Cutler taking over at QB

Denver's Jay Cutler, the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to throw two touchdown passes in his first four starts, talks Broncos and 49ers and gives his takes on several subjects, including Sunday's game between the two teams at Denver's Invesco Field.

On the Broncos playing like a playoff berth is on the line in the last two weeks: "The last two or three games, we've felt like that. We knew we were going to have to win out to get a good spot in the playoffs and have a chance. So yeah, were confident right now. Were not taking the 49ers lightly. This is their last game, so they're going to come in here and give us all we have."

On how much he feels he has progressed: "A lot. Each game Ive felt more comfortable, more relaxed and more like I was just playing football. The first couple, I think I was thinking too much and wouldn't just react. Now, I feel comfortable. I think the coaches are starting to feel a little bit more comfortable."

On whether he expected to progress as quickly as he has: "Yeah, I knew it wasn't going to take long. Its hard to sit and watch football for 10, 11 weeks and then jump right into it and be perfect. Just the speed of the game and seeing things, making progressions, its hard to do. So I knew it was going to be a few games for me to get back in there and feel comfortable again."

On becoming the first rookie to throw multiple touchdown passes in his first four games: "I don't know. That wasn't the game plan going into it. I just got lucky a few times and had some opportunities to throw some touchdown passes, and guys made some great catches for me. So that's great."

On whether he's felt pressure during the playoff run: "Yeah, definitely. There's definitely a lot of pressure on me. There are a lot of veterans on our team that know their job and do it well. For me to step in as a rookie in the middle of the playoff race and be expected to play at that level right away, it was tough. But those guys were always positive with me, and they were confident and had my back. Whenever I messed up, a lot of the guys picked up the slack. So its been great working with these guys."

On whether having the game against San Francisco at home helps: "I guess. I think were going to play well wherever were at. We went down to Arizona and won that game. This team knows what's at stake, and were going to go out and were going to play. If it was there, we'd play the same way."

On whether the coaches play calling has become more aggressive with each of his starts: "The first start, I think we did some stuff that I wasn't that great at. And it was my first start, so it was going to be a little bit rocky. The coaches had to feel me out, and I had to feel them out as well just as far as play calling and what I like to do, what they used to do, and just trying to combine a little bit of both. So its been a little bit of give and take on both ends. The more successful I am and this offense is, the more Coach Shanahan's going to open it up and let us do more. That's been the case so far."

On defenses trying to confuse him: "That's NFL defenses. They're going to try to confuse any quarterback. Me, as a rookie, they're going to try to blitz a little bit more and come get me and see what happens. But the offensive line has done a great job protecting me for the most part. Most of those sacks have probably been my fault. But defense is defense. I think that's one of my strengths, being able to read things out and get rid of the ball."

On what challenges the 49ers defense presents: "They're a good defense. They're playing pretty good football, and they're going to give us their best shot. They're going to want to spoil what we've got going here. (I've) just got to be sound, protect the ball and get some touchdowns."

On whether he's gone to QB Jake Plummer to ask questions: "Jake's been great so far. Whenever Coach Shanahan made the decision, Jake was the first one that came to me and said nothing was going to change between me and him. He was going to help me out as much as possible. That's been the case. Since those first couple games, hes talked to the coaches about what I like and been there to help me make reads on and off the field, coming up to me and just started talking things through. So he's been great so far."

On his overall comfort level: "Of course I am. Having to sit and watch, and then get in the games, it was rough. Each game I get more comfortable, and get a little bit better."

On his progress from his first start: "Yes, we are winning ball games, so that's always going to help. I'm still doing some stuff that I shouldn't do and I am learning from it on the run. As far as seeing the field and making throws, and getting touchdowns we have improved."

On his responsibilities going toward the playoff push: "The last two weeks have been about that. We've had to win the last two to even have a shot at this one. Our mind set hasn't changed so far. We are taking it one game at a time and working hard."

On managing outside influences: "They've been pretty good to me so far. Even with the first two losses, they understood where I was coming from. Denver is crazy, we have great fans and the media is all over the football team. We have a lot of veterans on this team who have helped me out, and coached me in the right direction. I'm just trying to stay focused and prepare each week."

On working with Shanahan: "He's got an unbelievable offensive mind. He knows things that very few people do. It's very evident in game situations with some of the things he calls in crucial situations that always seem to work. Just having him on the sideline, being able to talk to him when I come off the field, and see what he saw compared to what I see has been a great help."

On coping with rookie pressures: "It adds pressure if you let it, but all the veterans on this team have been in a lot of situations like this and a lot of games that meant a lot like the playoffs and Super Bowls. I just realized that there is too much talent surrounding me to do it all by myself. I just go out and do my job, and everyone else takes up the slack."

On how his college experiences help him in the NFL: "I went through some tough times there in college and we didn't win a lot of games. When I knew I was going to start, I knew it was going to be a little bit rough for the first couple of games. I just had to stick it out, get better each week, and let the guys around me help me out."

On if he charts the other rookie QBs: "It's tough because everyone plays on Sunday. I was able to play them in both the pre-season and obviously we played the Cardinals recently. I've kept track of those guys, and like myself they have gotten better each week. Vince Young is playing well right now, and unfortunately Matt Leinart got hurt last week, but he was getting better as well."

On if the other QBs play motivates him: "No, not at all. They are on different teams, and not even in our conference, so I don't worry about that."

On if he was an Elway fan growing up: "I was an Elway fan, but as far as talking to him and getting advice from him, that hasn't happened yet."

On taking the starting job from Jake Plummer: "It was different and a little bit awkward, but Jake was a professional from the start. When I first got here, he said that they brought me in for a reason, but I'm going to teach you everything I can. When I got the starting job, he and I became good friends and he told me that nothing else was going to change."

On how he felt the overall process would go: "We knew it was going to be a process going into it. It wasn't going to be me going against Seattle, me throwing for 400 yards and us winning by 30 points. It was going to be tough at first, but there are so many great players on this team it was going to be a matter of time before we turned it around."

On the 49ers defense: "Yes, we have started to look at them, and put together a game plan. We are going to get their best shot, with it being their last game, and our shot to get into the playoffs. They are going to give us everything they got, and we have to take car of ourselves, and go out and play good football."

On what jumps out at him about the 49ers defense: "They have a good defense. They present some problems for us that we haven't seen in a while and we are going to have to address those in practice. As far as their defense, we are going to go out and do what we have done all year and see what happens."


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