EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 24: Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears gets rid of the ball as Markus Kuhn #78 of the New York Giants pressures during a preseason game on August 24, 2012 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Updated: October 7, 2012 8:07AM
Since mid-May, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has taken at least three opportunities to publicly put pressure on his offensive line. More specifically, he has called out his line for allowing defenses to apply too much pressure.
The jabs might have been a bit softer Wednesday, but they were still thrown.
Cutler was again asked about having a new and improved collection of weapons surrounding him, and found a way to turn that into an “or else.’’
“We can only do as much as they can handle,’’ Cutler said of his offensive line. “If they can only block three-step drops, we can only throw three-step passes. We’re limited to what they can do and as of now, they’ve been holding up really well.
“We’ve got some guys that can play football on the outside. There’s no doubt about that. It’s going to hopefully make my job easier; being able to get them the ball, let them work. Up front I think the guys know that there’s some pressure on them because Matt Forte can run if we give him holes. If I get the guys the ball on the outside and we hold up enough time we can make some good plays.’’
Or real ugly, real quick, especially against a new-look Indianapolis Colts defense that is running the same type of 3-4 that coach Chuck Pagano ran as the defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens last season.
So the question remains: How much can the offensive line handle?
“It’s a test,’’ center Roberto Garza said. “This is where it all starts for us, our journey.’’
It’s a journey that won’t be starting from the crawling position, either.
Cutler insists the offensive game plan won’t be limited because of the line — unless the unit shows it needs some training wheels in the blocking packages.
“We’ve got to attack and we’ll learn from there,” Cutler said. “We’re not going to sit back and second-guess ourselves on what we can call and what we can’t call. We’re going to go into it feeling good and confident that we can protect it, protect me and open up holes for Matt, and we’ll take it from there.’’
This is the mentality Cutler has been hoping to have since he was first acquired from the Denver Broncos before the 2009 season. Just give him the weapons on the outside, keep him upright and get out of the way.
“In past years it’s been defense first, and for good reason,’’ Cutler said. “They were really good at it. They won games. With [general manager Phil Emery] coming in, he made an emphasis to help out the offensive guys, to help us be successful.’’
The good news for Cutler is that the offensive line did keep him grass-stain free in the two preseason games he played. But an entirely different atmosphere awaits the line on Sunday.
“We’re a work in progress, but I like where we’re at,’’ Garza said. “Once the lights go on, it’s a little different.’’
And as far as the latest body blow directed from Cutler? Well, that’s just life as a Bears offensive linemen these days.
“Yeah, we have to prove ourselves, obviously, make Jay feel comfortable back there because this is a quarterback league,’’ right tackle Gabe Carimi said. “And if he plays well, we’re all going to have a good chance to win games.’’