Defending Cutler

Briggs elected captain

September 16, 2009, 5:47 PM

By: Jeff Dickerson

Jay Cutler might have passed on an opportunity to dispute former St. Louis Rams head coach Mike Martz and former Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Mora Sr. -- but Bears offensive coordinator Ron Turner didn't.

"If it had anything to do with leadership, it's totally, totally off-base," said Turner. "[Cutler]'s as good a leader as I've ever been around. It's not right for people to say something unless they're right there seeing what's going on. I could not be happier, and every guy in that locker room and everybody upstairs, could not be happier with him, and his demeanor and his leadership.

"I talked to coaches in Denver, I talked to players in Denver, and I know how the players and coaches here feel. People that have been in that locker room with him, and been in that huddle with him, and been in meetings with him, know what kind of leader he is. For someone to say something negative in that regard is totally, totally off-base. I don't care who said it, or how much football they know and everything else, it's totally off base."

That was one passionate defense, and it was only the scaled-down version -- Turner's entire answer lasted 1:26.

• Despite being on the field for fewer than 10 snaps against Green Bay, Zack Bowman may have earned an increased workload at cornerback this Sunday.

"I thought he played well in the limited time he had the other day," said coach Lovie Smith. "We've been bringing him back from an injury. He's done a lot of good things when he's had an opportunity to play. We'll just go through the week, and there's a good chance he'll play more."

This could mean less playing time for Nathan Vasher, after the veteran played a role in surrendering Greg Jennings' game-winning 50-yard touchdown reception.

"I think you give yourself a couple hours to be upset about it, they say about 24 hours or so, and get ready for Pittsburgh," said Vasher. "Because Santonio Holmes, Ben Roethlisberger; those guys don't really care too much. You got to get over it and bounce back."

Admirable words from Vasher. It's just unclear at the moment if he'll be given the chance to make amends for last week's mistake.

Danieal Manning's sore back is an issue, especially since Manning did such a good job on opening night. In a perfect world, Manning could start at free safety this weekend, but only if he's physically up to the task.

Brian Urlacher's season-ending wrist injury left the Bears without a second defensive captain. Smith announced Wednesday afternoon that weakside linebacker Lance Briggs was voted to replace Urlacher.

"He's definitely capable, and he will step into Brian's shoes and do it well," said Smith. "Lance has played at a Pro Bowl level for a long time. He needs to be out front, and he is excited about taking that position and going with it."

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