Josh McCown, Jay Cutler supportive of one another

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh McCown remains in contact with Jay Cutler, but with both players' teams struggling, their relationship has been one of encouragement.

McCown spent the 2011 and 2013 seasons working alongside Cutler as a backup quarterback in Chicago prior to joining the Bucs.

"Obviously we have a great relationship," McCown said. "So we stay in contact for sure. I'm involved in my own season, so it's hard to really pay attention to what another guy is doing because we're engulfed in what we've got going on. With our situation and our [2-8] record, our focus is here and we check in more on how families are doing and stuff like that. We do talk a little ball every now and then. But we both, I think would say our teams aren't where we want them to be, and we've both been able to encourage each other in those areas."

In fact, Cutler offered McCown words of support after the latter tossed a couple of interceptions in a 27-17 loss Nov. 9 to the Atlanta Falcons. McCown held back tears during an emotional postgame news conference.

"Yeah, we talk about every week," Cutler said Monday during the "Jay Cutler Show" on ESPN 1000. "I really didn't get into the details about it. I just tried to be supportive to him; try to help him out if I can. He's always there. Josh is a great guy. He's still got a lot of relationships and connections here in Chicago. He cares for a lot of guys on this team."

McCown and Cutler developed a synergy in the team's quarterback room last season, which allowed both to perform at high levels. Starting five games for the Chicago Bears last season, McCown passed for 13 touchdowns and one interception with a passer rating of 109.0, which registered as third best in the NFL.

Meanwhile, Cutler produced a career-high passer rating of 89.2 last season, leading to the team rewarding him with a seven-year contract worth $126.7 million.

McCown attributed the synergy in the quarterbacks room last year to quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh and head coach Marc Trestman.

"I think it started with Marc and Matt in the room, and just us understanding the importance of that position, and what we wanted to get out of it. And I think the place I was in my life and where he is, it worked. So I was excited about helping him kind of take that next step, help him continue to play good football. I was ready to do that. He was ready for that to happen in his career and excited about that. So I just think it was a perfect mix of guys who had opportunity to do things they were passionate about. With Matt and Marc passionate about playing that position at a high level and being efficient, me passionate about helping a young player, any young player play better, and Jay wanted to play better. So all of us together it was a good room."