Smith deflects focus from himself

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler admitted Thursday that the job status of head coach Lovie Smith is part of the motivation for the players this season.

"Lovie is one of the best coaches I've been around, and I know that everyone on this team has a great amount of respect for him, as he does for us," Cutler said as the team reported to training camp. "He treats us well.

"I know some of the guys that have been here longer than me definitely have a lot of ties to him, and we want to go out there for him and play well, because you never know what's going to happen this year if we don't go out and perform -- if Lovie gets to stay or not. That's definitely a question that I'm sure is in the back of everyone else's mind."

Smith said it's a matter of the players performing well for the Bears, not for his job security.

"I feel the same pressure every year," Smith said. "The pressure to win the Super Bowl, that's what we feel right now. The pressure to put the best team on the field we can the first game, the pressure to have a good practice every day. No more than that, but that's enough right there."

If the Bears are to be successful, Cutler will have to reduce the 26 interceptions he threw last season.

"I think everybody does [have something to prove]," Cutler said. "I definitely do. This offense does as a whole. You know it's a young group of guys; they've had some ups and downs. Some guys have been successful. Some guys haven't been successful.

"But I think everyone has a little chip on their shoulder, which I think is a great thing. There's a sense of urgency to go out there and play well, which you have to have on a football team."

Jeff Dickerson covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com.