Quarterback Jay Cutler is happy to see the Chicago Bears have made protecting their quarterback a priority after adding to the offensive line through free agency and with two draft picks.
The Bears, who gave up 49 sacks last season, which was fifth in the NFL, invested $17.7 million in guaranteed money in left tackle Jermon Bushrod and added guard Matt Slauson, who started 48 games the past four seasons for the New York Jets, during free agency. The Bears then picked Oregon guard Kyle Long with the 20th overall selection and Louisiana Tech offensive tackle Jordan Mills in the fifth round of the NFL draft.
"(The coaching staff is) going to make sure everyone knows their assignments and we are protected," Cutler said Monday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN Chicago 1000. "Bushrod is a huge addition and we drafted some guys and some of the guys we had last year have to step in and play well. It's definitely a point of emphasis. We're not going to let the quarterback get hit. We're not going to go into games unsure about protections. Everything starts there, and I think (new offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Aaron) Kromer is doing a great job with getting those guys up to speed with exactly how they want these things done."
With seven offensive linemen coming off the board before the Bears made their pick, Cutler said he wasn't sure what his team had planned with their first-round selection.
"I watched the first round and linemen were going off the board left and right so I wasn't too sure where we were going to go," Cutler said. "We have some holes defensively, we have Bushrod through free agency so I wasn't for sure about the pick. Like any quarterback I'm pretty selfish so anytime they pick somebody on offense it's going to make me smile."