Miami Dolphins’ Albert Wilson not afraid to replace Jarvis Landry

Albert Wilson is an energetic, enthusiastic teammate. (Getty Images)

Albert Wilson brought up Jarvis Landry without even being asked.

Wilson is not afraid of this challenge; he embraces it.

“It was a great opportunity,” Wilson said Friday about why he chose Miami in free agency. “We had some other options and when we lined everything up to see what was the best thing for me, Landry did a great job down here. They split their ways and it was a great opportunity for me.”

Wilson probably won’t lead the NFL in receptions. But after meeting with Dolphins coach Adam Gase, he sensed a bigger role.

“Coach Gase is a great guy,” Wilson said. “Exciting. The energy I got from him when we first met brought some butterflies to me, just how excited he was. I’m looking forward to putting in a lot of work with him.”

Wilson is small (5-foot-9) but electric. He also should deliver some of the on- and off-field energy Landry did.

“That’s just who I am,” Wilson said. “It comes with me. As soon as I wake up in the morning the energy is there. It helps the offense and the defense. You’re going to get a dog out there that’s ready to put up a battle.”

A former coach has described Wilson, the former Kansas City Chief, as an “Energizer Bunny.”

Wilson views the receiving corps, with DeVante Parker, Kenny Stills and Danny Amendola, as a strength.

“Yeah, definitely,” he said. “This receiver corps is straight up flying. We’re going to put a stretch on some defenses and it’s going to be crazy. The speed just shows itself. Danny is a straight-up dog, very similar to myself in the slot. You can count on him and me.”

Wilson was not afraid to compliment the departed Landry.

“He’s another dog,” Wilson said. “I love watching him play. He’s a great receiver with great hands and definitely saucy. As just a football player and a fan of the game I’m excited to see what he does in the future.”

And Wilson is also not afraid to outline his strengths.

“I’m pretty versatile,” Wilson said. “I can stretch the field downfield. I can get the ball in my hands quick and make things happen. I have experience in the slot, outside, whatever they need.”

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Why Jarvis Landry was intense, fiery and emotional – at dodgeball

AFC receiver Jarvis Landry of the Miami Dolphins competes in the Epic Pro Dodgeball event during the Pro Bowl NFL Skills Showdown on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)

LAKE BUENA VISTA — It was dodgeball, so yeah you can insert all the ESPN8 jokes you want and talk about how, no, this really does not prove Jarvis Landry deserves $14 million a season.

I mean, we think he does. And we actually think it wasn’t just that Landry was the NFL dodgeball champion during Pro Bowl week but that he seriously wanted to win so badly that is relevant here.

No, the jerks from Globo Gym (the Patriots) aren’t represented here this week. But Landry represented.

If there is one memorable photo from this week, it was one which showed Landry with an intense, determined scowl as he closed in on the Dodgeball championship. Jalen Ramsey can be seen hooting and hollering. And other AFC Pro Bowlers were laughing.

But to Landry, this was no laughing matter. To Landry, winning is everything. In everything.

“Money was on the line so we had to go get it,” Landry said after a Pro Bowl practice Friday. “That goes to show you just as much passion and energy as I have for that, that’s how I play Connect Four. Tic-Tac-Toe. Think about that, and how much amplified it is on a Sunday. That’s just how I am.”

Landry ended the game by taking out the NFC’s kicker. And then he went to social media to talk about how we couldn’t possibly have thought he was going to get taken out by a kicker.

Landry wears his heart on his sleeve. At times he can appear to be an emotional basket case. But at the root of it all, is how much he cares. He truly cares about winning. He wants so badly to win.

“I just want to play football with an organization of guys that want me to be there, that love that I’m there, that love what I bring to the table, embrace my personality and win games,” Landry said. “I want to win. Now.”

If Miami lets Landry walk, perhaps it will be a reflection on their decision to not embrace his personality.

And that may very well be a costly mistake.

Landry competed this week. During a series of Pro Bowl practices in which, really, guys don’t compete all that much.

He practices hard. He practices when he’s hurt. He battles in the spring. (He showed up in the spring, when he didn’t have to.)

