A lot has been made the last week of Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, primarily focusing on his attitude and leadership skills, or lack thereof (in both cases). It’s almost inaccurate to say Cutler’s been under a microscope since his Bears were throttled by the Green Bay Packers last Thursday, simply because he’s been heavily criticized for his every wrong move since coming to Chicago back in 2009.
Has a lot of it been warranted? Definitely. Has he made a lot of mistakes both physically and mentally? The proof is in the pudding. Now did he get the Bears to the NFC Championship in 2010? Yep. Were they one of the better teams in the conference last season before he got injured? You better believe it. And are they one of the best teams in the NFC this season?
The last question can’t exactly be answered quite yet. With the New Orleans Saints sitting at 0-2 and the Arizona Cardinals at 2-0, up is down and the dust is still settling in the NFC. One thing we do know is that Chicago looked great week 1 against the Indianapolis Colts, and they struggled, badly, against one of the conference’s power houses in their second game of the season. Green Bay came into last week’s game starving for a win, and the defense showed it’s desperation. They picked apart not just Cutler, but Cutler’s offensive line, and his biggest weapon in the backfield Matt Forte, who left the game injured.
Not only was Cutler awful (11-27, 126 yards, 1 TD 4 INTs), but he was caught bumping left tackle J’Marcus Webb and screaming at him amidst the Bears debacle. Cutler was also caught giving his best McKayla Maroney impression on the sidelines, what else is new, which just further propels the media and Bears fans alike to jump on him for “showing no heart,” “always sulking,” and my favorite “being douchey.”
Rant Sports columnist Bryan Lutz touched on the fascination with Cutler, going as far as claiming Cutler is the epicenter for ignorant opinions. Lutz pretty much said no matter how bad Cutler is he’s given a pass by some Bears fans, but at the same time, is picked apart for his every flaw. There will be some people who complain about how it’s not fair to give Cutler such flawed protection on the o-line, yet also expect more from him because he now has Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. In other words, remember the TV show Parker Lewis Can’t Lose? Jay Cutler’s pretty much the opposite of that.
But that’s where I think a line needs to be drawn in the sand. You’re never as good as you feel after a win, but you’re also never as bad as you feel after a loss. While this was a bad loss for Cutler and the Bears, there is so much room for optimism for this season. Through two games the defense has looked as good as they’ve been the past couple of seasons, and that’s playing one game against the reigning league MVP, and the offense is unquestionably vastly improved!
Let’s be honest, Earl Bennett and Johnny Knox weren’t cutting it for Cutler. He now has one of the most steady receivers in football, and a guy he had a great connection with when they played together for the Denver Broncos in Marshall, and one of the best receiver prospects in the 2012 draft in Jeffery. The team also locked Forte into a 4-year deal, and brought in Michael Bush, one of the best spell backs in football, as another weapon. I get if you don’t have the help needed up front you might as well have me as a skill player, but quarterbacks like Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers, and Ben Roethlisberger have excelled despite playing behind weak offensive lines, and Cutler knows he has to follow suit if he wants to avoid the negative attention.
The biggest stimulant in the Cutler saga is that he doesn’t care about the negative attention. He’s rarely remorseful for his off color comments or “douchey” moments that are caught on camera, but does he really have to be? He clearly doesn’t want the life that some guys at his position live with commercials, endorsements, and television appearances, but I mean, isn’t marrying a reality TV star enough? Cutler just wants to be the quarterback for the Chicago Bears, and like it or not, that’s what he’s doing.
Peyton Manning lived down his reputation of being a snot on the field with his teammates, after years of wearing his heart on his sleeve on the field and showing it when he was upset. Excellent quarterbacks like Phillip Rivers, Tom Brady, and Rodgers have been seen yelling at their receivers, linemen and other teammates on the sidelines or in the huddle, why is it only intensified when it’s Cutler? And isn’t in the job of a leader to get his teammates to refocus? Why is it leadership when Brady does it yet immaturity when Cutler does the same thing?
One thing we know is Cutler’s going to be Cutler, and people are going to continue to eat it up the way they have this past week. The other thing to keep in mind is that Cutler has a good track record in Chicago, and may already be the best quarterback that the franchise has seen since George Blanda, if not ever. He finally has not good, but great options on the outsides, and will make the most out of his situation.
I don’t get how teams go from potential conference favorites to in trouble with one loss, but it’s clear that the Bears and Cutler need to bounce back and prove they’re one of the better teams not just in the NFC, but in the NFL this season. Cutler will never be as bad as he looks in a loss, and many will say he’s not as good as he looks in a win, but as long as he’s winning, he can be as “douchey” as he wants.
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