The Chicago Bears kicked off Week 11 of the NFL season with a bang on Thursday night, particularly defensively. Da Bears put the clamps on a Miami team that was down to its third quarterback in Tyler Thigpen.
Therein lies the rub. While a victory over the Dolphins might have looked better at one time, the fact that Chicago did it against a team depleted at quarterback has it taking more flack. And considering the teams they’ve beaten, the Bears have taken their fair share of it. Chicago has beaten each of its division foes, though only Green Bay looks really impressive in that group. It has also taken down Buffalo, Carolina and Dallas, three teams that are amongst the worst teams in the league.
That’s why it’s hard to be completely sold on the Bears right now. But a 7-3 record is a 7-3 record and they’ll likely get to prove themselves in the playoffs, where we’ll get a better feel for whether they’re a true contender.
Jay Cutler joined ESPN Radio Chicago with Waddle and Silvy to discuss his interaction with Miami receiver Brandon Marshall on Thursday night, what he says to people who aren’t impressed by the Bears, what has been most impressive about Chicago’s defense, his decision-making in the red zone, rolling out to make plays, the Donovan McNabb situation in Washington and being a part of a celebrity couple with Kristin Cavallari.
On his interaction with Brandon Marshall:
“Brandon’s one of my good friends, has been since Denver and still is to this point. I just got him fired up before the game. I told him we’re going to put somebody over the top of him, limiting him as much as possible, and that frustrates him probably more than anything. He’s such a competitor, wants the ball on every play. Whenever teams go out of their way to shut him down … it really gets to him. So I tried to fire him up as much as possible. … When he caught that ball, broke the tackle and hit the sideline, I think he was telling me he can still beat it anyway.”
On what he says to people who aren’t impressed with the Bears:
“7-3 is 7-3 and we’re going to take it any way we can. It’s hard to win in the NFL. Each week is a challenge and a struggle, especially a Thursday night game like that. We’re big up front. The defense has played unbelievable for 10 games. They’ve really carried us and, offensively, I think we’re headed in the right direction.”
On what impresses him most about the defense:
“I think [Brian Urlacher] just leading it. Last year I saw him in training camp and stuff, but I didn’t really get a chance to watch him on a game-by-game basis because he got hurt that first game. Just the way he leads that group and gets everyone lined up and just fires them up. You can tell that he sets the example out there. If you’re not playing up to his level, he’s gonna let you know and get everyone right. Those guys just feed off each other now. I think it’s just a pride thing at this point.”
On his decision-making in the red zone:
“I rolled out, I had him right away and I just kind of double-clutched it for a second and just kept rolling and kind of got stuck on him. … He played it really well. You’ve just got to be careful down there. I’m making some decisions down there. Most of the time, they’re pretty good. Once in a while I’m trying to force a ball in there. You’ve just got to learn from it.”
On rolling out of the pocket in Mike Martz’s offense:
“I’ve been doing it since I was in high school, did it a lot in college, obviously did it with [Mike Shanahan] in Denver, that was one of his staples. It’s a little bit new to Mike. He’s never really done it, never really called it, so in the heat of a battle in the game, that just doesn’t click with him to dial it up. But he’s learning really, really quickly and he’s definitely incorporating those.”
On the Donovan McNabb situation:
“I don’t know what’s going on out there. They bench him 2-minute, then they pay him and now he’s back. I don’t know. [Shanahan’s] got a plan. I played with the guy for three years. Whatever he’s doing, he knows what he’s doing. No one else might know, but he knows what he’s doing.”
On being a part of a celebrity couple:
“I don’t know. I’ve got so much going on with football and stuff, I don’t really even deal with it. She’s got to deal with it more than I do out in L.A. … I don’t know [if it’s good or bad]. I don’t think it’s bad. I don’t know.”
Listen to Jay Cutler on ESPN Radio Chicago here (interview starts at 2:04:15)