HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – Jay Cutler is one of the most polarizing quarterbacks in the NFL. A lot of that has to do with his personality and off the field demeanor. He’s aloof. He’s moody. And he doesn’t seem well liked by his teammates.
Still, he’s a quarterback that defenses have to respect. He has a cannon for an arm. And while he’s no Michael Vick, he can evade the rush and extend plays with his legs. Per Football Outsiders, he was last year’s best quarterback under pressure. So how do you stop him? I asked Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel.
“You have to try to keep him in the pocket for one,” said Crennel. “so that he doesn’t get out and get those open throwing lanes. You have to be cognizant of your rush lanes so that you don’t give him those big windows to throw in. When you give him those, he can make the throws. He can make all of them. And he can stick it in pretty good.”
It doesn’t help that he can make those throws on the run.
“When you’re able to pressure him and he’s able to get outside the pocket he can still make the throws,” said Crennel.
I also asked Texans defensive tackle Vince Wilfork about Cutler.
“He can hurt you on the ground and in the air,” said Wilfork. “He can make every throw. He’s very competitive. He has guys around him that he can get the ball to. So we have our hands full with a quarterback like Jay.”
For this week’s episode of SportsZone Unfiltered – Friday night at 10 PM on The Kube – I asked former NFL cornerback Stanford Routt how you defend against a guy like Jay. He told me that you’ve got to put pressure on him and get him worked up. From the sound of things, Vince Wilfork knows that too.
“He wears his passion on his sleeve, I’ll tell you that,” said Wilfork. “And he’s a gunslinger. He’s not afraid of much. And he’ll do a good job of getting the ball into his playmakers’ hands.”
Who are those playmakers? I first asked Romeo Crennel about Alshon Jeffery, Cutler’s 6’3 218 pound go-to target.
“Well sometimes you have to double him,” chuckled Crennel. “Put two guys on him. Try to slow him down off the line. Because big guys, once they get started it’s hard to catch up to them. It’s hard to stop them. And once they get started they can always put the body on you and use the body to make plays. That’s one of the things that Alshon does very well. He can body guys up. And even though he is ‘covered’ he still comes up with the ball.”
Matt Forte was the Bears running back the past 8 seasons. But now he’s a member of the New York Jets. In his place steps Jeremy Langford, a 4th round pick by Chicago last year who started two games for the Bears his rookie season. Langford had 537 yards on the ground (3.6 yards per carry) and 6 touchdowns his rookie season, adding 22 catches for 279 yards and another score. So I asked Romeo Crennel what stands out about the Bears new lead back.
“He’s a tough running back,” said Crennel. “He’s got some quickness. He’s got good vision at the line of scrimmage to find the holes. And when they’re there he usually has a good acceleration to get through them at the second level.”
Paul Gallant hosts “Gallant at Night” – Tuesdays 9-11 PM, Wednesdays 8-11 PM, and Fridays 8-11 PM on SportsRadio 610. He also hosts SportsZone Unfiltered – Fridays at 10 PM – on The Kube: Channel 57 and the Spoiler Alert Podcast – available weekly on iTunes and SportsRadio610.com. Get in touch with Paul via email or his facebook page.