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Bears QB Jay Cutler urges Packers DBs to make his day
By Gene Chamberlain | CBSSports.com Chicago Bears
quarterback Jay Cutler
sounded a bit like the kid on the block who gets picked on by bullies but now has a couple of really big friends.
The Green Bay Packers
have been his nemesis, and their defensive backs have made a habit of beating up his receivers in tight, press coverage, leaving him no place to throw before the rush arrives.
Will they be able to do it Thursday night at Lambeau Field. Will they even try?
"Good luck," Cutler said Tuesday. "We've got some dudes that if you're going to get up in our face, even our speed guys are going to get around them and our big guys are going to throw-and-go.
"We invite press coverage. We invite man. And if we get in that type of game, our guys outside have to make some plays for us."
Cutler was referring to receivers Brandon Marshall
and Alshon Jeffery
, in particular. The rest of the receiver corps is the usual group of Lilliputians.
In the opener, the Colts played a lot of man-to-man coverage early in the game against Marshall and paid the price by allowing him nine catches for 119 yards and a TD.
"It's all about match-ups," Marshall said. "I'm 6-5, 230. There aren't too many DBs walking around that big. If they want to get physical, I do welcome that.
"You look at (Tramon) Williams and (Sam) Shields over there and even (Charles) Woodson when he's down there (in the slot), they like to mix it up a lot. They give you different looks and that's what gives them big-play potential."
Cutler hasn't exactly had a glorious past against the Packers. His darkest hour might have been the 2010 NFC Championship game when he left with a knee sprain after throwing for 80 yards on 6-of-14 passing with an interception. Overall, including postseason, his passer rating is 65.2 against Green Bay with 12 INTs and seven TDs. He has won only one of his seven starts against them, a 20-17 win in 2010 at Soldier Field.
Cutler said the inability of his receivers to beat press coverage was a factor.
"It was one of them," he said. "I think protection was another one. Just general scheme was another reason. There was a whole row of things we could go down of why we struggled against them."
The 49ers' ball control attack limited the Packers' offensive touches last week. Green Bay had only four first-half possessions in its 30-22 loss to the 49ers. In the past, the Bears have often taken the same approach. But they've lost six of their last seven against the Packers.
"We're in the point-scoring business," Cutler said. "Time of possession ... if we can grind it out, we can grind it out. But we've got to score and we've got to be explosive and that takes big plays and big chunks.
"So, you know, time of possession isn't really something that is on our mind."
It's amazing how a few big friends can change a mind.