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Cutler wants say in final roster
Smith agreeable, but ultimately it's coaches' decisions
By Bob LeGere | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 8/13/2009 12:01 AM

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BOURBONNAIS -- After Wednesday's last full-pads practice of the week before the Bears scale it down in preparation for Saturday night's preseason opener against the Bills, quarterback Jay Cutler was asked if he would offer an opinion on whom he wants on the final roster.

"Oh yeah," Cutler said. "I think they're definitely going to ask me. If they don't ask me, I'm going to tell them what I think because I've got to be the one throwing to them on game day, and I've got to trust them. But (offensive coordinator) Ron (Turner) and I have been on the same page since the start of training camp in what guys we wanted to see working in with me and what guys have stepped up and what direction we want to go with this group."

According to coach Lovie Smith, players have input, but only so much.

"Yeah, sure, all the players have influence, I mean we listen to them," he said. "Of course we'll listen to the quarterback, and not only the quarterback, but the rest of our team, too. We want to know how a player fits into the rest of the group. The quarterback has to feel comfortable with the receivers, so we listen to them but in the end we know who is going to make those kinds of decisions."

Smith said the starters could play into the second quarter in Buffalo, so Cutler will get a chance to evaluate his receivers in game conditions.

"I just want to see them in action, just to see how they react when the lights come on," Cutler said. "The speed's going to be a little bit different. It'll be faster for them. Things will be moving at a different speed. The coaches aren't going to be out there. They're going to have to react on their own."

Don't think so: Wide receivers coach Darryl Drake sounded a bit like Yogi Berra when he was discussing the maturation process of wide receivers in the NFL, specifically Devin Aromashodu.

"He's playing without thinking," Drake said of Aromashodu, who has played in six games while spending parts of three seasons on practice squads. "If you get a guy who can play without thinking, then he can play. But it doesn't happen overnight.

"Once it starts to sink in, and once guys start to get a feel for what they've got to do and understand the offense, then they can play. But until then, they play inhibited. They don't play fast, they play tentative, and consequently you don't see the true talent that they have. Once they get it, and they understand, then you see the talent."

Walking wounded: Alex Brown (soreness), Desmond Clark (soreness), Zack Bowman (hamstring), Danieal Manning (hamstring), Jamar Williams (shoulder), Patrick Mannelly (hip) and Joe Clermond (arm) did not practice Wednesday.