game. I would love to see us go 2-0 and just get our season started right.”
What are the things that impress you the most about the Saints defense?
“A lot of looks. They are going to do some stuff that you haven’t seen or you don’t see on a regular week-to-week basis. They really make you prepare, especially up front. They try to confuse you. They will bring a lot of different looks and blitzes. It’s challenging for us up front to figure it out.”
Does losing the NFC Championship game make you more anxious to get back on the field the next season?
“When you have the season we had and get that close you are going to want to get back out there. Just want to shake it off and get back in the swing of things to see the guys. The lockout was hard this year for that reason. You wanted to get started again and we weren’t able to. Everyone was excited to come into camp and it has been a good start for us.”
What were your thoughts on the departure of Olin Kreutz?
“I don’t know the inner working of what exactly happened. Olin was one of our leaders and one of the guys we relied heavily on. Losing him was difficult on us. Like anything else it’s business. We had to continue as usual.”
To what extent do you measure yourself against other quarterbacks in the league? Do guys like Tom Brady or Drew Brees set the standard for the QB position?
“I think both those guys set the standard. They are doing things week in and week out. I think the biggest thing in this league is consistency. If you are going out each and every week like they are, that is the most important. They are doing that. Each week they are winning ball games or putting their team in position to win games.”
RB Matt Forte is a local guy for us. What are your thoughts on him?
“Great player. Great teammate. He is a guy that really makes things work for us. You take him out of our lineup, we’re going to have a hard time functioning. His ability to be an every down back and go out there and catch the ball and run the ball in between the tackles, outside the tackles and pick up blitzes for us.”
You mentioned Forte being an every down back. Is he kind of a throwback running back?
“He’s a football player. We have a few of those guys. Earl Bennett, I’d classify him as a football player. Matt Forte is kind of the same. He’s a guy that no matter what the situation is, he is going to get the job done for you. He’s a safety blanket for me and I love having him back there.”
Forte played in the Superdome during his college career. Has he talked about his excitement about coming back?
“I’m sure he’s excited about coming back. We haven’t really talked about it yet. We kind of are just getting started this morning.”
Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith
What worked for your team in week one?
“It was a great start. You never know, first off, you go through training camp and play preseason games, you never know really know what you have until you get to that first game. For us, we had great practices and we had the core coming back from a very good football team last year, but it was good to see that we were ready to go and we played hard and played well throughout.”
How do you feel like Jay Cutler handled that cloud he was under most of the offseason and came out with a great start?
“That was so long ago when all that stuff happened. We’ve moved so far past all of that. Jay has been great this offseason, I’m talking about his health when he came back for training camp I got to see him for the first time. He did a super job of getting himself ready for the season, getting his body ready to go. He was the first guy in the building for training camp. He had good training camp practices and he hasn’t been an issue. He’s our leader, he’s our quarterback, he knows all quarterbacks in the league have to play well for your team to have success, and he led us. He made all the right moves this past week.”
He looked like a better quarterback than Matt Ryan, who is an elite quarterback in the NFL. Now he’s going up against Drew Brees. How do you think Jay Cutler stacks up against some of these guys?
“Jay isn’t going to play against Drew Brees. Drew is going to play against our defense. I know they’re looking forward to playing against a great player in Drew Brees. You always look forward to playing against one of the best, and Drew is definitely that. But for Jay, and it isn’t just Jay, it’s for the whole group, it’s another great challenge for us. In order for us to achieve our goals, we have to be able to beat some of the better teams in the league and the Saints are one of them. We’ve had a lot of games against them, we have a history with them, and we know what types of games they always are. For us to go and play on the road and play in a dome in a hostile environment, it’s something that we need to do.”
It looked like for a while you were going to play all these games in Chicago?
“We don’t set the schedule, we just play it. You have to be able to win on the road. You have to win at home. We’re not going to apologize for playing those last three games here. We’re looking forward to going down there this week.”
Can you talk about Matt Forte on and off the field?
“He’s a great guy off the field. I’ll never forget him showing up the first day as a rookie. Most of the guys were in jeans, sweats, different things and Matt was in a suit, coat and tie like he was on a business trip. He’s been all business ever since he’s been here. He’s a great guy off the field and the type of guy you want representing our organization. We’ve had a lot of great tailbacks here, so to be the next great tailback in a line of special running backs, you want a guy like Matt. On the field, he can do it all that you’d want a great running back to do. He can run in between tackles, he can make you miss in the open field, he has good size, and has excellent hands. He’s able to catch the ball out of the backfield and we can split him out more as a receiver. Our hands aren’t tied at all as far as what we want to do. We have a lot of options towards using him.”
Everybody compared the Saints-Packers game to an NFC Championship preview. Do you like flying under that radar?
“No, we’re not into using playing mind games like that with our guys. I just try to be real with our players always. Our reality is that we were in the NFC Championship game last year. We lost to a good football team by seven points without a (starting) quarterback for half of the game so I don’t think we need to apologize, and if other teams don’t respect us then that’s them. Once the season starts, opinions don’t really matter an awful lot. I feel like we are a good football team and we get an opportunity to show that in each week.”
What do you think of some of the attributes that Jay Cutler has that make him similar to some of the elite quarterbacks in the league?
“I don’t know about other quarterbacks, I don’t know them personally like I know Jay but I can just talk on what Jay brings and that’s everything you’re looking for in an elite quarterback in the league. He has excellent size, he’s mobile in the pocket, he makes very god decisions, he has as strong of an arm as anyone around, just everything you’re looking for in a great quarterback, he has. You normally see improvements in the second year of being in a system, and I was excited about the opportunity for Jay to be in our offensive system for the second year in a row. Everything you’re looking for in an elite quarterback, Jay has.”
Can you go through the club’s thinking with Olin Kreutz?
“I’m not going to walk you through all that. I think you can understand why I’m not going to go into that. I was disappointed that it couldn’t get worked out and Olin couldn’t play for us this year. Every game up until this past week, every game I’ve coached as a head football coach I’ve had Olin there helping us win football games. But it’s a business. We couldn’t come to an agreement and that’s just a part of the NFL. Those kinds of things happen. I’m just proud of the seven years I did have an opportunity to coach Olin. Olin is a lifetime friend. Our relationship is a lot bigger than just football. Since he couldn’t play for us, I was excited that he was able to go to another quality team in the Saints.”
by Ed Staton
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