Jay Cutler: Lovie Smith's firing 'was tough to see'

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler acknowledged Thursday it "was tough to see" former coach Lovie Smith fired by the organization in 2012, after the team posted a 10-6 record.

"We won 10 games that year and he got fired," Cutler said. "And a lot of the blame was on the offense like I said when he got fired. At this point, you just have to wish him well and move on."

Cutler and Smith meet again Sunday when the Bears host the Smith-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Soldier Field.

Cutler was complimentary regarding his relationship with Smith.

"I think anytime you’re with a head coach as long as Lovie was here and I was here, there’s definitely a relationship," Cutler said.

The team’s struggles to field a consistent offense during Smith’s nine-year tenure played a role in the team’s decision to fire him. Despite having a Pro Bowl receiver in Brandon Marshall and other strong supporting cast members such as Cutler and running back Matt Forte, the Bears finished 2012 ranked No. 28 in total offense.

Despite the organization firing him, Smith spoke highly of the Bears and Cutler.

"Jay’s been a great quarterback in the league for a long time," Smith said. "Things that bother you as a defense: a quarterback that can make all his throws with mobility that can move around in the pocket, of course, Jay has all that. When he looks to throw the ball, he has some great targets. I think every opposing team that comes in will say the same thing."