Browns Daily Wrap: Cutler as quarterback

Posted Dec 12, 2013

On Thursday’s edition of “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford,” co-hosts Vic Carucci and Nathan Zegura spoke about the unpopularity of “shutting players down” for the season as well as the challenge that the Browns are going to face against the Chicago Bears. Jim Donovan and Doug Dieken, from the PNC Bank Cleveland Browns Radio Network, joined Vic and Nathan for the Roundtable discussion to talk about Jay Cutler being named the starting quarterback for Sunday’s game and how that might benefit the Browns.

Brad Biggs, from the Chicago Tribune, joined Vic and Nathan to give an inside look at the Bears and their decision to start Cutler over Josh McCown, despite McCown’s excellent play. Jamir Howerton, from, went inside the locker room with defensive lineman Billy Winn to get his perspective on how they are preparing for Sunday’s game.

Former Browns center Dave Wohlabaugh joined Vic as he expressed the importance of keeping current center Alex Mack on the team and the impact he has for the offensive line. Je’Rod Cherry rounded out the show to give us his opinion on the Bears’ quarterback situation and how the Browns should prepare for Cutler’s style of play.

Here are some highlights:

Nathan Zegura: “I think this situation in Washington is ridiculous. These guys are paid to play football and it’s a part of the game. There is no scenario that exists in the world that I would even consider shutting Josh Gordon or any member of this team down. That’s not how the NFL works. …It’s going to be all hands on deck against the Bears team. There is not one thing that their offense does not do well. They can throw deep, they are great with their intermediate routes, they take away your top receiver, they can run the ball, check down and throw the ball. This is a team that presents a complete package, and I would argue that this is the most complete offense the Browns have seen all year.”

Vic Carucci: “I have a problem with the topic of shutting players down and we are seeing it come to light in Washington. Saying you have nothing to play for, therefore you will shut down a guy who is of value to you seems absurd. The Browns, being in a similar position, should have no interest in this talk. If you are healthy enough to play, then you play. That is what you are paid to do. …The game on Sunday is going to be big on all accounts, but I think the biggest challenge will be for the Browns’ defense. Chicago’s offense has an explosiveness that the Browns defense hasn’t seen all season. The key to their offense is their running game, especially with Matt Forte. Shutting him down early will be necessary for the Browns’ defense. It will be interesting to see how the Browns’ defense will handle an offense with such extensive talent in multiple areas of the game.”

Jim Donovan: “The Browns have to finish; they just can’t finish and I know it’s that ‘old word,’ but they need to finish. I would like to see Jay Cutler back there. Anytime you’ve been off the amount of time he’s been off, it’s a good thing for the opposing team. If the Browns can handle them early and get them off to a slow start, I would think there would be a sense of doubt in the Chicago sideline with their decision to play Cutler. This is a big game for them, so the Browns’ defense needs to get him flustered and shut him down early.”

Doug Dieken: “I want to see Cutler play, there has to be rust there. McCown is probably one of the hottest quarterbacks in the league right now. This team used to be carried by their defense and it has quickly switched gears to make them have a pretty complete package. The Browns are going to need to get (Chris) Ogbonnaya the ball. He’s a blue-collar back and will give you everything he’s got. You have to run against the Bears.”

Brad Biggs: “Cutler will be the starting quarterback, after missing the previous four games. I think it’s a risky move when you consider how hot McCown has been, but they are fully committed to Cutler and that has been the plan all along. When you consider the starting quarterback gets all the reps, it’s obvious that (Cutler) has a rapport with (wide receivers) Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, and will most likely come out and click with them. Then again, he has to come and play well because McCown has been hot while he’s been in and this game means a lot for them. The Bears are on pace to have one of the worst run defenses in franchise history. They are getting crushed up front and nothing seems to be working. They have had their ups and downs and have done their best with all the injuries, but it’s important to keep that going and try to remain even-keeled.”

Dave Wohlabaugh: “It is very critical that the Browns keep Alex Mack. What he does in terms of play-calling and how he gets out of the pocket, you can’t underestimate his impact on the offense. If you throw a young guard in the mix, it messes up your running game. Those guys may not be used to the system you are trying to run. …Josh Gordon’s speed is freakish. Until you see his size and physical blessings, a guy that big shouldn’t be able to run as fast as he can.”

Billy Winn: “This week, we are really working on going back to the fundamentals and building blocks. I know we will have our handfuls with Forte; he’s able to hurt you down the field and between tackles. He’s the kind of guy who can go out there and do just about anything. The main thing is going out and just executing. Last week, we were able to execute, but we made come critical mistakes. We just need to get back to the basics. We have the greatest fans in the world and one of the best fans bases I’ve ever been around. I encourage every fan to get out there and support us. We love having as many people at the game as possible.”

Je'Rod Cherry: “It is good news that Cutler will be playing. He’s rusty and needs to get his timing back, plus he’ll be in the cold and will have to get his bearings straight. I just don’t see how you sit McCown. When a guy is that hot and you are trying to get a playoff run, you don’t bench the guy who is doing the right things to get you there. The Browns need to get Cutler frustrated. He gets flustered easily so getting pressure on him will make him think twice. …I like that other players are comparing themselves to Josh Gordon. You know you are being respected in the league when guys start comparing their numbers to yours.”

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