As Cutler moves forward with the Dolphins, Bears look ahead to preseason opener
BOURBONNAIS – Once again, a news conference by the quarterback was remembered as much for his facial expressions than his words.
That even came after Jay Cutler answered a question about his conditioning with this: “It’s a good thing I play quarterback, so I really don’t have to be in that great of cardiovascular shape.”
It drew a chuckle from some in the assembled media, perhaps a roll of the eyes from others, while many others chose to pose pictures of his trademark looks while answering questions in front of the media in South Florida.
However Cutler may appear, there is one thing for sure: He’s with the Dolphins to play and will likely do so a lot with starter Ryan Tanneyhill likely out for an extended period of time with a knee injury.
The quarterback’s successful season in 2015 in Chicago with then offensive coordinator and now Dolphins head coach Adam Gase has earned Cutler as second life in the National Football League after a brief retirement that lasted about four months.
“A situation like this doesn’t come along very often,” said Cutler of the Miami opportunity. “I know Adam very well, I’ve known him since ’06 the first year I came out. I know the system. You talk about a playoff team with a lot of really, really good football players, a lot of potential.
“It’s one of those things where there weren’t a lot of opportunities or jobs out there that would have came up that I would have taken but this is got to be the top of the list.”
Meanwhile this change of course drew some big reactions in Cutler’s former home in Chicago. After all, it was the quarterback who divided a fan base during eight years that failed to live up to the high expectations that greeted him when he arrived from Denver in 2009. While his shadow doesn’t exactly loom over the Bears following his release last March, any Cutler news is bound to draw a reaction from the fan base and even the team.
“I think it’s great,” said head coach John Fox of the quarterback’s return to the NFL. “I texted him, giving him well wishes. I’m excited for him. It’s another opportunity – and that’s all guys can ask for. I know everybody here wishes him nothing but the best.”
Especially tight end Zach Miller, who was on the regular season roster for parts of Cutler’s final two seasons in Chicago. While not all of his 81 catches in 2015 and 2016 were thrown to him by No. 6, the tight end earned an admiration for Cutler not seen by those on the outside.
“They’re gonna get a helluva quarterback in my opinion,” said Miller when asked what he would say to the Dolphins and their fans about Cutler. “A guy who has already been in that system and knows that system and played very well under that system. Obviously him and Adam had a great relationship in what they were doing so hopefully he steps in and is ready to go.
“They get a natural leader on their football team and they can win some games.”
The job of doing that for Cutler’s old team now rests on Mike Glennon – if even just for the 2017 season. Unlike Cutler’s 2009 arrival, his tenure in Chicago is expected to be a short-term gig with first round pick Mitchell Trubisky spending this season as the replacement-in-training.
“It seems like a good opportunity for him but I know it’s kinda of a big story here in Chicago but it’s really no different for me,” said Glennon when asked about Cutler as he gets ready for his first preseason game with the Bears on Thursday against the Broncos at Soldier Field.
It will be just the second time since 2009 that Cutler hasn’t taken at least as snap in a Bears preseason opener. Both sides have moved on from each other, yet at the same time are never terribly far from mind.