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Cutler hoping to avoid Hall passes vs. Redskins

Updated: November 19, 2013 6:38AM



The radio ad airing this week in Washington taunts Jay Cutler.

“Sunday,” a booming voice says, “Jay Cutler comes to D.C., where he’s reunited with his favorite receiver — DeAngelo Hall.”

Almost exactly three years ago, the Redskins cornerback became the third player since 1970 — and the first in 32 years — to intercept four passes in a game and return one for a touchdown.

Cutler was defiant afterward, saying, “If we had to play him tomorrow, I’d go after him every time.”

Hall was more glib.

“If I had to play Jay Cutler every week,” he said then, “man, I’d be in the Hall of Fame.”

A less tempestuous Cutler gave a write-what-you-want shrug Thursday when asked about Hall, whom he’ll see Sunday for the first time since the cornerback’s greatest game.

“Another player, y’know,” he said.

Cutler knows, perhaps more than at any point in his Bears career, that he has weapons that weren’t available to him three years ago.

Namely, Brandon Marshall.

“DeAngelo Hall, man, he turns it up a notch against bigger receivers,” Marshall said of the 10-year veteran, who has one interception and one forced fumble this year. “So I’m excited for the challenge.

“You’ve just got to stay focused and stay in your zone because if you come out of your game, that’s when he starts to win. . . .

“It’s one of those games, man, where you’ve got to strap up, put on extra padding because he’s tough.”

Hall told Redskins reporters that he felt good about the Bears matchup but stressed that “it’s not me vs. Jay.”

Cutler enters the game with four receivers — Marshall, Matt Forte, Martellus Bennett and Alshon Jeffery — with 29 or more catches. None of Cutler’s receivers on Oct. 24, 2010, could say that.

“It’s a team deal, like we say,” offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer said. “The receivers have been doing a good job of getting open. We’ve been protecting. He’s been getting rid of the ball quickly.

“And so that’s why everybody looks good.”

Cutler’s targets dwarf the ones he completed passes to at Soldier Field that day — leading receiver Johnny Knox; younger versions of Forte, Earl Bennett and Devin Hester; soon-to-be-cut-or-traded Greg Olsen and Chester Taylor; and guard Chris Williams, who hauled in a deflection.

“A little bit different personnel,” Hall said. “Obviously, they have a lot more weapons. [Cutler] probably feels good with his guys.”

The Redskins allow 271.6 passing yards per game, 24th-worst in the league, but just held Tony Romo to 170 yards one week after he torched the Broncos for 506.

“They’re not going to give you anything easy,” Cutler said. “They do a really good job in the zone of route-reading and knowing where the receivers are going to go. . . .

“They’ve got a veteran secondary that does a good job of keeping it in front of them. They don’t give up a lot of big plays.”

Cutler hopes he won’t, either.

Email: pfinley@suntimes.com

Twitter: @patrickfinley



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