Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler acknowledged Tuesday that he was wrong to shove teammate J'Marcus Webb on the sideline during the loss at Green Bay last week.
He has no second thoughts about yelling at him, however.
"I probably shouldn't have bumped him, I'll go with that," Cutler told WMVP-AM in Chicago. "As far as me yelling at him and trying to get him going in the game, I don't regret that. I shouldn't have bumped him, I'll stick to that."
Cutler drew widespread attention for berating and bumping Webb, the starting left tackle, on the sideline and for making some pointed postgame comments after the 23-10 loss to the Packers on Thursday. National analysts such as Terry Bradshaw and Bill Cowher spoke out, and so did Bears defensive back D.J. Moore this week, saying the quarterback was wrong to go after Webb like that.
Cutler looked great in a season-opening blowout over Indianapolis, finding new receiver Brandon Marshall often, but it was a different story last week. He threw four interceptions and got sacked seven times, an all-too-familiar sight for a quarterback who took a beating the previous two years under former offensive co-ordinator Mike Martz. His tirade against Webb and lack of remorse he showed in the postgame interview brought back questions about his leadership and demeanour.
As for why the outburst happened at that particular moment, Cutler wasn't sure.
"I can't put a definite reason why it happened," he said. "It happened. It's an emotional game. I put a lot into playing quarterback, and I take it seriously. It's just one of the things that happened during the game. Since then, we've talked about it, and it's really behind us."
Cutler discussed the incident "with the powers that be" and with the linemen individually. Did he apologize to Webb?
"That's between me and J'Marcus," Cutler said. "We've talked. It's in the past. We're moving on. He's our left tackle. He's my left tackle, and I expect him each and every week to play at a certain level. And I think he expects himself to play that way, too."
Filled with problems
Webb will certainly have to do better, considering Clay Matthews went off for 3 ½ sacks, but he wasn't the only Bears player who had problems. Marshall had just two catches and dropped a potential touchdown pass, yet Cutler consoled him after that.
So why didn't Webb get similar treatment?
"Everyone's different," Cutler said. "Everyone reacts differently. I've known Brandon for a long time. I've played a lot of football with Brandon [in Denver]. I know what Brandon's capable of at a high level, and I know no one was more disappointed in that stadium or as a Bears fan than Brandon Marshall for dropping that touchdown. I know that genuinely in my heart."
He also said the offence as a whole needs to improve, including himself. But if there are any lingering issues surrounding the incident, Cutler doesn't see any.
"We went out there [for practice on Monday], started preparing for St. Louis, had a crisp practice, put in some good stuff," he said. "I think in our building internally, we kind of circle the wagons. I don't care if you win, you lose, there's going to be criticism. There's always going to be something that someone's picking on, someone's trying to make a story out of."
He was asked if he can lead the Bears. To that, Cutler said, "Without a doubt. Without a doubt."
He was also asked about Moore's comments.
"He's entitled to his opinion and whatever he wants to say is up to him," Cutler said.
Cutler disputed the idea that he lost his composure against the Packers, saying, mistakes by him and other players derailed the Bears. He said he knew what he was doing "as we were calling plays, and everything was going smoothly."
In fact, he insisted he wasn't rattled.
"I'm actually proud of that game," he said. "I thought I fought. I thought I competed hard, made a few errant throws. But whenever we got what we were looking for, I put the ball on the money for the most part."