From Comcast SportsNetLAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) -- Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler plans to treat Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers like any other, even with bruised ribs."I'm not concerned at all," Cutler said Wednesday at Halas Hall. "I think by Sunday it'll all be cleared up. I'll be fine."Cutler suffered the injury Monday night on a sack by Detroit's Ndamukong Suh. Cutler said he regularly wears a flak jacket and plans to wear one again against Carolina."I was lucky, I think," Cutler said of the hit. "It was awkward. I sort of got bent over his knee a little bit. You want to try to stay away from those as much as possible."Suh has a reputation for dirty hits, but Cutler insisted there was nothing illegal about the sack even if it looked ugly."It was like a wrestling move a little bit," Cutler said. "(Suh) plays hard. It's out of the pocket. He's playing football. "I don't have a problem with that, I really don't. I don't think it was dirty. He plays an aggressive style of football. That's just who he is."Teammate Brandon Marshall expressed a different opinion immediately after the game by criticizing Suh on Twitter. He hadn't changed his mind about the hit on Cutler by Wednesday."I'm not going to back off on that," he said. "I already said what I have to say, but I think Jay is in a position with you (media) guys that anything he says may be taken the wrong way. So I think it's important for his teammates to maybe speak for him at times. I'm around Jay every single day on and off the field so I know how he feels. And for me, I just think it wasn't a good football play."Offensive coordinator Mike Tice doubts he'll limit the game plan due to Cutler's injury."I was a little cautious obviously once he got hurt, and didn't want to expose him and really throw the ball down the field except for when we were getting pressed," he said. "But no, he's ready to go."Cutler has been sacked 19 times this season, fifth-most in the league.Tice thought the bye week and 15 days between games may have taken a toll on his offense's timing in blocking and in the passing game against Detroit. The Bears hadn't allowed more than two sacks in three straight games before Detroit had five."Just not as crisp," he said. "We felt a little off. Guys hadn't been hitting in a while, although we went in pads in practice a number of times."Cutler has scrambled for 56 yards the past two games. He said he won't necessarily adjust his style of play due to the injury. Playing through hits and knowing how to avoid them is part of the game, he said."It's just natural, you kind of learn how to take hits as a quarterback throughout the years," Cutler said. "I took some shots and playing here I've taken some shots."You learn how to do it, but in the same sense you've got to play your game. You've got to play your style of football and running around, trying to make plays is kind of part of my game. So it's risk, reward."
We haven't heard from cornerback Malcolm Butler as his future as a Patriot hangs in the balance after his visit with the New Orleans Saints last week.
Butler, a restricted free agent who has yet to sign the $3.91 million tender offered by the Patriots, posted a photo Wednesday on Instagram with the cryptic message "Nothing changed but the change," which happens to be a lyric from a song titled "Could It Be" by rapper Nick Lyon. So, perhaps a change of teams is being referred to.
More to come...
The NFL is acknowledging it has a time-management issue. Games are too long. Commercial are too frequent. And according to an email addressed to NFL fans, Roger Goodell is hoping to change that.
On Wednesday afternoon the commissioner explained the methods by which the league is hoping to improve the fan experience, most of which concern the presentation of games with as few interruptions as possible.
"On the football side, there are a number of changes we are making to the mechanics and rules of the game to maintain excitement and also improve the consistency of our officiating," Goodell wrote. "For example, next week clubs will vote on a change to centralize replay reviews. Instead of a fixed sideline monitor, we will bring a tablet to the Referee who can review the play in consultation with our officiating headquarters in New York, which has the final decision. This should improve consistency and accuracy of decisions and help speed up the process.
"Regarding game timing, we're going to institute a play clock following the extra point when television does not take a break, and we're considering instituting a play clock after a touchdown. We're also going to standardize the starting of the clock after a runner goes out-of-bounds, and standardize halftime lengths in all games, so we return to the action as quickly as possible. Those are just a few of the elements we are working on to improve the pace of our game."
Goodell also mentioned that the NFL is working with its broadcast partners to reduce the frequency of commercial breaks during games.
"For example," Goodell wrote, "we know how annoying it is when we come back from a commercial break, kick off, and then cut to a commercial again. I hate that too. Our goal is to eliminate it."
Goodell, team owners and executives will convene in Phoenix next week for the league's annual meetings where discussions about these potential changes could see meaningful progress.