For many observers, Jay Cutler’s league-high 26 interceptions in 2009 overshadow the 27 touchdowns he tossed.
Second-year receiver Johhny Knox doesn’t see it that way, adding that many of the picks weren’t Cutler’s fault.
“What people don’t realize is that it’s not always Jay’s fault,” “It could’ve been the receiver’s fault, the tight end or running back’s fault for not running the right route, not recognizing the sight, or just slipping, and he’s throwing the ball -- releasing it -- thinking we’re gonna run out our route. Then he ends up throwing a pick. So all the blame is not always gonna be on Jake.”
Entering his second season, after making the Pro Bowl as a rookie, Knox took the blame for at least two of Cutler’s interceptions. Knox caught 45 passes for 527 yards and two touchdowns last season, in addition to ranking second in the NFL with a 29-yard average on kickoff returns.
Asked if he could cite a specific example in which Cutler threw an interception that was, in fact, his fault, Knox said, “Most definitely; that happened a few times to me as a rookie. I believe that [against] Green Bay [in Week 1], I had a slant [route], didn’t keep running, and [Packers cornerback] Al Harris picked us off. I can’t think of another one right off the bat, but I’m pretty sure there are more.”
Cutler, who was picked off in three of the club’s first six possessions in that game, threw six interceptions in two matchups against the Packers. A new offense and improved play at receiver should help to alleviate some of Cutler’s interceptions, Knox said.
Knox hesitated to call the new offense receiver friendly, but said his position group is absorbing plenty of extra instruction from offensive coordinator Mike Martz and receivers coach Darryl Drake.
“Right now, we really can’t tell [whether the offense is receiver friendly],” Knox said. “That’s something that when we get the pads on in the preseason we’ll get a feel for. Things are going well right now. “[Martz] is teaching us how to become all-around receivers. It’s been a lot of un up to this point.”
Knox considers Cutler as somewhat of a coach in the huddle, saying that “whenever you need help, he’s a person that you can ask anything. I’m always gonna have a positive answer on my quarterback.”
Camp battle focus: Safety
“It’s been a position where durability has been a real issue,” Angelo said. “But if you look around the league, that could be shared by most teams. It’s a tough position to play. It’s a physical position. We’ve gone through a few, but we like our stable of safeties.”
Manning and Harris are expected to start at strong and free safety, respectively. Wright appeared poised to receive an opportunity to crack the starting lineup, when he took reps with the first team after Harris’ injury. Wright strained his groin Monday, but it’s unclear when he’ll return. Smith indicated the injury isn’t serious.
Heat: 88 degrees
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Rookie cornerback Joshua Moore might be making a serious play for the nickel cornerback spot. Moore broke up a short pass up a short pass during seven-on-seven drills.
Jay Cutler launched a bomb approximately 40 yards through the air over a defender’s outstretched hands, hitting Devin Aromashodu in perfect stride. The play marked one of Cutler’s best completions of the day. But he may have topped it by finding Rashied Davis on a deep crossing route. Cutler’s pass traveled just past linebacker Brian Urlacher’s ear en route to Davis.
Tommie Harris, Julius Peppers and Corey Wooton beat Chicago’s offensive linemen regularly during team drills to get to Cutler. Harris slapped the ball out of Cutler’s hand on one occasion, while Peppers blew past right tackle Frank Omiyale to get to the quarterback.
Cutler showed some frustration with the combination of coverage and pressure from the defense, appearing to deliberately throw one pass at a white tent near the sidelines.