Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Jay Cutler is Cody Hanson (and a gift to Packers fans)

Let me just say this: Jay Cutler is the best thing that ever happened to Packer fans.  He’s a gift, really.  I was so pleased when the Bears traded for that guy.  Here's a question: how do you stop a team in your division with a dominating defense, a bruising running game, and outstanding special teams?  Easy – have them sign a QB who is on pace to set the Bears single-season record for interceptions.  Kyle Orton was the perfect quarterback for Chicago.  He “managed” the game.  He was smart, deliberate, took what the defense gave him.  But that wasn’t good enough for Bears fans or management.  Chicago needed a “gun slinger” who would get them to the Super Bowl again.  Unfortunately for Bears fans, they are now just beginning to realize what the rest of the world already knew: Jay Cutler stinks.

In case my literary reference to Cody Hanson is too obscure for a few of you, Cody Hanson is the antagonist in Go Long – a “based on actual events” masterpiece by Tiki and Ronde Barber (with Paul Mantell) about their junior high football team.  I’m reading it to my first-grader now, and he’s riveted.  Cody is the conceited, whiney, disruptive quarterback who is like a cancer on the Barber kids’ team.  Every incomplete pass is the receiver’s fault.  Every sack is because the line can’t protect.  Every loss is due to the terrible team around him rather than his own faults.  How insightful the Barber twins were.  The spirit of Cody Hanson is alive and well in the body of Jay Cutler.

If you’re a Packer fan, Jay Cutler is just so glorious at multiple levels:
  1. He’s awful.  He has the ability to single-handedly lose games for the Bears with senseless interceptions, like the two he had against the Packers.
  2. He’ll be there for a long time.  The Bears picked up the remaining 3 years on Cutler’s contract with the Broncos, and then just signed him to a two-year extension this October for $30 million.  When all is said and done, they will be in to the dude for over $48 million over five seasons.  His suckiness will be the gift that keeps on giving to Packer fans.
  3. The Bears gave up so much to get him.  Not only did they trade a perfectly capable (albeit unflashy, Trent Dilfer-eseque) quarterback in Kyle Orton, but they also gave up first-round picks in 2009 and 2010, as well as a third-round pick in 2009. To put that in perspective, Clay Matthews and B.J. Raji were first round picks last year, and Jermichael Finley was a third-round pick in 2008.  That’s a lot to pay – even for a QB who is good.  Which Cutler isn’t.
Without Jay in our back pocket, the Packers probably lose that game Sunday.  True, Cutler led the Bears on two scoring drives to take the lead.  But he also threw two unfathomably bad interceptions, off which Green Bay scored 10 points, including the come-from-behind TD.  If I was a Bears fan, I would be apoplectic.  The TV commentators, as if rationalizing him into the elite QB the media seems to want Cutler to be, explained both picks away as “miscommunications” with his receivers.  I don’t believe in miscommunications.  Sure, Knox may have run the wrong route, but it’s the quarterback’s job in the huddle to make sure everyone knows what they’re doing.  It’s his job to run enough reps with his receivers in practice that they are on the same page.  It’s his job to read the defense and adjust to the coverage, regardless of the routes that are called.  In short, it’s his job to avoid mistakes through preparation, practice, and patience.  That’s why they pay QBs the big bucks.

They should just dress Cutler in a Bears uniform with a Green Bay Packer helmet, like at the Pro Bowl.  That’s how much he’ll mean to our franchise in the coming years.  Mark my words, as long as he’s on their team, they will be mired in mediocrity.

So with that Jay Cutler rant now behind me, I can get on to my three observations from last week’s game.

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