OTAs Chat: FB Jason McKie

How much can Jay Cutler help the ground game for the Chicago Bears? Will Kevin Jones be a healthier and more stable second option behind Matt Forte? Nobody knows the answers to these questions like fullback Jason McKie. Here's what McKie told Bear Report after OTAs in this exclusive interview.

John Crist: Everybody is talking about the acquisition of Jay Cutler and what he can do to help the passing game around here. But how much does his presence alone help you guys in the running game?

Jason McKie: He's going to help us a lot because teams won't be able to stack the box now. They won't be able to bring down that safety in the box. The safety is going to have to be back in coverage to play the pass, and that's going to open lanes for our running backs. It's definitely a good thing having him here. It's going to work out good for us both ways.

JC: It seems like Cutler is a little indecisive with the football at times. How long will it be before he truly knows the ins and outs of the whole offense, and is there anything you can do as a fullback to speed up that process for him?

JM: He knows the offense. Sometimes, things aren't there. Sometimes, the defense has good coverage. He knows the offense. Our job as running backs is make sure we protect him, make sure he stays upright, and make sure we're that outlet for him to dump the ball off to.

JC: After Kyle Orton went down this past season, the passing game was never the same as he struggled to come back healthy. How much more often did that aforementioned safety creep down into the box the second half of last year?

McKie thinks Jones will be healthy again in '09.
Jeff Roberson/AP Images

JM: We've been seeing it for a few years. We've had a pretty decent run game here, so a lot of teams have been stacking the box against us. They know we're a proud running team, so they bring that safety down in the box and try to stop the run. But having Jay Cutler here will definitely change that up a little bit.

JC: Matt Forte was terrific in 2008, but you guys need a secondary option to emerge in '09. Kevin Jones appears to be all the way back from the knee problems he's had in the past. How much better does he look to you?

JM: He definitely looks way better. He's more confident. Coming off the type of injury he had last year, you could tell he was a little timid. But now he's back to himself, and I think he's going to have a big year as well.

JC: Thursday is the final day of the offseason program. Do you have any plans to get away from the game for a while and do other things?

JM: You try to get away. But at the same time, you can't get away too much because you know you've got training camp coming up. So you've definitely still got to maintain some type of workout to get your body ready for training camp. But it's also good to spend a little time with your family before you go away for a while.

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John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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