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Cutler not as unfazed by hits as he makes it look
By Bob LeGere | Daily Herald Staff

Frank Zombo hits Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.

 

Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

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Published: 9/30/2010 12:00 AM | Updated: 9/30/2010 10:38 AM

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Even after Green Bay linebacker Frank Zombo drilled Jay Cutler in the chin with the crown of his helmet, drawing a 15-yard penalty, the Bears' quarterback seemed unfazed.

After an incompletion, Cutler connected with Matt Forte for 15 yards and Greg Olsen for 16 yards to help set up Robbie Gould's game-tying field goal Monday night at Soldier Field.

Sometimes it's not as easy to shake off a shot in the chops as Cutler made it look, but he was able to laugh it off Wednesday.

"Some of those, you hope the next play is a run, but it doesn't always happen like that," he said. "I got hit a lot in college, too, so it's been happening for a while.

"Those hits are tough when you take them in the head like that under the chin. And then you know you have to get right back up, the clock is ticking, it could be a third down or it could be a second down and you just never know.

"That was kind of a crucial part of the game where we had to go down there and score, so it's just another challenge.

"The older you get the harder it is," the 27-year-old said. "The more hits you take the longer it's going to take (to recover). (Wednesday) was a rough one with some of the hits you take.

"And it was a Monday night game, so we only have one day of recovery. I think that's why we're taking it easy (Wednesday)."

After three weeks, Cutler is third in the NFL with a 109.7 passer rating, trailing only Peyton Manning (116.9) and Michael Vick (110.2).

Missing ingredient: Coach Lovie Smith says lack of motivation is not the reason for Tommie Harris' benching.

"Tommie is always motivated," Smith said. "I have no complaints about how Tommie Harris has done anything this off-season, or what he's done on the practice field.

"We just thought based on (lack of) performance that someone else deserved an opportunity to see exactly what we had in Marcus (Harrison). We were saying the same thing about Marcus, but he hadn't gotten an opportunity to play.

"So I don't have any complaints about Tommie. Tommie will go through practice this week and may be (active) this week."

What, then, IS the problem?

"That's what we're trying to figure out, all right?" Smith said. "You don't have to figure all that out after three games."

Opportunity knocks: Coaches were impressed enough with cornerback Zack Bowman's performance last year, when he had 6 of the team's 13 interceptions, to move him from the right side to the more difficult left side. But he was benched after one quarter Monday night.

"Zack has done some good things here," coach Lovie Smith said. "But there is a reason why Tim Jennings is our third corner. I just felt like we needed a boost at the position.

"(We gave) Tim an opportunity, and he made the most of it. Very pleased with what we did. Tackled hard, tough player and made possibly the biggest play of the game."

Jennings' fumble recovery set up the game-winning field-goal drive.

"As far as who will who be dressing this week, who will be starting, that's why you go through the practice week," Smith said.

Short rest: Because of the shortened workweek, Wednesday's practice was basically a walk-through.

On a normal practice day, guard Roberto Garza (knee), safety Chris Harris (neck) and defensive end Israel Idonije (foot) would have been limited, but all are expected to play Sunday night against the New York Giants.

Offensive tackle Chris Williams and safety Major Wright remain out with hamstring injuries and will not play Sunday.