Time For Cutler To Cowboy Up
By Danny Webster
It's hard to respect Jay Cutler. Have you ever tried it?
The man is hard to root for. The way he carries himself on and off the field with his slumped shoulders and his almost-shut eyes remind me of only one person ... Droopy Dog. Yes, Jay Cutler, the quarterback of the Chicago Bears, is Droopy Dog.
Here's the thing: It's not that Cutler is a bad person. Personally, I could care less if he enjoys the spotlight of the Chicago media as if he thought he was the next coming of Michael Jordan. He loves the spotlight, and he's not afraid to walk down Michigan Avenue and hope that the tabloids can catch a good shot of him and his girlfriend.
Nevertheless, all that publicity can turn negatively in a matter of moments, especially in Chicago, and especially with the Bears. He just turned 30 years old. He has one playoff appearance under his belt. It would've been two last year, but it didn't help that Cutler played terrible against three playoff teams in the final five weeks of the 2012 season.
With Brian Urlacher gone and Marc Trestman in as a head coach, this is now Cutler's team. He needs to use 2013 as the year that he arrives as a top-tier quarterback in the NFL — not just one with only a rocket arm and nothing else. He has all the tools on offense to succeed (Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall and maybe even Martellus Bennett if he can learn how to catch a pass), so there's no excuse that he can't have a monster season.
Especially under Trestman's system, Cutler can throw for over 4,000 yards and 35 touchdowns in 2013. But no matter the coach and no matter the playbook, stats aren't good enough for Cutler this year. He's entering a contract season. He probably expects to be paid handsomely next year, either by Chicago or some other team.
Imagine all the money he can lose with another subpar season. Imagine all the negativity that he'll get if he doesn't lead the Bears to the playoffs for the third time in four years. Imagine him as one of the biggest busts of all time.
It's almost unfair to put Cutler in the same conversation as Brett Favre, but he's almost a carbon copy of sorts in comparison to the former Packers great. Although he's thrown for 136 touchdowns in his career, he's also thrown 100 interceptions. Still keeping in mind, he only has one playoff appearance, and albeit one playoff win, it was against a Seattle team that went 7-9 and won the NFC West that year.
Again, stats mean nothing. Cutler won't be remembered as being someone who threw the ball a lot and with a lot of strength: He'll be remembered as someone who was accused of faking — or embellishing — an injury to sit out the rest of the NFC Championship Game against Green Bay in 2011. Chicago fans can't afford another instance of Caleb Hanie trying to get them to the Super Bowl.
It's almost a shocker that the Bears haven't been actively pursuing someone else to be Cutler's possible replacement. JaMarcus Russell is a great story and the thought of him attempting to revive his career with Chicago is great, but it looks like the Bears' front office may be invested in Cutler.
That could be the biggest mistake they've made.
The defense isn't getting any younger, so it's up to the offense to save this team's possible chances at contending for a division crown. It's all on Cutler, as it should be. No other quarterback, maybe other than Tony Romo, has ever been scrutinized or criticized more. So, just like Romo, Cutler is expected to perform.
But unlike Romo, Cutler won't get a $100 million extension. Cutler will lose a lot of money and may be looking for a new team that'd be willing to overpay him if he's available.
Starting at quarterback for the Chicago Bears, No. 6, Droopy Do— I mean, Jay Cutler. And for Cutler's sake, he better perform if he wants to hear that for the next number of years.
Not the Droopy Dog part, of course. The starting quarterback part.