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Cutler making plays out of pocket

Posted by Larry Mayer on October 5, 2012 – 4:01 pm

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler learned how to throw accurately on the run out of necessity.

“In college we really didn’t block that well,” said Cutler, who played for Vanderbilt in the rugged SEC. “I was always on the run, so I got a lot of practice.”

That practice is paying off in the NFL. Since Cutler was sacked seven times in a loss to the Packers, he has excelled at executing some designed rollouts called by first-year coordinator Mike Tice.

“He can throw the ball on the run with the best of them,” Tice said. “Changing that launch point for us is really good because having a guy sitting back there as a sitting target, i.e. the Green Bay game, is not a great thing against real good pass rush teams.

“Moving him around is really good for the pocket and changing the launch point. It’s also good for your run game too because it slows down that backside pursuit.”

How often Tice calls those types of plays in the future depends on how defenses play the Bears.

“It’s just game-by-game,” Cutler said. “It depends if the ends are getting up field. Mike’s definitely aware of that and wants to get out more and more. It helps the offensive line getting that passing target off me and kind of moving the pocket. It’s a point of emphasis. We’ll see how it goes.”

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Gould giving Bears leg to stand on

Posted by Larry Mayer on October 5, 2012 – 3:01 pm

The Bears continue to rely on the strong right leg of kicker Robbie Gould.

The eight-year veteran has made all eight field goals he has attempted this season, including a 54-yarder, and is tied for fourth in the NFL with 16 touchbacks on kickoffs.

Gould has connected on nine straight field goal tries from 50 yards and beyond since 2010. He is 12 of 14 from that distance the past four seasons after going 0 of 2 in his first four campaigns.

“Technically, he’s really good, but we didn’t give him a lot of opportunities [early in his career],” said special teams coordinator Dave Toub. “I think he always had the ability to do it. We kind of held him back a little bit. We were kind of playing field position a little bit more.”

After recording 43 touchbacks last season, Gould is on pace for 64 this year.

“He’s really in a groove right now,” Toub said. “He’s hitting it well. The trajectory of his ball right now, it’s going out of the back of the end zone at a 3.7. As the weather gets colder, he’s going to have to try to get a little bit more hang time because he won’t be able to drive the ball as far. But right now he’s in a groove and we want to keep it going.”

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Podlesh excited to face former team

Posted by Larry Mayer on October 5, 2012 – 1:07 pm

In his second year with the Bears after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Jaguars, punter Adam Podlesh is eager to return to Jacksonville for Sunday’s game against his former team.

“I’m excited. It’s going to be good to be back there,” Podlesh said. “I have a lot of friends and family there. Unfortunately, my wife’s not going to be able to come because she’s about [to give birth to] our first kid. But regardless, it’ll be a good time down memory lane.”

Podlesh excelled in his first season with the Bears last year, setting a franchise record with a 40.4-yard net punting average while establishing career highs in punts (89), yards (3,902) and gross average (43.9). He also landed 21 punts inside-the-20 with only four touchbacks.

Podlesh stays in contact with several former teammates who still play for the Jaguars.

“I keep in touch with a good handful of the players,” Podlesh said. “[Kicker] Josh Scobee was a groomsman in my wedding, and I talk to [long-snapper] Jeremy Cain. The three of us used to hang out a decent amount before I departed for Chicago, so it’ll be good seeing them again.”

After missing the final two preseason games with a hip flexor injury, Podlesh has recorded gross and net averages of 43.0 and 38.1 yards, respectively, so far this season.

“Coming off the injury, he’s getting better each week,” said special teams coordinator Dave Toub. “I have seen signs in practice. He’s starting to bang the ball with a little bit more power. We’re looking for a good week from him.”

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