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Will Jay Cutler bounce back vs. Saints?

Updated: November 5, 2013 6:38AM



The film of the Bears’ 40-32 loss against the Lions didn’t reveal any hidden positives for quarterback Jay Cutler, who, after three solid games to open the season, threw three interceptions and had a fumble in the first defeat of the Marc Trestman era.

‘‘I wish there was, but there wasn’t,’’ Cutler said. ‘‘I missed some throws, like I said. Some stuff, I wish I had back. It would’ve changed the complexion of the game.’’

Of course, a similar game Sunday against the high-scoring Saints and quarterback Drew Brees would end with a similar, if not more devastating, result at Soldier Field. That’s why Cutler talked about ball security Thursday.

But if being a clog in one of the most prodigious offenses over the last four seasons has taught Bears left tackle Jermon Bushrod anything, it’s that to succeed against his old team and Brees, the fight-fire-with-fire philosophy definitely applies. Ball security is important, but production is a must.

“We have to fight to keep them off the field as much as possible,” Bushrod said. “We must play a balanced game.”

And that couldn’t be more true with the Bears’ defense in a funk. The unit hasn’t generated a consistent pass rush and is ranked 20th in total defense. The Saints are by far the most accomplished offensive team the Bears will face in the first five games.

Running back Matt Forte will be key in keeping Brees and Co. off the field, but it’s how Cutler bounces back that bears the most watching. Not only will it be a sign that he’s able to move on after poor games in a contract year, but it also will be a good gauge of Trestman’s impact.

The Saints’ defense is no longer the historically bad bunch of 2012 that set a record for most yards allowed. In fact, it’s pretty darn good. Teams are averaging only 13.8 points against New Orleans.

The Saints’ scheme has changed under new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. And injuries also have forced them into a 3-3-5 scheme with rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro in various spots.

There will be unique looks for Cutler.

“Rob Ryan coming over from Dallas presents a lot of challenges,” Cutler said. “They do a lot of different stuff with their fronts. They’re a veteran group. They’re going to play some two-high safety and throw some [cover-3] at you [and] some man [coverage].

“And then offensively, they’re putting up points, so it puts pressure on you.”

It undoubtedly helps that Cutler is 6-1 in games after awful performances in which he threw three or more interceptions. But Cutler’s good record hasn’t always been because he was good. He has been great or awful with passer ratings of 107.9, 104.7, 66.7, 63.2, 108.4, 97.6 and 58.9 in those seven games.

Trestman said Cutler’s fundamentals and mechanics were off against the Lions and stressed their importance for a quarterback after bad outings. But there also is a mental aspect.

“You’ve got to have amnesia,” Trestman said.

And Trestman believes Cutler has been “very consistent emotionally” when it comes to responding.

But it also helps that Cutler has Trestman.

After Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo had his first three-interception game under Trestman in 2008, Calvillo completed 31 of 38 passes for 414 yards and two touchdowns in the next game.

“It’s hard to walk back in that locker room and know that, ‘Hey, I was responsible for four turnovers,’ and you put your team in that position,” Cutler said.

“It just brings everything into perspective of how important it is, how important my job is of taking care of the ball and making sure that I put ourselves in a position to win each week.”

Email: ajahns@suntimes.com

Twitter: @adamjahns



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