Trestman stands firm in decision to keep Cutler in game
BY PATRICK FINLEY Staff Reporter November 11, 2013 10:03PM
Updated: December 13, 2013 6:23AM
When Jay Cutler tore his left groin muscle Oct. 20 against the Redskins, the earliest diagnosed return was Nov. 24 in St. Louis — and, even then, he’d be considered week-to-week.
The Bears quarterback raced back, started Sunday after only three weeks, and now faces the same best-case-scenario return date, albeit for a different malady.
The high ankle sprain Cutler suffered in the second quarter during the loss to the Detroit Lions will keep him from playing Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.
A return against the Rams is far from guaranteed.
“It’s safe to say that this is a week-to-week,” coach Marc Trestman said Monday at Halas Hall. “And it certainly won’t be this week.”
Cutler’s left ankle was rolled over by blitzing linebacker Stephen Tulloch on a 12-yard slant pass to Alshon Jeffery with 2:56 to play in the first half.
His ankle was taped at halftime and he returned for an inconsistent second half before finally being replaced on the team’s final possession by backup Josh McCown.
X-rays were negative, and Trestman said Cutler couldn’t have done more damage to the ankle by finishing the game.
The groin and ankle injuries weren’t related, Trestman said.
“If the ankle injury hadn’t been an issue,” he said, “there’s no indication that Jay wouldn’t have started and played this week.”
Trestman said he watched for three things when determining if Cutler could continue to play: his velocity, whether he was hitting his receivers in stride and if he was able to move within the pocket to step into his throws.
“All three of those indications confirmed with me that I should keep him in there,” he said.
The Bears “sacrificed his ability to move around and run,” he said. In fact, Trestman removed quarterback rollouts from the game plan.
Cutler was “hit more times this week than he’s gotten hit in the past,” Trestman said. The Lions logged 22 hurries and 12 quarterback hits.
Trestman on Monday watched game film to determine whether he should have removed Cutler before there was 2:22 to play in the game.
His verdict: No.
The throw that made Trestman decided to pull Cutler came with 5:41 to play, on third down, when he stepped up until the pocket and bounced a pass to Alshon Jeffery on the left sideline.
Film study brought Trestman to the same conclusion Monday.
McCown — who is 42-for-70 for 538 yards, including a touchdown on last possession Sunday — ran the next offensive play.
“If you look at it closely, there was an indication that we should take Jay out it was on the last throw,” he said. “He climbed the pocket, it was awkward throw and he threw the ball into the ground to Alshon.”
Trestman said Cutler “had one of his best games” despite going 21-for-40 for 250 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Cutler was unavailable to media Monday, skipping his regular radio appearance on WMVP-AM (1000).
His replacement, wide receiver Brandon Marshall, joked that the same Bears fans who once criticized Cutler’s toughness had the opposite complaint — that Cutler should have taken himself out.
“He played an exceptional game to be able to make some of these throws,” Trestman said. “He pinpointed some passes.
“The final evaluation is, ‘Can he make the throws? Can he move in the pocket? And does he have velocity on it?’
“And the evaluation was clear: He was doing that throughout.”