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Cut(ler) Him Some Slack

December 19, 2014

Chicago Bears fans are reacting to Jay Cutler losing his starting job as QB of the Bears.

So am I.

Most fans called for him to lose his job.  The Bears leadership responded to that call.  He has been benched for the upcoming game against the Lions.

But is that the right decision?

I remember seeing Jay Cutler play in Denver.  It earned my respect for his abilities as a QB.

I was thrilled when the Bears got him.  I thought Jay was the first quality QB the Bears had since Jim McMahon, and that he probably had more ability than him, though perhaps time has proven that he’s not as mentally tough and driven as McMahon was.

Since coming to Chicago in 2009, Jay has been at least an average NFL QB.  He had the 7th highest QB rating last year, the 19th the year before that, the 16th the year before that, the 22nd the year before that and the 20th the year before that.  This year he has the 19th best QB rating.

Jay has also broken many Chicago Bears passing records in the 6 years he’s been here. Jay holds the Bears records for Career Passing Yards (18,553), Career Passing Completions (1,605), Career Passing Attempts (2,615), Career Quarterback Rating (84.4), 300 Yard Passing Games (13), and he holds similar single-season records too.  He is only 8 TD Passes shy of the Career TD Passes record (137 by Sid Luckman).  But he is also only 3 Interceptions shy of the Career Interceptions record (132 by Sid Luckman).

Do you want to know another record Jay Cutler holds?

Jay holds the career record for Most Times Sacked (203).

The most recent game that the Bears lost that precipitated Cutler’s benching Jay was sacked 7 times.  He threw 3 interceptions (two of them were tipped balls, but that won’t show up in the stats).  He also lost a fumble in that game.  Shame on him for not protecting the ball better, but he was obviously under a lot of pressure from the Saints defense as the protection had broken down repeatedly, and he was having to go with pass plays because the Bears were down most of the game.

Still, the best record the Bears have attained in the 6 years of Jay Cutler is 11-5 in 2010 (a season they lost in the conference final to the Green Bay Packers in Chicago 21-14 with Jay going 6-14 for 80 yards passing, no TD’s and 1 interception), The Bears failed to make the playoffs every other year.

Since, the Bears have brought in better talent around Cutler….Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, and Martellus Bennett.  They also improved his offensive line recently, though you would know it from the most recent game.

But this year, the story, which should be about injuries on the defense (Bears lost CB Charles “Peanut” Tillman early in the season, LB Lance Briggs and DT Lamarr Houston midway through the season, and several others throughout the season, giving up over 50 points in back to back games (the worst back-to-back beatings in the NFL in over 70 years).   The Bears have also been plagued with injuries on the offence.  The Bears best WR Brandon Marshall has also missed games recently.

The Bears total defense is ranked 30 out of 32 teams (3rd worst), the Bears passing defense is ranked 31 out of 32 teams (2nd worst), they’ve given up the most points of any team in football this year (29.2 points per game) with two back-to-back games giving up 50 points each), given up the 3rd most yards per game (382), and given up the 3rd most yards per pass play (6.1).

My point is this.  Is Jay Cutler a scapegoat for the Bears poor results as a team?

We loved Jay when the Bears won.  We hated him with the Bears lost.

Is that fair to put all that on one guy?

There is plenty of blame to go around.

Throwing out one of the best passing QB’s the Bears have ever had is not the answer.

Yes, they overpaid him way too much in his latest contract.  They likely have buyers remorse for that.  Is that Jay’s fault?  No.  The Bears are probably trying to save some of that money now in benching him.

Jay Cutler is not an elite NFL quarterback.  But he’s still the best QB the Bears have, and one of the best they’ve ever had.  Get him some protection and he does some good things passing the football.  Complement him with a quality defense and the Bears win football games.

Do the fans and Bears really want to throw the baby out with the bathwater?



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