Let me know if you’ve heard this one before: quarterback of the Chicago Bears Jay Cutler wows everyone with his talent in the preseason. Like clockwork, this offseason is no different. But what always happens when the reps start to count? That’s right, an underwhelming season followed by numerous turnovers and boneheaded plays that would make even middle school coaches cringe.
Included in that list of disgruntled coaches against the Vanderbilt signal caller are 10 former coaches who seriously doubt Cutler can deliver in the Windy City, two being former head coaches Lovie Smith (2004-12) and Marc Trestman (2013-14). The agreement among the coaches is likely the reason why now head coach John Fox refuses to completely commit to the 32-year-old signal caller.
But talent, though. Right?
Cutler has been notoriously known as a coach killer, being the student of four offensive coordinators, two head coaches and two general managers in six years, only to find himself with another coach holding the clipboard. At what point do we stop axing coaches and start benching or trading the real culprit?
Well, trading doesn’t seem like an option now, as Cutler is entering the second year of a stomach-churning 7-year, $126.7 million contract extension signed back in January 2014. However, the former Vandy alumnus did thrive and break single-season records under Trestman’s offense in the 2013 campaign. Defending the anti-Cutler argument, he did have breakout receiver Alshon Jeffery and reunited record-breaking receiver Brandon Marshall, only to miss significant time due to injury and have Josh McCown replace him and achieve even more success with the same weapons. To put that in perspective, McCown completed 66.5 percent of his passes for 1,829 yards, 13 touchdowns and only one interception in eight games.
Oh, and about Brandon Marshall:
“There is a culture in the league that you keep everything in-house,” now-Jets receiver Marshall told ESPN.com. “I felt like I was the only one in the organization that had the ‘huevos’ to hold [Cutler] accountable. It didn’t go the way I wanted it to go.”
Marshall was traded to the New York Jets for a 5th-round draft pick back in March.
“We didn’t talk much during the year. We still haven’t talked,” Marshall said. “That is sad. I don’t think there is anybody in the league that had more chemistry than us.”
Marshall was sent packing following disputes in the locker room with his quarterback, something that his new Jets squad are familiar with this offseason. Former Jets linebacker IK Enemkpali broke the jaw of then-Jets starting signal caller Geno Smith in a locker room brawl Tuesday, shocking the sports world and sending hashtag comedians in a frenzy with new material.
But what does that have to do with Cutler? There’s a connection. After listening to broadcasts and media personalities throughout the week, the common theme of “who will get punched next” becomes a talking point. Guess who is everyone’s next guy on punch row? Yep, our boy Jay.
Even former Bears linebacker Lance Briggs claimed he wanted to deck him. When asked if he ever wanted to punch his once teammate, Briggs responded:
“There have been times, yeah,” Briggs said smiling. “Why didn’t I do it? Because out of respect.”
Sure, Briggs said it jokingly, but would the great quarterbacks of the NFL ever be subject to such humor? Would Peyton Manning ever be the target of a pun like this? I doubt it.
The offensive linemen who allowed Cutler to be sacked 52 times in 2010 are gone. The coaches and coordinators who forced the quarterback to play a system he isn’t used to are gone. The players who called him out and created locker room problems are gone. Who is the last man standing? Jay Christopher Cutler.
The lack of a competitive attitude and chemistry for this player and the locker room toxin that his presence alone creates as an aura of distrust and buzzkill to motivation simply can’t continue any longer. It’s time to move on from this marriage. There’s no better time to start over and rebuild than after a 5-11 season where the defense gave up back-to-back 50-point games with a lead-leading quarterback in turnovers. No one’s expecting the playoffs with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in his prime.
Bears fans have had enough with the turnovers and -staff turnover – for one career.