So NBC used comments from the Sun-Times' Mike Mulligan and Brad Biggs, along with other Chicago media, to paint a picture of a season of great expectations -- both for Cutler and the Bears -- falling flat on its face during its ''Football Night in America'' broadcast Sunday.
''We requested an interview with Cutler this week, but the organization declined to speak with us and [said] that it was time to respond by playing better,'' Bob Costas said during NBC's telecast. ''Hard to argue with that.''
If nothing else, the Bears were trying something different. In their first two games this season on Sunday night, Cutler threw a combined six interceptions in losses to the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons.
Still, the decision to rebuff Costas became a point of conversation this week after the Sun-Times ran an exclusive story Thursday. Smith said the Bears were trying to focus on football.
Costas said during the week that he wasn't offended by the Bears' decision and acknowledged that considering the way Cutler had been playing, any comment from the Bears would add more fuel to the fire.
But NBC still got its story, relying on quotes from those who cover the Bears daily.
''This quarterback was supposed to be able to levitate up over the line, and he would float away if there was any kind of problem,'' Mulligan told the network. ''Nobody -- I mean nobody -- expected it to go this way. It's almost now like a tidal wave has turned against him. If they can't get a quarterback right that came to them as a 26-year-old Pro Bowler ... that could be a dagger that this franchise doesn't recover from.''
NBC also addressed Cutler's image as an aloof and somewhat nonchalant gunslinger
''I don't think that plays real well in Chicago, and it certainly hasn't played well nationally,'' Biggs said.
The only quote from Cutler came from a postgame news conference.