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Did Cutler call a lot of plays at line?

Posted Sep 18, 2013

Larry discusses whether Jay Cutler called a lot of plays at the line of scrimmage against the Vikings, the 12 men-on-the-field penalty the Bears drew and Cutler's fumble.

Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of email questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.

It looked to me like Jay Cutler called a lot of plays at the line of scrimmage in Sunday's win over the Vikings. Was I seeing things correctly?

Gabe W.
Duluth, Georgia

Yes, Jay Cutler called several plays at the line of scrimmage based on what he saw from the Vikings defense. Coach Marc Trestman often gives Cutler a couple of options to choose from and the quarterback then makes the final decision. Trestman has a lot of confidence in Cutler's ability to put the offense in the best position to succeed because of the quarterback's football intelligence and experience. Said Trestman: "He's on top of everything. I was very impressed with the way he handled it [Sunday]. We gave him two or three plays to work with at the line and even if he didn't see the right coverage he found the right play."

It seemed like the 12 men-on-the-field penalty the Bears drew against the Vikings occurred because the officials let Minnesota's punt team snap the ball too quickly. There were three or four Bears defenders still on the field of play trying to get to the sideline. Was that legal?

Rob B.
Geneva, Illinois

The Bears have asked the NFL for a clarification of what transpired on the play you referred to and what they need to do in those situations. Said coach Marc Trestman: "When we looked at the tape from the end zone, it looked like one of the officials was trying to hold up play. Our guys did a good job. We've done a good job in transitions of running off the field. We had about six guys. They weren't raging off the field, but they were running at normal transition gait and they allowed them to snap the football. So we're going to ask the question. We want to make sure from the league that we're handling things the correct way. We're not questioning it other than we just want to know what we could have done better."

Who was Jay Cutler looking to throw the ball to when he was sacked and lost a fumble the Vikings returned for a touchdown?

Steve D.
Indiana

The play you're referring to came on third-and-nine from the Minnesota 31 midway through the second quarter with the Bears leading 14-7. The play was actually supposed to be a screen to running back Matt Forte. Coach Marc Trestman feels that the Bears could have produced a big gain had they executed a little better. Here's what he said: "The technique of what they were doing defensively really enabled us to have a big play. I think we've got better understanding when a defense plays that kind of front and the way they attack and angled their rush, we could have gotten Matt out a little bit quicker because we had their defensive back who was covering Matt locked up. If we could have gotten Matt out cleanly, it would have been a big play. On the other side of it, I think Jay would be the first one to tell you he's got to do a better job of taking care of the football and recognizing blindside pursuit in that situation, because we ran a play which we thought, 'We're in field-goal range, let's get three first. If we get more than three, that's a good thing, but let's come out of it with an incompletion, a short gain or a big gain on the screen. It could have been a huge gain if we would have executed better and that's part of why we're here and what we're going to start to do in practice Wednesday is try to get better."

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