LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Jay Cutler says that shedding a few pounds likely beefed up his game.
Cutler reported to training camp days before the rest of his teammates in July, weighing approximately 10 less than his listed playing weight of 233 pounds. The weight loss, Cutler said on Monday, contributed to better conditioning, footwork and mobility.
"I have not been this lean," Cutler said. "I can tell the difference in my footwork and just the ability to get up in the pocket. You know, I don't really get as tired as much throughout camp because I'm not carrying all that weight. Whether it's good or bad, we'll wait to see."
Cutler explained that he typically loses weight over the course of a football season. But unlike every offseason in the past, the quarterback didn't put any of the weight back on once the season ended.
Cutler said part of his weight loss comes from maintaining a healthier diet. He said that he isn't sure yet how it affects his diabetes. Doctors diagnosed Cutler with Type 1 diabetes in 2008, and according to the Mayo Clinic, weight gain is a common side effect for people taking insulin to treat the disease.
"I've been steady for three years now [with treatment for diabetes], so I haven't really noticed a difference in that yet," Cutler said.
Early returns on the field, however, appear promising for Cutler.
Offensive coordinator Mike Martz almost immediately took note of Cutler's improved footwork, which has been highly scrutinized throughout his career for inconsistency and sometimes sloppiness.
Cutler now displays what Martz described as "textbook" movement during his drops. ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski also acknowledged tremendous improvement in Cutler's footwork during Monday night's broadcast of the Bears 41-13 loss to the New York Giants.
"I don't think there's any question [you improve] when you lose weight as long as you don't lose strength, and he hasn't lost his strength," Martz told ESPNChicago.com. "He's just so much more agile, and he's always been athletic as heck. But he gets back quick, the ball comes out quick."
Martz had said earlier in camp that Cutler "has done an awful lot of work on his own in the offseason."
Now, Martz is seeing the fruits of that labor.
"He moves around so easily, and I can tell," Martz said. "He gets the ball out a little faster this way. He's boom, boom, boom, then that ball's out. So it does affect the passer because of the balance when you lose weight like that. Throwing the ball accurately consistently is about keeping the weight between your feet, and with his weight down, he's not gonna get tipped or stuck on a foot, so to speak."
Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.