When the Bears came into this season, it looked like Cutler might finally be able to shake that stereotype. He was in a new system that would preserve his body in the way that Mike Martz‘s did not. He had new weapons all around him, including his buddy Brandon Marshall. He was walking around with a smile on his face, and some swagger, which now may be characterized as cocky.
Maybe the rise of Jay Cutler was taking place too quickly. His “good luck” jab at the Green Bay secondary was bulletin board material and we saw it on Thursday night. Cutler was thrown around like a rag doll, mainly thanks to Clay Matthews. The game looked more like a tilt from his first season, rather than one that was supposed to be his coming out party in a potential MVP campaign.
But four interceptions and one sideline explosion later, Cutler is showing that he still has a long way to go to destroy that stereotype surrounding him. It’s one that’s hovered over him since he came into the league with the Denver Broncos. His attitude has been questioned on more than one occasion, both with the Broncos and the Bears.
Last year, Cutler won over a great number of fans in Chicago, playing some of the best football we’ve seen from him in his time with the Bears. It was a nice bounce back after so many turned against him, after the Bears failed to report an injury to Cutler, and it looked like he was just sulking on the sidelines of the NFC Championship Game.
This year, he was expected to expand that love to a more national audience. The new weapons, the new offense, and that swagger he was carrying around was expected to help him in that journey. The Week 2 matchup showed how far he still has to go.
Aside from his putrid numbers, the main issue for Cutler was his verbal assault of left tackle J’Marcus Webb. Cutler flipped out on Webb after another Matthews sack, and appeared to bump into him. Of course, that drew national criticism, including a declaration from Tedy Bruschi that Cutler owes Webb a “public apology”.
That, in itself, is nonsense. Cutler in no way, shape, or form, owes Webb a public apology. If they want to work it out behind closed doors, then go for it. But Webb has been an issue for this offensive line the past couple of years, and was absolutely destroyed by everyone on the Green Bay defense. He could use a bit of fire under him, even though Cutler’s words didn’t appear to do the trick.
It’s almost a no-win situation for Cutler at that point. He takes the criticism for not showing emotion, but then shows emotion and it draws the ire of fans and analysts all over the country. If this is a less scrutinized quarterback, no one says a word. Just like no one has said a word about Aaron Rodgers losing it on James Jones in the same game.
At the end of the day, this is one game. It was an awful game, but Cutler also had an awful start to the year last year, as did most of this Bears team, before they went on a roll. If Jay Cutler goes out and plays much of the rest of the year more like Week 1, or more like last year, few will remember this one. I think this is a situation that was overblown, and is something the team will move past pretty quickly.
But it did show that even though Cutler came a long way in bringing his image up last season, as far as Bear fans are concerned, he still has a long way to go to look good in the eyes of a national audience.