This one is harder to dismiss as just a preseason game, as old friends, new enemies and a national TV audience spice up the Bears’ longest dress rehearsal Sunday night in Denver. Jay Cutler returns to play in Denver for the first time since being traded to the Bears for Kyle Orton and draft picks.
This one is harder to dismiss as just a preseason game, as old friends, new enemies and a national TV audience spice up the Bears’ longest dress rehearsal Sunday night in Denver.
“Knowing it’s on TV and knowing it’s with Cutler and Kyle, there is more riding on it,” backup cornerback/safety Corey Graham said.
Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler and Denver’s Kyle Orton, who swapped teams in a block-buster trade in April, downplayed the meeting.
“All my focus has been on the Broncos and getting this team ready to win,” Orton said on a conference call.
“It’s a preseason game,” Orton said, “but obviously there’s going to be a little bit of drama wrapped around it.”
Orton has completed 27 of 42 passes for 271 yards in two preseason games for Denver (0-2), but has also thrown four interceptions to spark boos.
“I loved my time playing the way we did in Chicago,” Orton said, “but we’ve got a lot of great weapons here and I’m going to be sure to try to use them.”
The third preseason game is when teams take their longest look at their starters, traditionally playing them well into the third quarter. This is a chance for Chicago (1-1) to take another step with its defense, which has allowed just three field goals and no touchdowns in the first half of two games, but now faces a quarterback who knows everything the Bears do.
“He’s a smart guy,” Graham said. “He knows the system. He knows how to beat us, so we have to make sure we’re in the right place and try to trick him a little bit.”
Safety Kevin Payne said the game will boil down to execution, not inside knowledge.
“You can know anyone as good as you want to, but if you slip and fall or get out of position, you can give up a big play,” Payne said.
Besides, Orton with the Broncos might not be the same quarterback he was with the Bears.
“Kyle here, it was don’t make too many mistakes,” defensive end Alex Brown said. “Their offense maybe requires him to be more aggressive than when he was here.”
Or maybe not.
“He’s going to make safe throws,” Brown said. “He’s going to get rid of the ball. But if he pumps the ball and comes back to a second or third read, we’ve got to get there as a defensive line.
“Kyle is a smart player. He knows us. He knows that we’re going to be coming. So he better get rid of the ball.”
Matt Trowbridge can be reached at (815) 987-1383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.