Jay Cutler ‘good to go,’ according to Lovie Smith
BY MARK POTASH firstname.lastname@example.org December 14, 2012 9:48PM
Lovie Smith said Jay Cutler’s knee is fine, but the quarterback is listed on the injury report. | Nam Y. Huh~AP
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Updated: December 14, 2012 11:48PM
Coach Lovie Smith was resolute that Jay Cutler ‘‘is good to go’’ against the Green Bay Packers. But the Bears still will be short-handed Sunday.
Wide receiver Earl Bennett (concussion), cornerback Tim Jennings (shoulder) and linebacker Brian Urlacher (hamstring) each will miss their second consecutive game, Smith confirmed Friday. Kicker Robbie Gould (calf) and special-teams players Sherrick McManis and Craig Steltz were put on injured reserve earlier this week.
The Bears’ defensive line also is banged up. Defensive tackle Henry Melton (chest) and defensive end Shea McClellin (concussion) are doubtful for the game. Defensive tackle Matt Toeaina (knee) is questionable.
Linebacker Geno Hayes (knee) and running back Michael Bush (ribs) also are questionable.
Smith refuted a published report that Cutler has a sprained medial collateral ligament in his knee. Cutler officially is listed as probable with knee and neck injuries. Quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates said ‘‘it’s been a normal week’’ of preparation for Cutler in practice.
‘‘What knee?’’ Smith said when asked about it Friday. ‘‘There is no problem with the knee. Jay’s good to go. We’re hoping he’ll play the best game he’s ever [played].’’
Packers linebacker Clay Matthews (hamstring) is listed as probable. He has missed the last four games.
Wide receiver Jordy Nelson (hamstring), safety Charles Woodson (collarbone), running back James Starks (knee) and defensive end C.J. Wilson (knee) are out. Guard Josh Sitton (hip), wide receiver Donald Driver (thumb) and linebacker Terrell Manning (shoulder) are questionable.
With Bennett still not cleared to practice, rookie Joe Anderson is expected to play on offense. Anderson, an undrafted free agent from Texas Southern, has spent most of the season on the practice squad.
‘‘He’s real aggressive,’’ Bears wide receivers coach Darryl Drake said. ‘‘It remains to be seen because he hasn’t been out there in the wars. But he’s done some things in practice, so we’re going to put him out there and see what he can do.’’
The 6-1, 196-pound Anderson can’t wait.
‘‘When I catch the ball, I’m an attack guy,’’ Anderson said. ‘‘I try to turn into an Adrian Peterson. I’m not a finesse receiver. I’m very aggressive.
‘‘I’m just a dog — that’s the way I describe my ability on the field. I’m not stepping out of bounds for nobody. I’ve been in the weight room. I’m very physical. I have a 42-inch vertical. I’ll go up and get it if you need to throw it up like that. Short yardage, I can get the first down. Whatever. I can run routes, 15-yard routes, come out of my break. I can do pretty much anything.’’
Packers receiver Randall Cobb, who had seven receptions for 102 yards against the Detroit Lions last week, also returns kicks and runs out of the backfield.
At Kentucky, he played quarterback as a freshman. But Bears nickelback D.J. Moore, who played at Vanderbilt, outdid Cobb when they met in an SEC game in Lexington in 2008. Moore not only intercepted Cobb twice — including a game-clinching pick that made Vandy bowl-eligible for the first time in 26 years — but he also caught two touchdown passes.
‘‘The greatest game on a grass field,’’ Moore playfully called it. ‘‘[Cobb] was probably one of the best guys we played against.
‘‘I was leaving [for the NFL] before that game. But after that game, I knew I was leaving.’’
Griffen not fined
Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen was not fined for his hit on Cutler that caused Cutler’s neck injury, league sources told the Sun-Times. Griffen was penalized for unnecessary roughness on the play.
Contributing: Adam L. Jahns