He even competed hard in a Pro Bowl contest in which for some reason a drone dropped a football from the sky this week.

Of course, he won that too, beating out Patrick Peterson.

Last year, Miami paid Reshad Jones. They paid him in part because of his intense desire to win, his emotional connection to the game.

Miami has two Pro Bowlers here and it’s Landry and Jones and the common denominators are not lost on Landry.

“I think we are both Alpha Males,” Landry said. “I think not only that. I think we both play hard. We both have a lot of leadership qualities and leadership abilities. We’re playmakers. And you can’t go wrong with that. And that’s just a short list, a condensed list.”

Miami needs to add Alpha Males. And they need to keep the ones they have, too.

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Miami Dolphins’ Jarvis Landry: Finding elite slot receivers isn’t so easy

AFC wide receiver Jarvis Landry, of the Miami Dolphins, catches a pass during Pro Bowl NFL football practice, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018 in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/Doug Benc)

LAKE BUENA VISTA — The former Dolphins wide receiver Wes Welker was pontificating earlier this week about how the perception that you can find an elite slot wide receiver anywhere is hogwash.

Welker, who, yes, also played for the Patriots and Broncos, was at the Senior Bowl and Jarvis Landry’s contract situation came up. Welker said that to an extent, he understands why sometimes teams place a higher value on outside receivers.

But as Welker explained in a conversation with The Daily Dolphin, the very best slot receivers understand how to get open over and over and over again. They understand how defenses are trying to stop them. And they are willing to put their bodies on the line to get the job done.

It will not surprise you that Landry, speaking at his third Pro Bowl on Friday, agreed with all of this.

“It’s very hard to find,” Landry said. “I think being in the slot, it’s not so much as being a good slot receiver. It’s having instincts for the game. Knowing your coverages like the back of your hand. Understanding that you’re going to have to make contact catches, because you’re there in the mix. Another part for me is I love block. So being in there, I get a chance to block linebackers, safeties, sometimes ‘D Ends. Depending on how our offense is built. Which is fun for me. I don’t think a lot of guys are up for it. But there are a lot of talented guys out here. And the position is evolving. Formations are evolving.  And there are alignments where guys outside can step inside. But you know if a guy is not comfortable inside you may not get that much success from him.”

Landry wants to be paid as a top receiver, regardless of where he lines up on the field. But if Landry were to be paid, say, $14 million a season, it would certainly be a fair reflection of his value compared to receivers such as T.Y. Hilton, Alshon Jeffery, Doug Baldwin and Keenan Allen, who all earn less annually.

Landry clearly has the respect of his opponents. While Landry was doing an interview after practice on Friday, Chargers linebacker Melvin Ingram interrupted to joke with him about a juke move from the season opener.

Ingram: “He shook me this year. Shook this s— out of me.”

Landry: “You see how small I am and how big this dude is? And he’s faster than me, probably. You think I’m about to let him hit me? I’ll slide on the ground before I let him hit me.”

If Landry makes another Pro Bowl or more, it is entirely possible he may have to do it in another uniform. Has Landry thought about how Sunday afternoon’s Pro Bowl may be his last in aqua and orange?

“No,” Landry said. “Honestly, since the season ended, I have embraced this, loved this, spending time with my family. Trying not to think about it. And just waiting patiently. I’ve been at peace.”

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Miami Dolphins hire Dowell Loggains as offensive coordinator

Dowell Loggains is an important hire for Adam Gase and the Dolphins (Getty Images)

The Miami Dolphins hired former Bears and Titans offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains on Wednesday for the same role, an NFL source said.

Adam Gase felt he needs to change something in order to improve Miami’s 25th-ranked offense. Gase has said he will continue to call the plays in 2018.

But Gase wanted a new voice in the room, and so he turned to a trusted voice from his past. Loggains was offensive coordinator of the Bears in 2016-17 and previously worked with Gase in Chicago.

This season, the Bears had the NFL’s 30th-ranked offense. In 2016, Chicago had the NFL’s 15th-ranked offense.

