Bears Receiver Johnny Knox on Jay Cutler: “As far as people questioning his heart, he has one of the biggest hearts in the NFL.”November 17, 2011 – 7:00 am by Eric Schmoldt
Jay Cutler took plenty of criticism when he went down during the NFL playoffs last season and couldn’t return. He’s certainly not taking as much heat these days. After starting the season off with a 2-3 record, Cutler has led the Chicago Bears to four consecutive wins, including a domination of the Detroit Lions on Sunday to put themselves in solid position to make a push towards one of the two wild card spots in the NFC.
While running back Matt Forte has shouldered much of the load, Cutler has thrown for more than 800 yards with five touchdowns and just two interceptions over that span. Johnny Knox, one of Cutler’s go-to receivers and league leaders in yards per reception, says he believes any questions about the heart of his quarterback have been answered.
Johnny Knox joined XTRA 1360 in San Diego with Chris & Ben to discuss the Bears’ current winning streak, if he can feel the team gaining momentum in the second half of the season, whether there’s a chance they overlook San Diego this week, if the Bears are still known for their old-school style of play, the rivalry between Philip Rivers and Jay Cutler, playing with Cutler in general, if Cutler got a bad rap during the playoffs last year and if the Bears are focused on winning a wild card spot now that it’s clear the undefeated Packers won’t be caught in the NFC North.
You guys are red hot right now. What’s been going on in Chicago?:
“We’re just trying to play great ball. We’re playing pretty good right now. We have a nice little steak going. We’re just going to try to take it one game at a time and keep playing great ball.”
Can you gain momentum during a streak like this is or is every Sunday a different day?:
“It is a different Sunday, but we’ve been in this situation before, coming off the bye week, coming off some nice wins. we’re going against a pretty tough AFC team and we’re just going to take the same approach that we do every Sunday and try to get a big win.”
So you’re not going to look past a reeling Chargers team?:
(The Bears are currently favored by 4 over the Chargers. Click here to enjoy Top Bet’s safe, secure online sportsbook for the remainder of the 2011 NFL season.)
“No, not at all. … They’re a good team. That probably doesn’t show statistically, but we’re going to face them like they’re one of the best teams in the NFL, like they’re 8 or 9 and oh.”
When people think of the Bears, they think of old-school football, ground and pound and get it done defensively. Is that still what the Bears are all about?:
“We’re the type of team that we’ll accept whatever works. For us right now, the run game is working for us right now. We have the pass game, but why try to fix something that ain’t broke?”
Have people been talking about the rivalry between Jay Cutler and Philip Rivers?:
“Nah I haven’t heard nothing about that yet. I hope I still don’t hear nothing about it. That’s really between them two. I know Jay’s going to play his game and Philip’s going to play his game.”
What has it been like playing with Cutler?:
“I like him. He throws me the ball, so I have no choice but to like him. He’s a great teammate. He takes control when he’s in the huddle. Everybody gives him their attention and we just love to have him as a teammate.”
Did Jay Cutler get a bad rap when he couldn’t go back in in that playoff game last year?:
“From what I’ve seen, since I’ve played with him, Jay’s one of the toughest players on this team. He takes some of the most hits. When I say that, I’m not taking nothing away from the O-Line, but he takes hits and gets back up and is still making plays. As far as people questioning his heart, I believe he has one of the biggest hearts in the NFL.”
Where do you stand on the NFL rules regarding hitting defenseless receivers?:
“They’re just trying to protect the game and keep anybody from getting hurt. I understand where the defenses are coming from where it’s hard to control how they attack guys, but there’s going to be plays like that sometimes. They’re just trying to make the game better and more safe for us all.”
With the way the Packers are playing, are you guys focused on trying to win a wildcard spot?:
“No, not really. We’re just worried about what we’ve got to do. … We’re really not thinking about the playoffs right now.”