By Vaughn McClure, Chicago Tribune –
CHICAGO — As Jay Cutler exited the practice field Monday, the Bears quarterback apparently was oblivious to the comments made by teammate D.J. Moore hours earlier.
“What did D.J. say?” Cutler asked before disappearing down a hallway.
It’s hard to imagine Moore’s words didn’t circulate among the players before practice. The nickel back is not one to bite his tongue, and his statements likely echoed the feelings of others within the organization.
Moore was critical of Cutler’s behavior during Thursday night’s loss to the Packers in Green Bay, when Cutler berated left tackle J’Marcus Webb near the sideline then gave Webb a slight shove for emphasis. Cutler was sacked seven times in a 23-10 loss.
“Is it unfair to criticize Jay right now? Shoot, it’s unfair for him to be like that toward J’Marcus,” Moore said. “In every game in every sport, there’s always somebody who has a tough day. For you to come off on the sideline, once you holler at him, it makes it seem like (Webb) is the only reason.
“I don’t feel for Cut. He knows what he was doing. I don’t think you do that. If you have a problem with (Webb), maybe do that in the locker room or something. It’s like bad-mouthing someone in the media. It’s just weird.”
When given the short version of Moore’s indirect lecture, Cutler declined to comment. He seems destined to address the topic either during his Tuesday radio show or his weekly Wednesday news conference at Halas Hall. It remains unclear whether Cutler apologized to Webb.
Webb addressed the matter in a statement given to the Tribune on Monday night: “I am concentrating on being a better player while continuing to be a loyal teammate for our organization, and always striving to be a better man. I appreciate the concern, but there is football on Sunday.”
Although Lovie Smith vehemently supported Cutler after Monday’s practice, the coach didn’t exactly scold Moore for speaking out. In fact, Smith endorsed his defensive back’s freedom of speech.
“I have no problem with any of our guys … I have a problem with a ‘teammate said’ or ‘source said,’ ” Smith said. “But if you put your name behind something and you want to voice your opinion, you can voice it.”
Smith declined to discuss the Cutler-Webb incident directly no matter how many ways the question was phrased.
“It’s pretty simple: I like Jay Cutler and everything that he is,” Smith said. “And I am not trying to trade any of our players. The week before, you didn’t hear an awful lot of this stuff. We were talking about how good we were and how we were playing. So we’ll get back to that, where the focus is on the play on the football field.”
Smith said the loss to the Packers was a team failure and “don’t try to point out one guy.” Moore agreed with that assessment as it related to Webb.
“If I was J’Marcus, shoot … it wouldn’t have (gone) down like that,” Moore said. “You just can’t … then when (Cutler) shoved him and stuff, man.”
Monday wasn’t the first time Moore offered an honest opinion of his fellow Vanderbilt Commodore. Last October, Moore told the Tribune this about Cutler: “The first year, to me personally, he was an (expletive). There’s no way to sugarcoat it. Some days, he was good. But some days, he was in his own world.”
The Bears believe they have a quarterback in Cutler who is on the cusp of being among the league’s elite passers. But they also realize he can be temperamental and tough to deal with, at times.
“He is what he is,” Moore said. “He’s always been that way, so I wouldn’t expect him to change.”