NFL

Jay Cutler calls Bears TE Zach Miller a 'friendly target'

TE Zach Miller has risen from the NFL's dead to star for the Bears. Kirby Lee USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler hasn't been dealt the best hand this season, but tight end Zach Miller is one player who's helping him make the most of it.

First, Cutler lost his No. 1 wide receiver, Brandon Marshall, in a trade with the New York Jets this offseason. Then, the team's first-round draft pick, highly touted wide receiver Kevin White, needed to undergo surgery for a fractured shin. To make things worse, fellow wideout Alshon Jeffery has been fighting various soft-tissue injuries all season.

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The last two weeks, however, Miller has emerged as a helpful hand. In wins over the San Diego Chargers and St. Louis Rams, the 31-year-old tight end has caught seven passes for 130 yards and three touchdowns.

"As soon as he got here, you could just tell this guy knows how to play football, he knows how to run routes," Cutler said of Miller, per Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune. "I've always liked throwing to Zach. He's one those easy guys who you know where he's going to be. He's a friendly target, and he's a smart player."

Before this season, Miller had not caught a pass in an NFL game since the 2011 season, when he was a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars. He has since emerged as an unexpected -- yet extremely valuable -- contributor for the Bears.

Cutler should continue to lean on Miller until he has a healthier, more talented arsenal of pass-catchers surrounding him.

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