In his time with the Chicago Bears, Jay Cutler has been a pretty polarizing figure for fans both inside and out of the Windy City. Some love him, others can’t stand the supposed attitude that he brings to the field. However, there’s no denying at this point that Cutler is one of the most important players in the entire NFL.
The Bears defeated the Minnesota Vikings pretty handily on Sunday. Without Cutler, that may have not been possible. He threw, he ran, he even tied his offensive lineman’s shoes. He did it all at Soldier Field in the Week 12 win.
This past summer, the Bears spent some decent money to address their backup quarterback situation by bringing in Jason Campbell. Despite the fact that he seemed like an obvious upgrade over Caleb Hanie, the results were the same for Cutler missing six quarters for the Bears this season as they were when he missed six games in 2011. That’s not all on Campbell, of course.
But this Bears offense simply functions better with Cutler under center. As putrid as the offensive line is, Cutler actually makes them look like an average unit. His numbers aren’t eye-popping, but he makes plays throughout the game that many other quarterbacks around the league would not be able to pull off with this group.
Cutler is working with that offensive line, an average group of receivers (outside of Brandon Marshall), an inconsistent running game, and poor playcalling from Mike Tice. Despite all of that, Cutler picks himself off of the turf after every sack, and can go out on the next play and make a throw into the smallest of windows and leave us all speechless.
When you look at a candidate for the Most Valuable Player award, the tendency is to look at numbers. And to a certain extent, it obviously makes sense. But for Cutler, you don’t necessarily need to look at what he did in the box score to determine how important his is to this team.
It’s a simple formula. When Jay Cutler is in the lineup, this team wins football games. When he’s out, and a backup is forced into action, regardless of the backup, they don’t. He may not have the typical makeup of an MVP, given his off-the-field demeanor, but there’s no denying the fact that among players throughout the league that are integral to their team’s success, Jay Cutler is right at the top of that list.
He may not garner much attention for the MVP award, which is already looking reserved for the likes of Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson, but he should at least receive some consideration after the two sides of the Bears that we have seen in the past few weeks, both with and without Cutler.