Jay Cutler talk:
• NBC’s Rodney Harrison conveyed a familiar criticism of Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler last week when he said, by phone: “We’ve see the way he’s acted in the past and conducted himself where his teammates would say that he’s selfish, that he’s not a leader.”
But Cutler has not left that impression at all on Dolphins teammates.
Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry spoke repeatedly Tuesday of how well Cutler has handled himself with players and coaches.
“He's here to win; you can see that the way he handles himself in the building,” Landry said, noting it’s impressive “the way he communicates with his teammates and the coaching staff, just the way he's handled himself and the way he came in and communicated with us so well from the o-line to the receivers to the running backs. It's really circulated down to the team. It's allowed us to develop a chemistry that is going to allow us to do some special things this season.”
And on the field? “He's a stud,” Landry said.
“He threw a couple of post balls today that kind of got the team fired up and locked in. Honestly, there's not a matchup on the field that he's not willing to take, where he can pick where he wants to throw the ball. He is going to put it in the right spot for us. Having a guy like Jay is going to be good for us.”
• Good protection is important for all quarterbacks, but it’s particularly pronounced for Cutler.
In 2015, under then-Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase, Cutler had a 42.6 passer rating under pressure, 99.8 when kept clean.
In five games last season, it was 42.7 under pressure, 141.3 otherwise.
And then there’s this: Cutler has the fifth-most fumbles among all active NFL players, with 89 in 139 games (one every 1.5 games), including 12 and 8 in 2014 and 2015 (when he played 15 games each year) and six in just five games last season.
By comparison, Tom Brady has 106 fumbles in 237 games (one every 2.2 games).
Ben Roethlisberger has one less fumble than Cutler (88) in 46 fewer games. Philip Rivers has only two more fumbles than Cutler in 41 more games.
And we’ve seen Cutler fumble both in games and practice during this training camp and preseason. So that’s a concern.
The good news: “This is the best team he's played with by far,” CBS’ Rich Gannon said.
Cutler was in no mood Tuesday to discuss his legacy and declined to say if this is the best offensive cast he’s played with.
• Cutler loves running the no-huddle and Landry said he hopes that Miami runs more of that.
“It's part of what we do here,” Cutler said. But.. “if we are going three and out, we need to reassess and maybe slow it down.”
Said Landry: “We are hoping to [run more no huddle]. Whatever puts us in the best situation to run more effective plays, not allow the defense to substitute as much. Jay loves to go on the ball so that's something we're trying to emphasize a little bit. That's helped us with our conditioning.”
• Of Cutler initially retiring and not signing until August, Gase said: “I think the spring and missing that first part of training camp probably helped him. When you get there at 34 years old, the more balls you throw, it kind of wears on you as the year goes on when you start in the spring. It seems like he’s fresh and excited, ready to go.”
• Two starting jobs remain undetermined: Davon Godchaux vs. Jordan Phillips at defensive tackle (Godchaux said Tuesday they’re continuing to split first-team reps) and Byron Maxwell vs. Alterraun Verner at cornerback.
Asked if he will start and if it matters to him, Maxwell said: "Of course it matters to me to start. Yeah, I'll be out there."
The team depth chart, not always accurate, lists Phillips and Maxwell as starters for the Tampa Bay game, if it’s played this week.
Here’s the latest on how Sunday’s game will be impacted by Hurricane Irma.
Here’s my early Tuesday Dolphins notebook with items on the young cornerbacks and more.
Here’s my Tuesday six-pack of Canes notes.