How annoying is it to know of a kid who is always getting into trouble…only to be saved by his/her parent? The kid steals candy from a store, and their parent chalks it up to them not getting enough attention at home. Little Jimmy bullies kids during recess, and his mom tells teachers and administrators that he was teased endlessly on a Saturday afternoon way back when. Ashley spreads nasty rumors about a “rival”, and his dad argues that his daughter’s target stole her boyfriend, inciting the drama. Regardless of the transgression, there is always a cover, even when the act is so egregious it would blow your sensible mind.
Jay Cutler is our (Bears’ fans) spoiled, bratty, petulant child. At least Cutler comes off that way more times than not due to some unwelcoming facial expressions and body language. Cutler can absolutely stink it up, and you can be sure there will be countless Bears fans to defend him when he is criticized. I have watched every game that Cutler has appeared in a Bears uniform and I can assure you, he has had some terrible performances. However, if you were to poll a good number of Bears fans, it’s seemingly everyone else’s fault but his own. The forced throws are a product of not having enough time to go through his progression and find the open receiver. Cutler throwing off his back foot is also a direct result of the same circumstances; a woeful offensive line. The overwhelming majority of his interceptions can be chalked up to paltry play by his receivers, or again, his craptastic offensive line. It’s not Cutler’s fault that he held the ball too long, leading to a sack. His linemen, ends and backs should be able to maintain their blocks longer. Even when Cutler hits us with the smug, “I’d rather be somewhere else” look, some apolog…er…fan rushes to point out that quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers have expressed worse.
Now, I suppose they have ignored the fact that Brady, Manning and Rodgers have something that Cutler really hasn’t been close to: a Super Bowl title. Clout is not something that only has an impact in the business and political world. When an individual athlete has accomplished great things, they are sort of given a pass. Does anyone really think that Phil Jackson would have allowed B.J. Armstrong to stay out until all hours gambling during the playoffs? Hell no. Michael Jordan is a completely different story. Not only was MJ by far the best player on the Bulls, he was by far the best player in the entire NBA. Those types usually get leeway while the Armstrongs of the sports world have to follow the rules a bit more closely.
This is not to say that Cutler is B.J. Armstrong while one of the other three quarterbacks I mentioned are Michael Jordan. It’s just that they have led their respective teams to great feats. On top of the titles, their individual play has been spectacular, for the most part. Cutler, on the other hand, still struggles to find consistency. Granted, Cutler has had more head coaches and offensive coordinators than he would have liked, but at the end of the day, it’s on the player to execute the gameplan. And if Cutler is as supremely talented as so many believe he is, he should be able to at least remotely prosper in any offensive system. Of course, his line and receivers have been below-average since he was acquired by the Bears, but you’d like to think that eventually, Cutler would make those around him better.
In the second quarter during last night’s 34-18 road win over the Dallas Cowboys, Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice sat down next to Cutler, probably in an attempt to right some wrongs that had plagued the offense to that point. Cutler, a quarterback not afraid to voice his displeasure, immediately got up and walked away from Tice. For a few seconds, Tice sat there in astonishment before getting up to follow Cutler. What exactly Tice wanted to convey, none of us can be sure. But, it was a disrespectful display from Cutler. The tiff Cutler had with left tackle J’Marcus Webb was bad enough, although it shouldn’t have been hyped as much as it was. The insubordination Cutler directed towards his coach, his superior, was just bad. Leadership is a trickle-down effect. The second- and third-string players take note of not only what the starters do, but how they do it. We can expect players to disagree and even quarrel with coaches, but to walk off in the fashion that Cutler did is inexcusable. Those of you who pointed out that other quarterbacks have done it, essentially absolved Cutler of any wrongdoing. I beg of you, don’t have children.
I have no clue what happened to the objective sports fan. You can cheer your heart out for a team or player and still be critical. It’s not illegal, or immoral. My fandom of the Bulls has been questioned because I don’t think small forward Luol Deng is anywhere near an elite player (and never has been), and I have sometimes opined that point guard Derrick Rose doesn’t make the best decisions. It is perfectly fine to give an educated opinion, no matter how critical it is. Your fan membership will not be revoked upon criticism, regardless of what a blogger, journalist or fan tells you. Don’t be so oblivious that you can’t see the err in your favorite player or team’s ways. Ignore the criticisms by the media and thanks to Twitter, opposing players. Honestly, what do you see? Be a fan. Don’t be an apologist. #BearOppositeOfUp
Note; I am a Bears fan, and have been since I can remember. I literally jumped for joy upon hearing the news that the Bears traded for Cutler and believe that he is a great talent. I do not hate him, his wife, or his child.