Monster’s Mash: As Cutler’s season ends, teammates are quick to defend
LAKE FOREST – Whether he ends up being a starter somewhere along the line or just a backup, he’ll always appreciate the guy that showed him the ropes of the National Football League.
“He’s one of the most influential people in my career,” said Bears quarterback David Fales, who was drafted by the Bears in 2014. “Coming into the league as a rookie, being around him and last year being around him, you learn a lot from him, being around him.”
Kind words about someone whose heard the opposite kind of prose for a decent amount of his tenure in Chicago. The harsh talk continued towards Jay Cutler after his season came to an end this week when he was placed on Injured Reserve with a torn labrum.
As many debated the future and legacy of the quarterback, who may have played his final game with the team on November 20th against the Giants. A number of his teammates and coaches were quick to come to his defense.
Naturally, Fales was one of the first.
“People who aren’t in the building and talk, who don’t really know him and aren’t around him, aren’t in the room and aren’t hearing his say and does,” said Fales who sang the praises of Cutler to reporters on Wednesday. “I don’t think people really know him who are talking about him.”
Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, who has worked with Cutler the past two seasons, had an even more passionate response his thought on the quarterback.
“There is a perception and there is a reality of that,” said Loggains when asked about Cutler’s perception from the outside. “It’s been really fun the last two years getting to coach him. I enjoyed every minute of it.”
After surgery to fix the torn labrum this week, Loggains expects Cutler to be back with the team to work with the quarterbacks during the last month of the season. To many in the locker room, that is not a surprise.
“He’s definitely a resilient guy, always in the training room trying to get ice or doing something to get himself better,” said receiver Cameron Meredith. “It’s hard to see him be in this situation but he’s definitely going to battle through it.”
AT LEAST SOMEONE IS BACK
Something happened this week that’s been a bit of an anomaly for the 2016 Bears: A player actually came off IR to rejoin the team.
That’s the case for cornerback Kyle Fuller, who was activated this week to practice for the first time since August. He wasn’t listed on any of the injury reports but whether he plays or how much won’t be known till kickoff Sunday against the 49ers.
It would mark a long rehab for Fuller, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery before the season began.
“You’re still knocking some rust off, but I was never really too concerned about that,” said Fuller of his conditioning upon returning to practice. “I’ll still be trying to work on it to make sure I’m ready to go.”
While the body has some catch-up to do, Fuller’s mind shouldn’t. During his time on IR he stayed around the team in hopes to be ready should he got the chance to come back.
“That can be very helpful,” said Fuller. “I think either way I would have been fine but just being around, being in the meeting room, being around the guys is always good.”
The idea of “Bear Weather” may have disappeared years ago, but Sunday figures to be a prototypical winter setting for the team.
Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-30s with 1-to-3 inches of snow expected during the game. It will be the coldest and likely most adverse conditions the team has faced this season as Soldier Field’s already notorious turf could to turn a bit treacherous.
“You try to be weatherproof, regardless of what it is. Snow, rain, wind.” said John Fox when asked about preparing for the weather. “But most of that is really going to be handled by both teams in pre-game warm-up and making adjustments as you see the conditions.”
STAT OF THE WEEK: 473
The number of rushing yards needed by Jordan Howard to break Matt Forte’s rookie rushing record of 1,238 yards back in 2008. So far Howard has 766 rushing yards on the year.