While nearly everyone viewing from outside believes Jay Cutler could have handled a poor performance from the Chicago Bears offensive line better than he did, Cutler didn't make any apologies for yelling at his linemen coming off the field and on the sidelines during the Bears' loss to the Green Bay Packers Thursday night.
Cutler could be seen on national television berating his teammates, especially left tackle J'Marcus Webb, but that didn't seem to bother Cutler, who defended his actions in his post-game interview.
"I'm not going to just walk to the sideline and act like everything's OK. It's just not going to happen," Cutler said.
"I care about this. This isn't a hobby for me. I am not doing this for my health. I am trying to win football games and get first downs. When we're not doing the little things or not doing things the right way consistently, I'm going to say something. If they want a quarterback that doesn't care, they can get somebody else."
Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil, who plays the same position as Webb, said he didn't see the Thursday night game, but he had certainly heard about it by Friday.
"I heard he was getting after his left tackle. There was a little yelling going on over there," said Kalil, who said he hasn't been in that situation before – at least not in a nationally televised game.
"I think maybe in the (USC) scrimmage, Matt Barkley tried to get after me a little bit. I said, ‘Calm down. I think I've got the hang of it a little bit. I'm in charge of this O-line.' Other than that, never really had any problems. I've been on teams where quarterbacks communicate pretty well and we're all on the same page, so we never really ran into that problem."
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said it isn't just quarterbacks that he talks to about being in the spotlight. As Vikings fans know full well over the years, plenty of other players can be caught on film going through a tirade with teammates. Brett Favre and Brad Childress were caught in a tense sideline moment, Cris Carter unloaded on CB Jimmy Hitchcock once and several other incidents have made it into the spotlight over the years.
"We talk to all of our players about interacting with their teammates and how we want to do things. We talk to everybody on our team about how to conduct themselves with one another and how we want to settle situations, whatever they may be, and then you just hope that in the heat of the battle, when emotions are sometimes out of control, that we can find a way to control our emotions. We talk to all of our players, not just Christian (Ponder)," Frazier said.
Frazier, the head coach and former NFL player, knows that getting feedback from players on the field is important. But it is how that insight is presented and the perception that it conveys publicly that is the key.
"You want input from players. You want them to communicate what's going on on the field. That's a big deal as you're trying to make adjustments," Frazier said. "Some guys are more demonstrative than others. Different guys have different ways to communicate. What you don't want is, at least what we don't want on our team, is to see guys pointing fingers at one another. We don't want that, but we definitely want input about what they are seeing on the field. We encourage that."
Although the 6-foot-7, 308-pound Kalil could certainly handle himself against the quarterbacks of the NFL, he said it's never good to escalate the situation.
"I don't think you'd just want to snap just because it could only make things worse. You just kind of shrug it off," he said. "As quarterback, he's the leader of the offense, so he's the commander out there. I've never been in that situation so I honestly couldn't say how I'd handle myself, but just from observing that, if two people fire off, it only makes things worse. Let one guy yell and take it.
"I think playing football my entire life I'm pretty good about in one ear and out the other if someone's mad. I'm pretty good at handling myself in those situations."
'OUT' ISN'T FOR SURE?
Kalil has a hard time believing that Colts linebacker Dwight Freeney really won't be playing Sunday, despite being listed as "out" on the injury report with a sprained ankle.
"I'm not even going to believe that. I'm going to wait until I get out on the field. That's just my mindset," Kalil said. "Once I get out on the field and I see he's not out there, then I'll believe it. My mindset is still that he's playing. Chances are that he's not. It's just going to help me out mentally, just prepare the same."
Kalil said Freeney would have mostly been lined up on Kalil's side of the field.
MOVING ON UP?
Frazier said CB A.J. Jefferson, acquired in a trade with Arizona on Sept. 1, could be familiar enough with the Vikings' defensive system to be active Sunday.
"We think he is just about there," Frazier said. "(We) feel like he's a lot more comfortable in what we're asking him to do. We have a very good chance for him being able to be up."
The Vikings' starting cornerbacks are Antoine Winfield and Chris Cook, with Josh Robinson getting most of the snaps in the nickel defense. Brandon Burton also played in five snaps Sunday.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
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