Gase calls the plays, but a hire of Loggains could obviously impact the role of veteran offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen. Gase has been open to keeping Christensen on staff in a different capacity.

Loggains was offensive coordinator of the Titans in 2012-13.

In those seasons, Tennessee ranked 26th and 22nd in total offense.

Why did Gase go with Loggains?

According to people familiar with their excellent relationship, the organization feels Loggains:

• Has familiarity with multiple schemes as a play-caller

• Develops pocket awareness of quarterbacks

• Is outstanding with players and respected around the league

• Is good at managing people

• Holds players and coaches accountable

Loggains, 37, was a backup quarterback and holder at Arkansas. Christensen’s role was really as a trusted advisor to Gase, so it is obviously possible Loggains, a Texas native, could fill that role.

Loggains replaced Gase as Bears offensive coordinator in 2016, but head coach John Fox has been relieved of his duties. Loggains intended to continue to run Gase’s system, so obviously he is extremely familiar with Gase’s preferences.

Loggains worked with Jay Cutler in 2016 and rookie Mitch Trubisky this season, typically scripting Chicago’s first 15 plays. Though Gase is a noted quarterback guru, Loggains could help give Ryan Tannehill a fresh perspective, too.

We’re not sure how Loggains feels about it, but he has been cited as a look-alike for actor Patton Oswalt.

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Miami Dolphins’ Adam Gase: Lawrence Timmons ‘model citizen’ since return

Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Lawrence Timmons stops New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson on a play at Hard Rock Stadium this season. (Andres Leiva / The Palm Beach Post)

DAVIE — Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase complimented Lawrence Timmons for the professionalism he’s shown since returning to the team after a brief unexcused absence at the beginning of the season.

“I think he’s done a good job when he came back,” Gase said Thursday. “He’s very quiet. He works every day at practice. (He gives) everything he has. He’s been a model citizen since he’s returned. For a veteran player, I haven’t been around too many guys that does not miss snaps in practice. He is going game speed every day. He’s been very impressive to watch. (Now) I understand why his career has been what it’s been over time.”

Timmons has 78 tackles this season, after posting more than 100 tackles in each of the last five seasons with Pittsburgh.

Timmons also has 0 sacks, 0 forced fumbles, 0 fumble recoveries, 4 tackles for loss and 3 quarterback hits.

After a strong start, the 31-year-old Timmons has slowed down, even losing third-down playing time to Stephone Anthony.

Timmons signed a two-year deal before this season, but his return would certainly be questionable.

Miami is hoping its linebacker corps improves next season with the addition of Raekwon McMillan as well as perhaps another linebacker through the draft or free agency.

How would Gase describe the performance of Miami’s linebackers in general this season?

“We’ll figure all of that out after the season,” Gase said. “Obviously we haven’t … Nobody’s done anything great. We were one of the worst offenses in the league and in the back half in defense. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

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5 Instant Takeaways: Miami Dolphins 27, New England Patriots 20

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry celebrates his second touchdown with Kenny Stills at Hard Rock Stadium on Monday Night Football. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

MIAMI GARDENS — Adam Gase had never beaten the New England Patriots as head coach of the Miami Dolphins.

Forget that streak.

Jay Cutler had never beaten the Patriots as a starting quarterback.

Forget that streak.

Miami had been 0-4 on national television.

Yeah, you see where this is headed.

Improbably, the Dolphins dominated the Patriots on Monday Night Football, improving to 6-7 and making the final three games of the regular season very interesting. In fact, it’s not disingenuous to say Miami is again a legitimate AFC Playoff contender.

[RELATED: Exclusive photos from the Dolphins’ huge MNF win over the Patriots]

And can we all agree those throwback Dolphins uniforms look amazing?

Adam Gase was outstanding designing and calling plays. Gase was creative. He was multiple. He was smart. He frustrated Patriots coach Bill Belichick and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, after wondering aloud this week what he could possibly put out there that those two hadn’t seen him try in the past. In the first half, Gase used Kenyan Drake, Jakeem Grant, Jarvis Landry and MarQuies Gray as running backs. Gase had Jay Cutler moving the pocket, in order to limit pressure and not allow him to be a sitting duck. In the first half, Cutler targeted, and found, seven different receivers. He moved Landry around, sometimes inside and sometimes outside. He used Drake on various runs, including tosses. Cutler found Drake on a key first-half pass. And Gase even worked Grant into the offense, putting him in position to catch a touchdown pass at the start of the third quarter.

