Cutler says he’s having fun, Dolphins doing OK
Taking hits while leading a struggling offense, QB says he’s ‘having fun’ and Dolphins have plenty of time to turn it around.
The quarterback’s numbers haven’t been impressive, but he points out Miami is 2-2, and “we’re still in a good position.”
DAVIE — Jay Cutler insists he’s having fun. It sure doesn’t look like it, but he keeps saying so.
He’s been taking a lot of hits, and his numbers through four games are pretty rough: 62.6 completion percentage (17th in the NFL), 176.5 yards per game (29th), three touchdowns, three interceptions and a 74.8 passer rating (30th).
Despite that, he’s still happy he came out of retirement to play for the Dolphins.
“I am, I am having fun,” he said after practice Thursday. “It’s a really good locker room, a good coaching staff, great organization. They do anything under the sun to make you a successful football player.
“There’s a lot of bright sides of being here, and at the end of the day we’re 2-2. We’re still in a good position, and we’ve got to feel good about that. We’ve just got to be more consistent. We’ve just got to go back to work, do everything the right way on and off the field, and if we keep doing that, it’s going to come together.”
The offense has been so poor (three touchdowns in four games and a league-low average of 231.3 yards) that it’s easy to forget the Dolphins are .500. One problem for them, though, is that the first quarter of the season represented a relatively light set of opponents on this year’s
schedule. The two opponents they beat are a combined 3-7.
Miami’s road gets much tougher starting Sunday at Atlanta. Cutler sees that and senses some urgency for the offense to get things straightened out.
“Offensively, if we can’t get it together, it could go the other way pretty quickly,” he said. “But there’s a lot of football left. There’s a whole three quarters for us to go out there and figure things out and play better ball.”
As far as continuing to absorb this physical toll at 34, Cutler said his body is holding up well. That’s a good sign for the Dolphins after he spent most of the offseason doing little more than playing pickup basketball at Vanderbilt.
“I think not doing OTAs and not doing a lot of that other stuff, my body is still pretty fresh,” he said. “I think once you get above 30, those days, even though they’re kind of low-impact, start adding up. Your body is so twisted up. So I feel good.”
Left tackle Laremy Tunsil, the offensive lineman responsible for protecting Cutler’s blind side, had an interesting take on an adjustment that must take place when a first-year quarterback like Cutler steps into a huddle. Tunsil’s message to Cutler? Trust us.
“The quarterback has to trust us because he’s new here,” Tunsil said. “It’s just more of him trusting us. And it comes with time. The more trust he has in us, the better we’ll do.”
Cutler has been under pressure. But he’s also made skittish decisions at times.
Sometimes Cutler has held the ball too long. Sometimes Cutler has rushed a throw, without setting his feet, resulting in inaccuracy.
Cutler’s comments seemed in line with Tunsil’s assessment.
“Yes, it’s something that you’ve just got to always fight,” Cutler said of rushed footwork. “You’ve always got to fight that and just trust that those guys are going to give you a good pocket, set the edge and let you work in there. So it’s that constant battle of when to leave, when to stay.”
Cutler has been sacked 10 times in four games.
By comparison, Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore was sacked once in four games last season.
Though Branden Albert was traded, Tunsil was projected as an upgrade at left tackle. And the offensive linemen are, generally, the same.
Though Tunsil has steadily improved each game this season, the opener was a struggle. Tunsil was beaten by Melvin Ingram and Chris McCain for sacks. It appeared in that game that Tunsil was going to need some time to readjust to tackle after playing guard last season.
“Of course I haven’t been happy with myself,” Tunsil said. “I don’t like giving up sacks. And I don’t like messing up at all. I’m so hard on myself, any little mistake I want to fix. I want to be perfect. But that’s the beauty of it. You can’t be perfect. It’s something you strive for.”
Coach Adam Gase said Tunsil played better in games 3 and 4 after playing not as well in Games 1 and 2.
“The thing that we have to keep remembering is this is his first year playing left tackle in the NFL,” Gase said. “It’s a tough position. You’re going against good rushers week in and week out. There is no small school you’re going to play. There’s no breather game for you in the NFL. Every game is going to be a tough game. It’s just going to be that constant preparation, making sure that day in and day out, you’re working to get better and when you hit Sunday, you’ve just got to have the mindset that it’s not going to be easy.”
‘But there’s a lot of football left. There’s a whole three quarters for us to go out there and figure things out and play better ball.’ — Jay Cutler
Quarterback Jay Cutler (right, with running back Jay Ajayi during practice for the recent game in London) says the Dolphins are still in a “good position” at 2-2 despite an offense that has totaled 37 points all season.