Redskins

Cutler: Bears may have to tone down offense

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Cutler: Bears may have to tone down offense

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) Jay Cutler might need a cheat sheet so he knows which players are lining up this week for the Chicago Bears.

They host Seattle on Sunday and figure to have a different look, particularly on the offensive line, after being hit hard by injuries.

They got Cutler back after a one-game absence due to a concussion, only to lose a slew of players in a win over Minnesota last week.

That includes stars Devin Hester (concussion) along with Matt Forte and Charles Tillman (ankle injuries), but they were dangerously thin in the trenches after losing starting guards Lance Louis and Chris Spencer to knee injuries.

They made some moves this week, most notably signing former Pro Bowl player Andre Gurode to add depth, and figure to have some different rotation on the line. Cutler believes that will impact the play calling.

``We just have to be careful what we ask those guys to do, make sure they're on the same page and protect them,'' he said Wednesday. ``You don't want to do a lot of (seven-step drops) and chuck the ball 40, 50 times. They're not programmed for that. They're in new positions. Some guys haven't even played guard. We just have to be smart with it.''

The line appears to be the biggest concern at the moment.

The Bears have a capable backup for kick returner Hester in Eric Weems, and at running back in Michael Bush if Forte can't go, although it looks like he might be able to play.

``He looks fine,'' offensive coordinator Mike Tice said after Forte practiced on a limited basis. ``He's going to be OK, I'm sure. I hope.''

Tillman had no noticeable limp even though he was one of six players who did not practice Wednesday.

As for the line, the Bears shook it up following a brutal performance the previous Monday at San Francisco. Chilo Rachal wound up leaving the team during the week leading up to the Vikings game, so the Bears went with Spencer at left guard.

Now, his status is unclear. If he can't go, Edwin Williams could start.

The Bears know they'll be without Louis after he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. That injury happened early in the third quarter on a blind-side hit to the head by Minnesota's Jared Allen as the Vikings' Antoine Winfield returned an interception.

The Bears were then forced to go with Gabe Carimi at right guard after he had been replaced in the lineup at right tackle by Jonathan Scott, and it appears he's going to get another look there this week.

``As of now, that's where it is,'' he said.

Carimi had never played the position but did well under the circumstances after struggling at tackle.

``Maybe this is a position for him,'' Cutler said.

Either way, tight end Matt Spaeth said, ``We've got to make sure we do a good job of putting them in position to do well and not ask a lot of crazy stuff out of them. You've got Gabe that's never played right guard.''

And you had the Bears still upset about, not to mention surprised by, Allen's hit on Louis.

``He's always been a competitor, a good sport,'' receiver Brandon Marshall said. ``So that shocked me, seeing that play. I know he's aggressive and plays physical so I wasn't surprised by him cracking back, but to launch at Lance's head, that was a little shocking.''

Cutler also called it out of character for Allen and added he was caught off-guard by it.

``He did all the things you shouldn't do,'' Cutler said.

As for what the Bears need to do this week, Cutler said it's clear. Committing to the run is crucial. They did it last week, carrying 39 times, and that opened up things on the outside even though they finished with just 113 yards rushing.

Cutler got rid of the ball quickly. He threw on the run. He was able to sidestep defenders and get to the outside, creating opportunities.

``Big plays come out of that,'' Cutler said. ``But you've got to be able to run the ball. We stuck to the run the whole game and that kind of opened up things on the outside.''

Notes: Besides Tillman, Hester and Spencer, LB Lance Briggs (ankle), TE Kellen Davis (ankle) and WR Alshon Jeffery (knee) did not practice.

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Former Giants OL Mitch Petrus dies of heat stroke at 32

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Former Giants OL Mitch Petrus dies of heat stroke at 32

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Offensive lineman Mitch Petrus, a walk-on at Arkansas who went on to a three-year NFL career that included a Super Bowl win with the New York Giants, has died. He was 32.

Pulaski County Coroner Gerone Hobbs said Petrus died of heat stroke Thursday night at a North Little Rock hospital after working outside that day at his family's shop about 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of Little Rock.

Like much of the country, Arkansas is in the grips of an intense heat wave. In Lonoke County, where Petrus was working, the heat index on Thursday made it feel like it was than 100 degrees (38 Celsius) outside, according to the National Weather Service.

During his college career, Petrus played alongside Razorback greats Darren McFadden and Felix Jones and later earned all-Southeastern Conference honors.

He was drafted by the Giants in the fifth round in 2010 and got into 11 regular-season games his rookie year, with no starts. In his second season, Petrus played in six regular-season games, starting three of them, as the Giants went on to win the Super Bowl. He played six games for the Giants the following season before being released. He was picked up by the New England and played two games for the Patriots before being released. Tennessee then signed him and he played two games for the Titans before the team released him the following March.

After retiring from the NFL in 2013, Petrus returned to Arkansas, where he was well-known and often appeared as a studio analyst and sidelines reporter during televised high school football games. He also had an interest in politics, serving as Republican state Sen. Dismang's chief of staff during the Legislature's 2018 session, when Dismang was the chamber's president.

"With his energy and how positive he was, he was just a perfect fit for that session," Dismang said Friday.

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Michael Vick thinks Dwayne Haskins is in the perfect situation with the Redskins

Michael Vick thinks Dwayne Haskins is in the perfect situation with the Redskins

Though Michael Vick was drafted first overall by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2001 NFL Draft, he didn't immediately become the starter. Instead, he spent most of his rookie season watching and getting accustomed to the NFL before assuming the starting job in 2002 and launching his exciting career. 

Rather than being thrown right into the fire, Vick was given time to learn and transition to the pros.

Now the newest No. 7 to enter the league, Dwayne Haskins, could find himself in a similar situation. With only one year of real experience in college, the Redskins could opt to let Haskins continue to adjust from the sideline and work under the veteran passers on the roster. 

To Vick, that path will make the transition much smoother.

"It's not difficult at all when you have an opportunity to sit behind guys like Case Keenum, who has a ton of experience and knows how to play the game. [Or] Colt McCoy," Vick said Friday on The Sports Junkies when asked about how hard the jump to the NFL will be for Haskins.

While Haskins will most likely take the starting role in the long run, Vick is fine with Keenum or McCoy taking the starting spot to begin the season.

Seeing that Haskins could benefit from the tutelage of the quarterback room in a situation where he's not being put under maximum pressure, Vick strongly believes Haskins progression will be better if it comes naturally.

The now-NFL analyst even mentioned that he talked to head coach Jay Gruden at a golf event recently and stated that Gruden told him, "It's going to take some time" with Haskins. That may not be what some fans want to hear, but Vick knows that time behind the veterans may be exactly what Haskins needs.

"It's not like he's been rushed out there to play. He has some time to develop," Vick said. "That's the most important thing for him right now."

"That's very fortunate for Dwayne to be in that position," he added.

Even as a high-profile pick coming into the league Vick's ascension to starter took time, and that decision seemed to work out pretty well for him.

The Redskins have an opportunity to do the same with Haskins, letting him ease into the NFL and take in everything he can from two veterans. According to Vick, it's the perfect scenario for a rookie QB to be in.

"You get to soak up everything, you get to gain the whole experience without having to be under pressure," Vick said. "That makes it extremely easy when you step out there for the first time."

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