Buccaneers defensive coordinator Mike Smith gave Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler a lot of praise, knows the Bucs have their work cut out for them.
Say what you will about Jay Cutler, the truth of the matter is the guy can sling a football and has a cannon for an arm. Wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey has been somewhat ineffective this season due to Cutler missing games. Now that their connection is back, the Buccaneers have to be prepared for it.
Mike Smith talked extensively about Cutler and his skill set;
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“Oh gosh, when Jay Cutler’s playing quarterback, we’ve got to defend a guy that has a hose, he can freaking throw it. And he can throw it from all different angles. I’ve been very impressed with their rookie running back [Jordan Howard] – he’s a big, stout runner – and I’ve played against [Head] Coach John Fox for many, many years. They’re going to try to run the football and that’s going to allow them – if they run it successfully, then they’re going to try to throw it over your head and they’ve got some weapons. It’s a very big offensive line, if both of both of those offensive guards [Kyle Long and Josh Sitton] are back, you’re looking at two guys over 330 pounds at the guard position. Last time I checked, the last game they played they beat the Minnesota Vikings, who I think have a pretty good record. So, it’s going to be a challenge for us and we’re looking forward to it. The quicker we get back out on the field and really go out and play a game a compete, the better we’re going to be. So, we’re hoping Sunday gets here real quick.”
Smith also stressed the importance of the pass rush getting after Cutler, which may get a big boost with Clinton McDonald now being a full participant in practice Thursday;
“Well, again, we’ve got to do a better job putting pressure on the quarterback to alleviate some of the explosive plays and you have to pick your opportunities when you’re going to do it. We’ve got to come up with a way that we can put more pressure on the quarterback. We’ve got to come up with a way for us to be successful. Whether that’s a four-man rush, a five-man rush, or a six-man rush, that’s got to be determined each week and we’ve got to do a better job of that.”
There’s no way around it; Sunday is a game the Buccaneers can not afford to lose. It would effectively end any hope of this season getting back on track and destroy any chance of Buccaneers fans outnumbering opposing fans in Raymond James the rest of 2016.