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updated: 8/21/2013 12:33 AM

Bears' Cutler keeping his options open

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  • Bears quarterback Jay Cutler

      Bears quarterback Jay Cutler
    Associated Press

  • Video: Cutler previews Oakland game

 
 

Considering he will play at least two full quarters Friday night at Oakland, Jay Cutler, presumably, will throw the ball to someone other than Brandon Marshall.

But will throwing it to someone other than Marshall, who was targeted on all 5 of Cutler's passes last week, be on the quarterback's mind?

"It will not," Cutler said -- twice.

That would be two times more than he targeted every other receiver on the Bears' roster in preseason Game 2.

In fairness, Cutler has shown that he's more than a capable of spreading the ball around in an offense that has more than one viable threat or in an offense that doesn't have a dominant go-to guy.

Cutler worked with a mediocre group of wideouts in 2011, and the top five all had between 24 and 37 receptions. Johnny Knox and Roy Williams each caught 37 passes, followed by Dane Sanzenbacher (27), Devin Hester (26) and Earl Bennett (24).

So Cutler doesn't feel compelled to make a predetermined effort to spread the ball around, although he said he believes that will happen if the offense functions as designed.

"You guys are hitting the panic button after two preseason games and 30 plays," he said. "We've run 30 (plays and had) lot of runs. Yeah, we're gonna spread it around. We can't just throw to Brandon and give the ball to Matt (Forte).

"We've got to figure out ways to get other guys involved. We had plays up (last week for other players). Some of them worked; some of them got checked out of. So, it's just the way it goes."

Of the five times Cutler targeted Marshall against San Diego, four were completed (for 38 yards) and the other was picked off.

The interception was a Cutler mistake, according to offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Aaron Kromer, because Marshall was double-covered.

But Kromer said Cutler is for the most part putting the ball where it needs to be. He said Trestman's play-calling would be the same Friday night.

"We're going to call plays, and where the plays and the coverages dictate, he'll throw the ball," Kromer said. "All good quarterbacks think they can make throws that they might not be able to make.

"They're just like a lineman (when) they step with the wrong foot, (or) they block in the wrong angle. A quarterback throws it to the wrong guy sometimes."

Cutler and the offense still are in the early stages of learning a new offense, but they all grasp the concept of distributing the ball.

"The whole offense is doing a good job of understanding our scheme and spreading the ball around by what the defense gives us," Kromer said. "If the defense gives us Brandon Marshall, then we'll throw it to him. If they don't, then we won't throw it to him."

Any quarterback feels more confident throwing the ball to receivers he trusts, and Cutler says trust isn't a concern. He worked well with Alshon Jeffery last year when the rookie was healthy, and their chemistry was evident during training-camp practices.

"I trust those guys," Cutler said. "Alshon has probably had the best camp out of everybody on offense. He's done a great job this off-season of getting better, getting physically stronger and gaining my trust. I love throwing it to him."

But Cutler hasn't had much of an opportunity to connect with Earl Bennett, even in practice, since his former Vanderbilt teammate suffered a concussion three weeks ago.

First-year player Joe Anderson and rookie Marquess Wilson have flashed the ability to fill the role of No. 3 receiver, but Cutler isn't sure how coaches will replace Bennett until he returns.

"They don't give me an opinion, so we'll see who they throw in there," said Cutler, who was then asked for his perspective on the situation.

"They don't give me a perspective either," he said. "So we'll see who Marc and (general manager) Phil (Emery) and those guys like, and whoever is out there I trust will get the job done."

But first they have to get the ball.

•Follow Bob's NFL reports on Twitter @BobLeGere, and check out his Bear Essentials blog at dailyherald.com/sports.

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