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Bruce Arians: Bears QB Jay Cutler 'misunderstood'

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is "misunderstood," Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. (AP)

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians got a chance to meet with Jay Cutler two years ago, when he interviewed at Halas Hall for the job that went to Marc Trestman.

Over an hour together, Arians said, he was “very, very impressed” by the Bears quarterback, who he will play Sunday at Soldier Field.

“A passionate guy that wanted to win, you know,” he said via telephone Wednesday. “I think he gets misunderstood a lot. We spent a good hour together and I was very very impressed with him.”

He understands that others may not be, but calls that assertion a false assumption driven by body language.

“I think just public perception,” Arians said. “Sometimes when you care a lot your body can give different signals. Each person’s different. The guy obviously cares about winning.”

Asked how he would have built his offense around Cutler, Arians — who in 2013 was coming off a successful stint as the Colts’ interim head coach — said he always tailored his scheme to what a quarterback can and cannot handle.

“It would have been up to Jay,” Arians said. “Jay still has to make those decisions, just like any quarterback. You can’t play for them; you can only put them in position to play.”

Arians, who got the Cardinals job after losing out to Trestman, said Cutler played “extremely well” Sunday under new coordinator Adam Gase — even if he had some help from running back Matt Forte.

“Obviously when you hand it off to Matt and he has 100-something yards in the first half, you’re gonna keep doing it,” he said. “When you have that type of running game, it’s a lot easier to play quarterback.”

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Email: pfinley@suntimes.com