You can say this much for Jay Cutler -- success hasn't changed him.
A division-championship quarterback for the first time in his career, Cutler met a larger media contingent than normal at his weekly press conference Wednesday -- more local reporters, out-of-town reporters, national reporters. But only the stage was bigger at Halas Hall. Cutler was Cutler.
Preparing for the first playoff game of his NFL career, Cutler didn't seem fazed by the added attention or magnitude of the situation. The Bears are 10-point favorites over the upstart Seattle Seahawks on Sunday at Soldier Field.
''I think it's normal inside the building right now,'' Cutler said. ''The guys are as business as usual. We've had good meetings so far. The guys are attentive. I think the week off really helped everybody kind of rejuvenate, and get their legs back. It's gonna be a fun game on Sunday.''
Cutler said the bye week will be a benefit.
''Just to sit back and watch the games and not have that grind of the week,'' he said. ''I think that takes a toll on you week after week; just grinding, and coming in and having to physically prepare. So to get that week off I think was big for this team.''
A reporter reminded Cutler that he said last week he doesn't watch the playoffs games. So what is it? Do you watch the playoff games or don't you?
''I said you could watch the games. I didn't say I watch the games,'' Cutler responded. ''You've got to listen.''
Cutler had one of his poorest games of the season in a 23-20 loss to the Seahawks at Soldier Field on Oct. 17. Playing for the first time since suffering a concussion against the Giants two weeks prior, he was 17-of-39 for 290 yards, no touchdown and no interceptions for a 69.4 passer rating. Much of the yardage came after the catch. And he was sacked six times, as the Bears were fooled by the Seahawks' blitzes.
''These guys are a little bit different of a team with their blitzes and stuff,'' Cutler said. ''They're more safety-oriented then some of the nickel stuff. So we've got to get a good feel for what they're gonna do in the pass game. They've calmed down a little bit since that week that we've played them. But we've got to prepare for anything because they've got nothing to lose in this game. Everyone, you're one and done. So they could show us anything.''
Cutler said the Seahawks are an improved team since that first matchup. But he seemed to indicate that the previous experience will benefit the Bears.
''It's the same players, same system, same scheme,'' he said. ''You get a good indication of what they want to do against us. They had a bye week before they played us, so they had a little bit more time to draw some stuff up. But you can definitely tell from the week we played them to where they're at now they're a much improved team.
This will be Cutler's first playoff game in five NFL seasons. In fact, this is the first winning team he's played on since high school.
''It's been fun to be on a veteran team like this that has kind of been there and done it, and be around that group,'' he said, ''and get Mike Martz in here and kind of reinvent this offense with these guys. It's been a fun ride.''
But he wasn't about to be lured into introspection. He was asked if this season's success has changed outside perspective of him.
''I don't know. I don't worry about that,'' he said.