Bears hope to get QB Jay Cutler back against Oakland
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) The Chicago Bears hope to get quarterback Jay Cutler back for Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders and are preparing to go with Jimmy Clausen again if he is not ready.
Cutler practiced Thursday on a limited basis for the second consecutive day after sitting out last week’s 26-0 loss at Seattle because of a pulled hamstring.
He responded ”we’ll see” when asked if he will play against the Raiders.
”We’ve still got a couple days left,” he said. ”I don’t think we’re exactly where we want to be. But no one really is 100 percent healthy right now.”
Cutler’s return certainly would boost a team searching for its first win under new coach John Fox. He was injured trying to tackle Arizona’s Tony Jefferson on a 26-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first half of a 48-23 loss at Soldier Field on Sept. 20.
With Cutler out, Clausen struggled against Seattle, the first shutout against Chicago since 2002. He completed 9 of 17 passes for 63 yards, and Chicago (0-3) punted on all 10 of its possessions.
It was a difficult spot for Clausen, playing in a notoriously loud stadium against a team starved for its first win after losing the Super Bowl last season. The Bears also used a conservative game plan with Cutler sidelined.
”What we did in that game I felt like gave us the best chance, especially with what we were asking Jimmy to do,” offensive coordinator Adam Gase said. ”The one regret I do have is in that second half I wish I would have pulled the trigger maybe a little bit sooner as far as being more aggressive on some of those first and second down calls.”
The Bears have also been without receiver Alshon Jeffery since the season opener because of a hamstring injury. He has been practicing on a limited basis this week but his status for Sunday’s game is unclear. The same goes for starting left tackle Jermon Bushrod, who is recovering from a concussion.
The quarterbacks have been splitting reps in practice this week. Cutler acknowledged he is concerned about aggravating his hamstring.
”If you do come back on a hamstring earlier than you want to, it’s definitely going to be in the back of your mind because there’s that slight pull. It’s an instinctual game out there,” he said. ”You’re doing things on the run without thinking. To have to worry about a hamstring and moving around is something that can weigh on you.”
It wasn’t the first time Cutler was injured trying to make a tackle following an interception.
In 2011, he broke his right thumb late against San Diego and missed the final six games, spoiling a potential playoff season. The Bears, who were closing out their fifth straight win, dropped five in a row before closing that season with a win to finish 8-8.
”I think I’m just going to lay down next time,” Cutler said, when asked about his injuries trying to make a tackle.
Notes: Despite his father Howie’s ties to the organization, Bears RT Kyle Long said he did not necessarily grow up a Raiders fan. There was plenty of memorabilia in the house, though. ”We were given freedom to choose I guess, freewill,” Long said. ”I didn’t really like football until I was 15, 16. I became a Rams fan I’d say before anything else because of (brother) Chris. But there was definitely a lot of Raiders stuff in our house.”
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