Monday, January 24, 2011
But the heat he has received from the fans since being benched for injury in the NFC Championship game has been unfair.
Many experts believed for the Bears to win, they needed to run the ball. But facing one of the most difficult defenses in the NFL, the Bears running back Matt Forte only had seventeen carries. This forced Cutler to make plays he wasn't comfortable doing. Having the advantage of being at the game, I'm not sure television was able to convey how uneasy Cutler was at the line and in the pocket. The Packers were changing their looks on defense at the line causing Cutler problems of trying to call the right audible at the line of scrimmage. Once in the pocket, Cutler was unable to avoid the pressure as his counterpart on the Green Bay side of the ball was doing. Before his injury and after, Cutler was never in a comfort zone.
Then following the game, the Twitter universe lit up the Chicago QB. Many other NFL players were questioning his heart and commitment to the Bears in the playoffs. Some players called him a "quitter" and criticized him for not playing through the pain. Worse yet, the Bears organization claimed him to be questionable, but after the game Bears head coach, Lovie Smith declared he was definitely out.
What I felt was unfortunate is how the fraternity of football players did not stick up for one of their own. Teammate Brian Urlacker stated his support for the tough QB as well as other teammates. But those around the league stepped up and questioned his attitude and wondered why a guy, who was labled as questionable, couldn't come back in the biggest game of the 2010 season. Lovie and the doctors had to make a decision on what is best for the Chicago Bears as well as Jay Cutler, and that was to keep him out. Cutler may not have exhibited the facial features that many were looking for or the involvement with the team that many expected, but that doesn't make him a team player. Honestly, have you seen any qb be that closely involved with the offensive guru, Mike Martz.
I'll continue to be one of Cutler's biggest critics, but I can't criticize him for this. His mobility was already poor, his effectiveness was lacking and the offense may have needed a little jolt from someone different to stay in the game with the Packers. The Bears need to concentrate on getting the offense some help while taking some of the pressure off Cutler to make plays.