In 10 years, this could be one thing we remember about Jay Cutler’s Dolphins tenure. Cutler has been pretty much what we thought he was. He’s been up. He’s been down. He’s won some, lost some. But in the first half on Monday Night Football, he doubled up Tom Brady in passer rating. Cutler was shockingly good. He looked nimble. He looked accurate. Cutler used play-action with aplomb. Cutler used the middle of the field and the outside of the field. In a very memorable moment, Cutler did a 360-degree spin to avoid the sack of a blitzer and got the ball to Kenyan Drake for a key third-down conversion on an eventual touchdown drive. One loyal Daily Dolphin reader said he’ll always remember Cutler not moving on a play where he was split out wide for a Wildcat snap. But an upset of New England with the whole world watching, legitimately impacts Cutler’s legacy and how his likely one season in South Florida is remembered, say, 10-20 years from now.

Dolphins defensive coordinator Matt Burke and his unit bounced back from oblivion. Just when it looked like Miami’s defense was folding, it came alive. It was one thing to shut down Trevor Siemian and the Broncos last Sunday. But to come up with the type of astounding performance Miami’s defense did against Tom Brady and New England was eye-opening. Burke, a Massachusetts native, must have stung with the way New England’s offense shredded the Dolphins defense just two weeks ago. On this night, he brought creative pressures, allowed his defensive backs to play tighter coverage, and smartly assigned Xavien Howard to shadow Brandin Cooks, which resulted in two dynamic interceptions. Kiko Alonso, Cam Wake, Davon Godchaux, T.J. McDonald, Reshad Jones, on and on, Burke put his players in a position to live up to their talents on Monday night, frustrating Brady all the way.

Jarvis Landry believed the Patriots could be beaten, and he was right. Landry said Sunday night on Instagram that he wanted to take the air out of the ball. After he scored a touchdown to put Miami up 27-10 in the third quarter, Landry placed the ball on the ground in the end zone and began pushing down on it. At first, I thought he was pretending to inflate the ball. But I supposed he may have been attempting to deflate the ball. Either way, it was clearly a shot fired toward Tom Brady and the Patriots, who had that little distraction you may recall. Hey, the Dolphins have had their ridiculous share of distractions and off-field challenges this year, so why not point out one of New England’s. Look, Miami isn’t going to have a chance to stand up to all that the Patriots are until they genuinely believe they can stand up to the Patriots. Guys like Landry and Ndamukong Suh, who spoke about the Patriots in less than endearing terms in the preseason, are the types of players who give Miami the confidence that yes, they can compete.

Kenyan Drake and Xavien Howard are two young cornerstones to build around. At least that’s how it has appeared the last two weeks. There was certainly a scare when Drake went down in the third quarter with an apparent injury, because he’s become so important to Miami’s success. Drake had a big run up the middle to spark Miami in the first quarter. Drake caught a long pass in the second quarter. Basically, Drake is a big play waiting to happen. As Jon Gruden said during the MNF telecast, it’s not a disrespect to Jay Ajayi to say that Drake made a few big plays that are simply not in Ajayi’s arsenal (no pun intended). Meanwhile, after a slow start to his second season, Howard has blossomed before our eyes. Howard had two interceptions while covering Demaryius Thomas last week and two interceptions while covering Brandin Cooks on Monday night.

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What if Miami Dolphins CB Alterraun Verner starts against New England?

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Mike Wallace catches a pass as Miami Dolphins defensive back Alterraun Verner defends in a preseason game. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

DAVIE — Alterraun Verner had played 22 snaps before Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos.

But when starting cornerback Cordrea Tankersley went down with shoulder and ankle injuries, Verner stepped in and played splendidly, allowing only one catch on four targets during 46 snaps of a crushing victory.

