Coach not considering benching QB

ByMichael C. Wright ESPN logo
Monday, November 10, 2014

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman wants Jay Cutler "to play better," but benching the embattled quarterback isn't under consideration, even after his dud of a performance during a 55-14 debacle Sunday night at Green Bay.

"He didn't play well enough yesterday, and we didn't play well enough," Trestman said. "I'm certain he'd take accountability for that. But it's very clear he did not play well enough yesterday. We can't sugarcoat that. At the same time, we didn't play collectively well enough as a team."

Cutler completed 22 of 37 passes for 272 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions, including one that ricocheted off the helmet of Kyle Longinto the hands of Casey Hayward, who returned the pick 82 yards for a touchdown. Cutler also coughed the ball up on a strip sack by Julius Peppers that led to Aaron Rodgers' fourth touchdown pass of the second quarter.

Cutler finished the game with a passer rating of 68.8, his worst of the season. He has thrown 22 interceptions in 12 career games against the Packers and is 1-11 against them.

Even Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker took to Twitter to comment on Cutler's poor play.

On the season, Cutler has committed 15 turnovers (10 interceptions and five fumbles) in nine games, leading to a total of 65 points by opponents. He is 8-12 under Trestman.

With the Bears down 42-0 at the half Sunday and Cutler sitting on a passer rating of 53.7, Trestman said he never gave any consideration to benching the quarterback at intermission. Trestman also said, "I'm not concerned about" Cutler potentially losing the support of his teammates.

Asked his feeling about benching quarterbacks because of performance issues, Trestman said: "I think that it's all [judged] on an individual basis. We haven't even had a chance to look at the game with Jay and get his feedback. Certainly we know that Jay's not comfortable with the way he played yesterday, no doubt about it. It's just an individual basis. I think that we've all got to do better. I know it starts with the quarterback. It always does. But there's a lot of things that have got to [happen] before something like that would be a consideration."

Cutler signed a seven-year contract in January, and the first three years of the deal average $18 million, but the Bears can cut the quarterback after 2016 without cap ramifications.

"We're all searching for answers right now," Cutler said after Sunday's loss. "As players, we need to figure this out and look inside each player and find out what's really going on inside. There are a lot of frustrated guys in that locker room right now and frustrated coaches. The only thing we have to do is stick together and keep working, and try to get out of this hole and get things back together."

Trestman said the issues Cutler continues to experience in games are "not showing up" during practices, which is alarming for the coach.

"As I said, that's been the most disturbing thing that those things are not showing up in practice, and they certainly didn't last week."

Trestman quickly changed the focus to the club's upcoming opponent, the Vikings, when asked whether Cutler's continued struggles are adding up as ammunition for the coach to consider making a change at quarterback.

"I think we've got to go back and get ready for Minnesota," Trestman said. "With that in mind, Jay's got to play better. He's got to play better, but he can't do it alone. He's got to play better just like the rest of us do."

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