Cutler took the practice field wearing No. 6, his number since high school, after the reserve quarterback Brandon Doughty agreed to give it up. When Cutler began to throw, he looked light on his feet and quick and accurate with his passes while showing good arm strength.
Same old Cutler, said Gase, who was the offensive coordinator when both were with the Bears.
“He remembers basically everything with the offense,” Gase said. “He said he felt good, and he’s not going to sugarcoat anything with me. He felt just right back in it.”
Said Cutler: “It’s kind of a crash course, if you already took the course before.”
He underwent season-ending right shoulder surgery last December, but said his arm felt good and would need only a couple of days to be 100 percent. His timing will take a little longer to come back, he said, and the 88-degree morning temperature was hotter than he is used to.
Cutler’s best moment came in individual drills, when he threw a 45-yard tight spiral that hit receiver Jakeem Grant in stride at the goal line. Grant, a second-year reserve, described the moment as a dream come true.
“Everybody in the locker room grew up watching Jay,” Grant said. “It’s an honor for him to be on the team.”
Cutler may not know Grant’s name yet, but he seemed intent on getting to know everyone quickly. He spent much of practice engaged in steady conversation with the backup quarterback Matt Moore, the quarterbacks coach Bo Hardegree and Tannehill.
“It’s a tough situation for Ryan,” Cutler said. “He has been great and supportive. He just wants to help this team win games.”
Also supportive was the Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, Cutler’s nemesis when they were rivals in the N.F.C. North.
“I’ve played against him many, many times,” Suh said. “I actually got my first sack against him. A good dude. I don’t like any quarterbacks, but he was one guy I definitely had respect…