Jay Cutler to internet snipers: Put a name on it, then we’ll talk

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Jay Cutler completed 16-of-30 passes for 182 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for a 55.1 passer rating in the Bears’ 36-10 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. | Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Jay Cutler didn’t flinch one bit when asked about the latest internet report that questioned his leadership and credibility in his own locker room in the wake of a four-turnover performance in Sunday’s 36-10 loss to the Buccaneers.

The sad reality is that answering the awkward question about what someone said — or what someone said someone said — is pretty easy for Cutler at this point. He’s had plenty of practice.

“The game before it was the opposite end of the spectrum,” Cutler said, referring to the glorification of his performance on and off the field in a victory over the Vikings, when he suddenly became Knute Rockne and Drew Brees.

“Whenever you lose we all know what this position entails and when you have a performance like that as a quarterback, you’re going to get some of that stuff.

“I’ve never felt that [alienation] in the locker room with those guys. But myself and the offense included, we’re definitely working to get better.”

Cutler’s regression was stunning. After posting a 100.5 passer rating against the Vikings, he completed 16-of-30 passes for 182 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for a 55.1 rating — his lowest in a complete game since Week 2 of the 2012 season. One interception was returned for a touchdown. One fumble resulted in a safety. So he produced 10 points — seven on a Hail Mary touchdown pass to Cam Meredith — and gave away nine.

In the aftermath, Bleacher Report columnist Mike Freeman reported that Bears players told him “most of the locker room has given up on Cutler.” one said that Cutler’s lack of preparation “was truly embarrassing.”

Cutler was unfazed. There has been more support for Cutler among teammates this season than ever in his eight-year Bears career. Maybe last week changed that. Maybe it didn’t.

“Unnamed source, I’m guessing?” Cutler said. “The source could be a lot of people. It could be a made-up source. It could actually be guys in there. If people start putting names on it, we can have a discussion about it.”

This is actually run-of-the-mill stuff at Halas Hall, where Cutler still can’t shake the bad-body-language/facial-expression reputation that marked his first several seasons in Chicago. There wasn’t much the Bears could do to fight it this time. As Cutler pointed intimated, when you’re 2-7 and just laid a huge egg like the Bears did on Sunday, all you can do is take it.

“I didn’t see that [lackadaisical approach] in his preparation,” offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. “But obviously, the way we played, I don’t think any of us were prepared. We need to do a better job coaching. We need to do a better job of executing plays.”

The Bears shared the blame for the poor performance against the Buccaneers. But it starts with Cutler. “We win and lose together,” Loggains said. “He was the same guy we were praising against Minnesota. And obviously he didn’t play as well as he would have liked. I didn’t coach as well as I would have liked to. And the staff — no one.

“It’s a heavy burden to wear the crown. Jay’s the quarterback, so it falls on him. He can take the responsibility. So we’ve moved forward and we’re getting ready for the next one.”

Cutler has bounced back before and will bounce back again. But the landscape has changed. With just seven games of the guaranteed portion of Cutler’s contract remaining, it very likely would take something extraordinary for Cutler to save his career with the Bears. One or two good games no longer will cut it. The Bears have seen that act before.

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