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Jay Cutler, Mike Tice praise TE Matt Spaeth

Chicago Bears tight end Matt Spaeth (89) makes catch during warmups before an NFL football game against St. Louis Rams

Chicago Bears tight end Matt Spaeth (89) makes a catch during warmups before an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams in Chicago, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

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Updated: November 6, 2012 6:34AM



At first glance, tight end Matt Spaeth’s contributions to the Bears’ offense appear miniscule. All he has is a four-yard reception, but his true value doesn’t show up on stat sheets.

Just ask quarterback Jay Cutler.

“He’s a wild card in our offense,” Cutler said. “He moves around a lot. We ask him to do a lot of ­different roles in the passing game and the running game. He doesn’t get the credit he deserves. Week in and week out, he’s a guy you can count on, no matter what we ask him to do. He’s in there. He’s a grinder, a hard worker. I really ­appreciate what he does out there for us.”

One of Spaeth’s main jobs, of course, is making sure Cutler stays upright. In the Bears’ romp against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night, Spaeth had the arduous task of keeping DeMarcus Ware in check, and he excelled.

“Matt is a role tight end similar to what I was when I played,” offensive coordinator Mike Tice said. “He’s never going to go out and catch 12 balls. But he’s going to have a very important part in our run game. He’s going to have a very important part in our protection game.

“Every once in a while, he’ll catch a crumb. That’s his role. But he’s very important in what we’re doing. We’re running the ball a lot with him in there. We’re [using] play-action a lot with him in there. And we used him a lot in the chip game the other night.”

The Jacksonville Jaguars have only two sacks and pose less of a threat to Cutler than the Cowboys. But, as Tice said, Spaeth should help the Bears’ ground game get going against the Jaguars’ 30th-ranked run defense, which is allowing more than 150 yards per game.

It’s a thankless job, which Spaeth laughs about, but he has shined. He has earned a reputation as a good run blocker, and, according to Pro Football Focus, he has yet to allow a sack or even a quarterback hurry through four games.

“To be honest with you, I don’t really care if I don’t get the credit,” Spaeth said. “I want to be out there; I want to play football. My thing has been, since I’ve been here, I’ll do whatever they ask me to do. Whether that’s blocking DeMarcus Ware, pass-blocking, different things, I just do what they ask me to do. No matter what it is, I just want to try to do it to my best ability.”



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