Calling a national report that Bears players had given up on Jay Cutler “complete B.S.,” tight end Zach Miller defended his quarterback Monday, one day after he committed four turnovers in a 36-10 loss.
“Here’s the thing: when we win, Jay, the quarterback, gets the praise; When we lose, the quarterback gets the brunt of that,” Miller said at Halas Hall. “We’ve got to take care of the football better. We understand that.”
Miller said Cutler — who players lauded for giving an inspirational speech before the Vikings win — was still trying to rally his teammates late Sunday.
“A week ago, when Jay came back from a five-week hiatus and we beat Minnesota on Monday Night Football, we have a completely different conversation,” Miller said. “We just didn’t play well in Tampa.”
Cutler will have a chance to try again; coach John Fox confirmed he’ll start Sunday against the Giants.
“There’s a reason that Jay Cutler has been a great quarterback in this league for a number of years,” defensive end Akiem Hicks said. “It’s because he is a great player. He’s a great quarterback. And everybody is behind him and wanting him to do well for our team.”
Hicks and Miller have been outspoken Cutler supporters all year long.
Others apparently aren’t.
Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report wrote on Twitter earlier Monday that, after text conversations with two Bears players, “most” of the Bears’ locker room “has given up on Cutler.”
Fox’s wouldn’t entertain the question — “Who’s Mike Freeman?” he asked — and then said there was blame to go around.
“It’s not one guy that takes the sole responsibility of a game,” Fox said. “Everybody’s signature is on it and I think his teammates understand that, regardless of what old Mike says.”
On Twitter, former Bears safety Ryan Mundy said Cutler wasn’t a “bad dude,” but that the expectation level for NFL quarterbacks is too high. Every signal-caller, he wrote, “isn’t built with those intangibles.”
Cutler posted one of the NFL’s worst-quarterbacked games Sunday, completing 16 of 30 attempts for 182 yards and two interceptions. He fumbled twice — once at the Bucs’ 10 and another time for a safety.
Cutler’s 55.1 passer rating against the Buccaneers was his lowest for a game he started and finished since he posted a 28.2 against the Packers in 2012.
Had Cutler not completed a 50-yard Hail Mary touchdown to end the first half, his passer rating would have been 35.4.
“You know there’s going to be situations where the outcome isn’t what you want,” Hicks said. “But we’re still behind him. I know I’m still behind him personally. And I know our defense is cheering our offense on and wanting the best for our team.”
Asked about Cutler’s preparation, his coach said “he practiced just like all the other guys” on the Bears.
“When you’re the guy delivering the ball, it always looks like it’s your fault,” Fox said. “But that’s not necessarily the case in the NFL passing game.”