“It went great, since we got the win,” Verner said Thursday. “I was just happy that I was able to step in and contribute toward us getting a win. So you know that’s why I’m here. For those situations. Someone they can rely on. That’s what I pride myself on, just being ready when I’m called.”

Verner has played in every Dolphins game, mostly on special teams, and has missed only two games in his eighth-year career. But Verner hasn’t had an opportunity to start for Miami, beaten out by Byron Maxwell in camp and surpassed by the rookie Tankersley early in the season.

Tankersley did not practice on Thursday, so it’s possible Verner may get the call against New England on Monday night.

“I really haven’t played them much,” Verner said of the Patriots. “Tom Brady is one of the greatest, or the greatest, ever. So you’ve got to bring your ‘A’ game. You’ve got to be on your guy. If the guy is open just a little bit he’s going to find him. And all the guys he has are reliable and catch the ball. And he trusts them. And they trust in their system. We have to execute. We have to be in the places that we need to be at the end. If we have  chance to make a play we have to make it.”

Verner said it was tough to see Tankersley injured.

“You don’t want to see anybody get hurt,” he said. “I’ve build such a close relationship with Tank because through training camp we were running with the second group. So we built a good rapport. But I was excited to play against Denver. I was in the same draft class with the two receivers that we played against. So it was fun to go against them.”

Verner said he’s tried to stay ready to play all season.

“That’s the part that’s being a veteran,” Verner said. “I’ve been there. I’ve seen it. You just have to prepare like you’re going to play, even if you’re not playing. Football is a dangerous game. You’ve got injuries. You’ve got all types of things. Somebody could get sick the day before. That’s happened to me before. I’ve had food poisoning. So you just have to have the mentality that you might go at any time. If you have that mentality then you’ll be ready to go whenever.”

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Miami Dolphins: Is Cam Wake fatiguing with increased snaps?

Cameron Wake had six sacks in the first six games of this season. (AP)

DAVIE — Cameron Wake has 3 tackles, 3 assisted tackles and 0 sacks in his last 4 games as a Miami Dolphin.

This leads one to question, as Wake is now 35 years old, is he actually showing signs he is human?

“Yeah, he’s human,” Dolphins defensive coordinator Matt Burke said Wednesday, when asked, if in fact, Wake is human. “I’m pretty sure. I haven’t done any scientific research on that.”

All kidding aside, Wake has played 40 snaps in consecutive weeks, losses to the Panthers and Bucs, after averaging 33 the previous three weeks. Is it time to question if a reduction in snaps could benefit his performance?

“I think it’s hard to take off a guy that’s still disruptive, and doing his job in the run game,” coach Adam Gase said Wednesday. “I mean, he’s doing what we ask him to do. And he’s executing things still at a high level. I mean, sure would we like to be able to play it the way — I mean, we all think it’s easy to say, ‘Hey take this series off, or, we’ll just get you on pass-rushing downs.’ Then all of the sudden it’s Week 2 last year and he’s played 16 snaps and it’s ‘Why isn’t Cam playing more?'”

It is true that last year, Gase regretted not using Wake more early in the season. In fact, Wake didn’t start the first five games of last season, as Miami got off to a 1-4 start. When Wake began to play more, Miami’s season took off.

This is not to suggest that Wake is not still a high-level performer. According to Pro Football Focus, Wake is the NFL’s 18th-best edge rusher, with a rating of 84.6 that is similar to his production in the previous four seasons.

“I truthfully haven’t seen a downturn in his play,” Burke said. “(Wake’s) been fine. He’s been doing everything we ask of him. I’m not watching him going, ‘Man, he stinks, can we get him off the field?’ I think we try through the week to handle those guys and keep them fresh.”

Wake has matched a career-long drought in sacks with none in four games.

“Again, it’s probably not one thing; but at the end of the day, I’m not a guy to make excuses,” Wake said after Sunday’s loss. “Whatever the scenario of the game, whatever the blocking situation is, I’ve always been a guy who feels like it doesn’t matter. You have to go out there and you have to get your job done. If it’s getting to the quarterback is my job, then I have to do it, and all of those other factors that contribute to the issues or the frustrations of not getting there, you have to put them aside and go out and do your job.”

