LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman remained firm in his support of quarterback Jay Cutler on Monday. Not so much for defensive coordinator Mel Tucker.
Trestman dismissed a report that the Bears considered benching Cutler during last month’s win over Tampa Bay.
“Jay Cutler as long as he’s been healthy has been the guy we’ve had in there and wanted to play,” Trestman said. “There’s been no (indecision) there whatsoever.”
And, he insisted: “As long as Jay is healthy, he’ll be playing quarterback for us.”
Even though his completion percentage and passer rating are career highs, Cutler’s play is one of the sore spots for fans of the scuffling Bears. He ranks second in the NFL with 15 interceptions and has lost six fumbles after signing a seven-year contract.
The Bears (5-8), meanwhile, will miss the playoffs for the seventh time in eight years, certainly not what they envisioned when the season began. They expected to make a playoff run. Instead, they are playing out the string, with New Orleans visiting Monday night.
“I think (Cutler) has a very good understanding of how we feel about him,” Trestman said. “There’s a lot of noise out there. We’re all aware of that. You get away for a few days, you know how much noise there is out there because you’re not working 24/7. But, we’re here to do one thing. Today we worked to get better, and when we get back here on Wednesday, we’re going to do everything we can to get ready for New Orleans.”
As for another report that Tucker will be gone at the end of the season? Trestman would not confirm or deny a decision has been reached.
“All we’re trying to do here is to get our football team in a position that we can be better on Monday night,” Trestman said. “The focus inside this building is exactly that and has always been exactly that week to week. That’s all that’s been important to all of us here.”
If Tucker is let go, that would hardly be a surprise given the way the defense has struggled in his two years. Then again, the same could be said about Trestman and even general manager Phil Emery.
For now, Trestman is taking a more narrow focus.
“We’re here to try to get our football team better,” he said. “You focus on what’s important and what’s really important is helping these guys to be in a better position that Monday night they can go out and play good football.”
He said the Bears are “playing everybody.”
“All the young guys are playing, they’re playing in different roles, they’re playing special teams. We’re moving people in and out in various roles on the back end, at the second level up front, particularly defense, where there’s a lot of young players,” Trestman said. “So, that’s not going to change.”
Marquess Wilson could play a bigger role, with Brandon Marshall out for the rest of the season. The Bears’ star receiver is out of the hospital after breaking two ribs and sustaining a lung injury in Thursday’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
“I think he’s off and running,” Trestman said. “He knows and knew how he would be targeted as we got him involved and certainly that’ll grow certainly this week with Brandon out.”
Trestman said the Bears will have a better idea on K Robbie Gould’s status later in the week after he sat out the Dallas game with a right quadriceps injury. ... TE Martellus Bennett said he “would love” to continue playing for Trestman. “I love Coach Trestman and I love his approach to the game,” he said. “But ultimately, I have no say-so in (whether Trestman will be retained).”