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What grade does Cutler deserve?

Posted Oct 15, 2013

Larry grades Jay Cutler's performance to this point in the season and discusses injuries on defense and how the Bears have fared against the Redskins.

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.

With Jay Cutler being in a contract year, how do you grade his performance so far?

From Conner G. on Twitter

I'd give Jay Cutler a solid B-plus for the first six games of the season. To me, the two most important aspects of quarterback play are decision-making and accuracy, and Cutler has excelled in both areas in five of six games (with the lone exception being the Bears' Week 4 loss to the Lions). In the other five contests, Cutler has posted passer ratings of 93.2, 97.7, 90.8, 128.1 and 106.5. He's also thrown multiple touchdown passes in five of the first six games for the first time in his eight-year NFL career. (He did it in a total of five games in 2011 and again in 2012.) Cutler's passer rating this season is 95.2; his career high is 88.5 when he was a rookie with the Broncos in 2006. Cutler has made some big throws, tossing game-winning touchdown passes to Brandon Marshall and Martellus Bennett the first two weeks of the season. What I've been most impressed with is that he hasn't forced many passes into coverage, choosing instead to throw the ball away or check it down under the coverage when there's nothing open down the field.

How will the Bears address the injuries on the defensive side? Bears fans aren't used to issues on this side of the ball.

From Shari W. on Twitter

The good news is that it appears that cornerback Charles Tillman and defensive tackle Stephen Paea both will be back in the starting lineup against the Redskins Sunday. Paea's return might allow Corey Wootton to return to his natural position outside at defensive end, which would enable the Bears to improve at two spots. With veteran middle linebacker D.J. Williams out for the season with a ruptured pectoral muscle, Jon Bostic will step into that role. I have faith in Bostic, but losing Williams and elevating Bostic obviously depletes the depth at the position. It's difficult losing so many players for the season, especially tackle Henry Melton, but the Bears believe in a next-man-up philosophy. They expect everyone on their roster to perform when pressed into service and won't use injuries as an excuse.
 
How have the Bears fared against the Redskins? I don't remember a whole lot of recent wins over Washington.

Frank S.
Indiana

The all-time series between the two teams is tied 23-23-1, but the Bears have lost four straight dating back to 2003. Their only longer losing streak is six to the Packers. The Bears are 1-3 at FedEx Field with their lone win coming in 2001 when Brian Urlacher caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Brad Maynard on a fake field goal late in a 20-15 victory.

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