Burke said he has no doubt about Wake’s physical condition and preparations. Burke also suggested the team is continually monitoring the exertion utilized by their players, particularly veteran players.

“In terms of him being not human, I think he is one of the best,” Burke said. “Him and (Ndamukong) Suh are two of the best I’ve been around as far as using the week to prepare. I mean, he knows, how old he is. And he knows what he’s done throughout his career to prepare and put him in this position. And i think he continues to do that. I have utmost faith in his preparation during the week to get himself ready to play however many snaps we ask him to play. And if I really saw a decline in his play then we would address that.”

Gase suggested Wake displays unhappiness with him and coaches like defensive line coach Terrell Williams when taken out of games.

“You really don’t ever know what the situations of the game is going to call for,” Gase said. “‘T’ (Terrell Williams) tries to do everything he can to try to plan it out. But you have to adjust. You know, I don’t think (Wake) really wants to come off the field a whole bunch. So when you see him coming off the field, it’s not great body language.”

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What Miami Dolphins OC Clyde Christensen said Wednesday

Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

Here is some of what Clyde Christensen said on Wednesday:

• Laremy Tunsil can be a really fine player. The consistency should come but it hasn’t yet. The sooner the better. It’s not that he’s not practicing hard. It can’t happen. There can’t be that many penalties.

• We are addressing penalties in meetings, in practice. We’re trying to pull guys out of there if they jump offsides. But so far it hasn’t helped. That was the worst week we’ve had. Unexplainable that those things are happening this late in the season. Bad ball. On everybody.

• Leonte Carroo is going to be in a constant competition. That’s a good thing. Whoever is playing better between him and Rashawn Scott. A lot of it comes down to special teams. The answer to the question is special teams. That’s really a Darren Rizzi special teams decision. Carroo is never going to be a speed burner, so he’s got to be on his technique. The times he’s been in there he’s gotten open and made a couple big catches. It’s special teams.

• Allen Iverson may have been right, practice is overrated. This is a comment he made to Kenny Stills after he went for 180 yards after missing practice with a locked-up back.

• Kenny Stills has improved in all areas.

• Kenyan Drake is growing in his attention to detail, ball protection. He was crushed by a fumble earlier in the year.

• It’s amazing how the Patriots have looked the same for 15-20 years. Same coaches. Same systems. When one player comes in to replace a Pro Bowler, that player looks the same and uses the same techniques. Consistency. And keeping things in place have allowed the Patriots to recruit to their particular system and sustained success.

• Jesse Davis to guard and Sam Young outside if Jermon Bushrod can’t go. How they ended up the game last week.

• Ted Larsen is getting back to himself. It’s a fast track to getting back. It’s 320-pound guys.

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Bill Belichick: Miami Dolphins’ QB’s are ‘outstanding’

Jay Cutler and Matt Moore are “outstanding” according to Bill Belichick. (AP)

DAVIE — The Dolphins are 20th in the NFL in passing offense, 30th in total offense and 31st in scoring offense.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick declared Wednesday that the Dolphins have two “outstanding” quarterbacks, in Jay Cutler and Matt Moore.

“The Dolphins have very good depth at quarterback,” Belichick said Wednesday on a conference call with Miami media. “Both players are outstanding players that can throw the ball well. They’re smart. They can handle the different looks that coach (Adam) Gase gives them to make the defense declare what they’re in, and attack it. So they have a very good and healthy quarterback situation, two guys that can come in and play at a high level and move the ball and score points for their team. So. It’s a good position the Dolphins put themselves in.”

Healthy is a delicate word to use around the Dolphins these days, actually.

Consider starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill went down with a torn ACL in the preseason. And Cutler was in concussion protocol, at least as of Monday, unable to finish Sunday’s loss to the Bucs.

Cutler is 25th in the NFL in passer rating, 28th in yards and 33rd in average gain.

Cutler has a higher passer rating (82.7) than Moore (77.6) because Moore struggled in a shutout loss at Baltimore.

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