Cutler sees positives, room to improve |

Cutler sees positives, room to improve

AP Sports Writer

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) – Tony Romo knows a thing or two about life in the gossip pages, so if anyone can offer Jay Cutler advice about handling the headlines, the Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback is the man.

After all, Romo has been linked to Jessica Simpson, Carrie Underwood and Candice Crawford. Cutler reportedly has spent time with reality TV star Kristin Cavallari.

“At the end of the day, you either develop a turtle shell to what people who don’t matter think about you or you don’t and you let it affect you,” Romo said Wednesday. “You have to be able to put blinders on, have tunnel vision and go out and continue to work and do what makes you be good at what you do.”

Presumably, the two quarterbacks have more important things on their minds headed into Sunday’s game when Chicago visits Dallas.

Cutler looked pretty good in the opener against the Detroit Lions on Sunday, throwing for 372 yards while the offense racked up 463 in all, yet that 19-14 victory left plenty of room for improvement by the offense.

There were four turnovers. There were problems inside the 20, not to mention one head-scratching decision by coach Lovie Smith on a failed fourth down at the goal line. There was also a failure by Detroit’s Calvin Johnson to properly secure what looked like the go-ahead touchdown catch in the closing seconds, preserving the victory.

There was no shortage of talking points, including this one: Devin Hester, the Bears’ supposed No. 1 receiver, caught just one pass – a 17-yarder on the game’s opening possession and the only time he was targeted.

“If Devin would have got open, I would have thrown him the ball,” Cutler said. “It’s going to be game-by-game who gets the ball, depending on which coverage, if they are rolling strong, if they are rolling weak, we’re going to go with the matchups. They were doing some things to Devin, putting some things over the top. Devin is going to have his games. I’m not worried about that. He played really well. He’s going to play really well this week. I’m excited for him.”

Cutler hit six different receivers last week, connecting seven times with running back Matt Forte for 151 yards. He also targeted Devin Aromashodu 10 times and completed five passes to him for 71 yards. But Hester?

“I’m not worried about having the ball thrown my way,” he said.

Martz said Hester’s involvement was simply a product of the game’s flow.

“It’s just what they do defensively,” he said. “I will say this: If you ask every receiver in the NFL if he was open, not one of them won’t say he was open.”

Cutler was more concerned about the turnovers and the Bears’ inability to convert deep in Lions territory than he was about Hester. He also said, “You’ve got to be positive about what direction the offense is going.”

The way the Bears moved the ball at times, they probably could have pulled away from Detroit. Yet, they were 0 for 4 inside the 20, including that goal-line failure in the fourth quarter when the Bears opted against the field goal. Should they have tried a quarterback sneak during that series?

“These days, they’re pretty much not going to let up those front two gaps, so it’s going to be hard for us to be able to get push inside,” Cutler said.

Martz said the goal-line failure was “all on me.”

“We did not spend the time that we needed to spend on it, getting all these other things ready,” he added. “I felt comfortable with where we were with it, but we just got to get all the nuances of the goal line down and we can do a better job in that.”

Notes: Smith said losing LB Hunter Hillenmeyer (concussion) for the rest of the season hurts, but putting him on injured reserve was the right thing to do. He said Hillenmeyer, who was injured in the third preseason game, had “trouble in the past” and that he experienced problems against Detroit “without taking a shot, without getting a hit.” … DT Tommie Harris brushed off criticism from Warren Sapp, who questioned his awareness and compared him to a “blind dog in a meathouse” during an interview with Chicago’s WSCR-AM. Harris responded by sarcastically saying, “Yeah, I agree with what Warren says. Warren knows my number, though. If he has anything to say, he can call me.”