LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) - It's been a difficult time for Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, on the field and off.
On Thursday, authorities said they had found a body believed to be that of Cutler's brother-in-law in southern Utah, two weeks after his car was found abandoned. Michael Cavallari is the brother of Cutler's wife, Kristin. Cutler was not available to reporters after the news was announced.
On the field, a stalled and sluggish offense has been a challenge for Cutler. The loss of tight end Martellus Bennett for the year with a cracked rib, the potential return of wide receiver Eddie Royal from a knee injury and even the possibility of rookie wide receiver Kevin White's debut are all making for an unusual week of uncertainty for the Bears.
"Availability is key in this league and a lot of the guys have been up and down, up and down," Cutler said. "You can go down the list."
The result has been inconsistency in the passing game. Cutler missed a few deep throws last weekend in a stunning home loss to San Francisco.
"We've had an up-and-down roller coaster of guys in and out," tight end Zach Miller said. "It's frustrating because we lose that continuity in that group."
The Bears rank 20th in passing and failed to hit 200 yards passing against Green Bay and San Francisco. They continue to struggle in the red zone, ranking 27th in touchdown percentage (46.1) with Washington visiting on Sunday.
Late in the game against San Francisco, Alshon Jeffery left to get rest and Cutler's wide receiver targets were Marc Mariani, Cameron Meredith and Josh Bellamy - not exactly household names.
Losing Bennett could potentially slow the offense in more than one way. Besides leading the team with 53 receptions this year and 90 last year, Bennett also provided the best blocking option on running plays among all the tight ends.
"It's tough," Cutler said. "That's definitely tough. Run game, pass game, he had a lot of value to this team in both areas -- unbelievable blocker at the point of attack. We ran to his side a lot. And then in the passing game, he was a matchup problem for linebackers and safeties. That's a tough loss for us, like anything else this year. The next guys step up and Zach (Miller) and Khari (Lee), they're ready to go."
The team originally expected to have Jeffery, Royal and White at receiver, and never has seen the offense with them together in the regular season due to injuries. Royal has been out since Nov. 1 and White has been on the physically unable to perform list all season.
It's possible White, chosen seventh in this year's draft, could return this week or next week from shin surgery. He has been involved in the offense in practices this week.
"He's out there doing as much as the trainers let him do," offensive coordinator Adam Gase said.
Cutler did like seeing the first three receivers together on the field.
"You have to think back to OTAs, I think early April, to see them all out together," he said. "It's nice to see. They're hard workers. I know they've wanted to be out here together for a long time."
NOTES: Running back Matt Forte turned 30 Thursday and the nine-year veteran said he hopes to continue playing for 12 or 13 years. Forte, whose contract expires after this season, said having Jeremy Langford and Ka'Deem Carey to share carries has helped. "I was used to taking almost every single snap out there, and as long as I don't have to do that I can continue to stay healthy during the stretch of the game and obviously during the season," he said. . Safety Antrel Rolle practiced Thursday on a limited basis after missing Wednesday's practice with a knee injury that has kept him out since Nov. 15.