Bears notebook: Jay Cutler says Bears have third-down problem in hand

Matt Trowbridge

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler said there is no need "to hit the panic button" about Chicago converting only three of its last 40 third downs.

Cutler noted that the Bears (4-2) are still tied for the best record in the NFC.

"We, as players, as a staff and as a whole organization, have identified the problem," Cutler said Wednesday. "We’re going to attack it and we’re going to fix it. If our record was reversed, then we’d probably be a little more adamant about it. But we’re still in a good spot. We just have to fix the problems and move on."

Cutler disagreed with offensive coordinator Mike Martz taking the blame for Chicago’s offensive struggles.

"Mike’s going to take the blame, because that’s how Mike is," Cutler said. "As players, we’ve got to take more responsibility for this. We’ve been in the system long enough. Everyone should know what to do."

Wright returns to practice

The Bears had a long injury list with six starters missing practice Wednesday: linebackers Brian Urlacher (groin) and Lance Briggs (ankle); defensive backs Zackary Bowman (foot), Danieal Manning (back) and Chris Harris (knee), and guard Roberto Garza. The good news is rookie safety Major Wright (hamstring) returned to practice in limited fashion.

"That’s very encouraging," coach Lovie Smith said. "It seems like it’s been forever since we’ve had a chance to work with Major. We’ll be a better football team when Major comes back."

Bears make moves at DE

The Bears re-signed defensive end Ervin Baldwin to their practice squad Wednesday. Their 2008 seventh-round draft pick had 14 tackles in three games for the Colts last year. "He’s a guy we never really wanted to leave," Lovie Smith said.

The Bears also elevated rookie defensive end Barry Turner, an undrafted free agent out of Nebraska, from the practice squad to the active roster Tuesday. He replaced Charles Grant, who was waived.

Matt Trowbridge can be reached at 815-987-1383 or