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Cutler acknowledges feeling the pressure last Sunday

Lying about all the pressure he was facing against the Cleveland Browns would have been foolish, quarterback Jay Cutler said. All the chatter about a quarterback controversy brewing just couldn’t be ignored.

Cutler preferred to take it head-on.

“Everyone’s human in this building,” Cutler said. “Another reason to acknowledge it is the guys did such a great job of handling it. Another reason you want to acknowledge it is we were able to hear it, deal with it in our own certain way and move on and get the job done on Sunday.”

And now?

The Bears are in control of their playoff fate and are facing the high-scoring Philadelphia Eagles — a more talented team than the Browns with their own division to win — on the road on Sunday. Cutler, meanwhile, has at least two games left in a contract year to deliver for the now quarterback-friendly Bears.

So is he feeling the pressure?

“No, I feel pretty good,” Cutler said. “I feel kind of at ease. We’ve got a real good plan this week I think. The guys on offense are playing at about as high of a level as I think you could play around me, so it makes it easy for me. Just find the open guy.

“The offensive line has done a great job all year and they’re still doing a great job of protecting me. [Assistant offensive line coach] Pat [Meyer] and [offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer] are coming up with good protection plans. So I feel good.”

Does he feel relaxed?

“I do,” Cutler said. “Last week was a tough week with everything surrounding it, the implications of the game, if we did lose the game, having to walk into the media room and deal with you guys if we did lose. All those things weigh on you.

“So being able to move on from that, I think this week is a tougher week gameplan-wise for us, but we should be up for the challenge Sunday.”

A cool, confident Cutler could be decisive against the Eagles, who have the 31st-ranked passing defense. The Browns were ranked seventh in total defense and eighth against the pass heading into their meeting. and Cutler’s 102.2 rating against them was his third best this season.

But it’s the way Cutler dealt with the pressure of replacing his red-hot backup Josh McCown in his first game back from injury and handled the attention of his success
afterward that changed a lot of perceptions about him. This whole season, though, has been about that, whether it’s becoming more of a vocal leader inside Halas Hall or a just a better, more efficient quarterback under the tutelage of coach Marc Trestman.

“I don’t think [his perseverance in Cleveland] changed my perception of him,” Trestman said. “It confirmed the type of person, but more importantly in this case, because of the playing aspect and the type of player he’s capable of being in terms of playing under the pressures, handling adversity and being able to move forward and turn something so negative into a positive. That’s something that has been apparent as I’ve gotten to know him.”

Email: ajahns@suntimes.com

Twitter: @adamjahns



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