Chicago Sun-Times

Nobody complains about Cutler's footwork when he runs

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For a guy who is best known for the strength of his arm, Bears' quarterback Jay Cutler did serious damage with his feet in last week's divisional playoff win against Seattle.

Cutler's ability to avoid pressure by extending a play or keeping a drive alive could play a critical role in Sunday's NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field.

Cutler gained a career-high 43 yards and became the first quarterback since Otto Graham to score two touchdowns passing and two rushing in a postseason game.

"His decision to take off and go without hesitation is big," offensive coordinator Mike Martz said. "Obviously, with his footwork and his speed, he makes plays with his feet. I've not had a quarterback like that before. He's made some big plays for us and kept us in games and put us in position to score.

"Last week, we had a couple plays for him in the game plan to run. When you're in the playoffs, you can do those things, obviously, that you wouldn't do during the season because they are dangerous. He's just such a gifted athlete with the ball in his hand. He's a threat. The more you look at him on tape the more you realize he has some real speed."

Martz said he neither encourages nor discourages Cutler to run and doesn't advise him about when he should dive or slide to avoid hits.

"I've had that same attitude all year," Cutler said when asked if he would take more risks given the magnitude of Sunday's game. "If we've got the first down, I'll try to slide. If I have to get it or get hit or something like that, I'm going to do it. Whatever it takes at this point."

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on January 21, 2011 4:20 PM.

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