LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler plans to treat Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers like any other, even with bruised ribs.
“I’m not concerned at all,” Cutler said Wednesday at Halas Hall. “I think by Sunday it’ll all be cleared up. I’ll be fine.”
Cutler suffered the injury Monday night on a sack by Detroit’s Ndamukong Suh. Cutler said he regularly wears a flak jacket and plans to wear one again against Carolina.
“I was lucky, I think,” Cutler said of the hit. “It was awkward. I sort of got bent over his knee a little bit. You want to try to stay away from those as much as possible.”
Suh has a reputation for dirty hits, but Cutler insisted there was nothing illegal about the sack even if it looked ugly.
“It was like a wrestling move a little bit,” Cutler said. “(Suh) plays hard. It’s out of the pocket. He’s playing football. “I don’t have a problem with that, I really don’t. I don’t think it was dirty. He plays an aggressive style of football. That’s just who he is.”
Teammate Brandon Marshall expressed a different opinion immediately after the game by criticizing Suh on Twitter. He hadn’t changed his mind about the hit on Cutler by Wednesday.
“I’m not going to back off on that,” he said. “I already said what I have to say, but I think Jay is in a position with you (media) guys that anything he says may be taken the wrong way. So I think it’s important for his teammates to maybe speak for him at times. I’m around Jay every single day on and off the field so I know how he feels. And for me, I just think it wasn’t a good football play.”
Offensive coordinator Mike Tice doubts he’ll limit the game plan due to Cutler’s injury.
“I was a little cautious obviously once he got hurt, and didn’t want to expose him and really throw the ball down the field except for when we were getting pressed,” he said. “But no, he’s ready to go.”
Cutler has been sacked 19 times this season, fifth-most in the league.
Tice thought the bye week and 15 days between games may have taken a toll on his offense’s timing in blocking and in the passing game against Detroit. The Bears hadn’t allowed more than two sacks in three straight games before Detroit had five.
“Just not as crisp,” he said. “We felt a little off. Guys hadn’t been hitting in a while, although we went in pads in practice a number of times.”
Cutler has scrambled for 56 yards the past two games. He said he won’t necessarily adjust his style of play due to the injury. Playing through hits and knowing how to avoid them is part of the game, he said.
“It’s just natural, you kind of learn how to take hits as a quarterback throughout the years,” Cutler said. “I took some shots and playing here I’ve taken some shots.
“You learn how to do it, but in the same sense you’ve got to play your game. You’ve got to play your style of football and running around, trying to make plays is kind of part of my game. So it’s risk, reward.”