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Cutler will play if he passes 'process'
By Bob LeGere | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 10/4/2010 10:25 PM

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It's too soon to know if Jay Cutler will be cleared to play this week after suffering a concussion while being sacked an NFL-record nine times in the first half Sunday night against the Giants.

"He's feeling OK, as he also was (Sunday) night after the game," said Bears coach Lovie Smith, who was vague about the procedure used to determine concussions and what tests Cutler would have to pass before he was cleared for a return to the field.

"We have a process we go through if a player gets injured during the course of the game," Smith said. "Jay went through that process. We determined at halftime that he wasn't ready to go back in, and we kept him out. We'll monitor, and we'll continue to evaluate, still, with it."

Since Cutler spent most of the first half getting whacked around like a piñata, it was hard to pinpoint when he suffered the concussion.

"I don't know exactly when," Smith said. "We saw symptoms the last sack before the half, and we went in at halftime and of course made that decision."

Cutler did not speak with the media Monday, but he was at Halas Hall.

"It seems like he's in pretty good shape right now," Smith said. "There are no visual signs or anything that I can tell. I leave it to our (medical) people. But he seems like he's OK."

Plenty of blame: Coach Lovie Smith took offense when it was suggested that Jay Cutler could have prevented some of the 9 first-half sacks by demonstrating better pocket presence and throwing the ball away before being engulfed.

"He could have, (but) we could have blocked better, we could have tackled better, a lot of things," Smith said. "We could have done a better job of coaching. There's a lot of things we could have done better (Sunday) night.

"Jay is a part of that. And we all will do a better job, similar to the way we did in those 3 wins we had. (Sunday) night it didn't work."

Faint praise: Defensive tackle Tommie Harris and cornerback Zack Bowman both got playing time Sunday, although neither started after being benched in Week 3.

Bowman forced a fumble that he also recovered, but Smith wasn't handing out any awards Monday.

"None of us responded the way (I wanted), so you can start with that blanket statement," he said. "I thought (Bowman) was trying to play hard, trying to make plays like all the guys were, but we're not giving out any game balls.

"(It was) good to get (Harris) back in the mix. He practiced hard last week and was willing (Sunday) but didn't make a whole lot of plays."

Could be worse: Julius Peppers said despite the latest loss the Bears are in good shape as they prepare to play his former team, the Carolina Panthers, on Sunday.

"That's a good start," Peppers said. "That's the goal in the first quarter is to get 3 wins.

"We did that. You want to try to win all of them, but that's a little bit unrealistic. We're not satisfied with it, but we're happy with where we're at."