Unless you have been living under a rock, you have surely watched or read about the events last Sunday during the NFC Championship game regarding Jay Cutler. Just to recap:
1) Jay Cutler was injured at some point in the second quarter of the game; and left to the locker room BEFORE halftime;
2) Cutler played one series in the second half, then had some trainers look at his left knee;
3) Stayed on the sideline, apparently looking “sullen” and “disinterested” as Todd Collins and Caleb Hanie played out the rest of the BEars’ 21-14 loss to the Packers;
4) Current and former players immediately went to twitter, blasting Cutler for not staying in the game;
5) Reports began surfacing of Chicago fans burning Cutler jerseys in the streets;
6) Cutler had an MRI on Monday, revealing a 2nd-degree sprain of the medial collateral ligament (MCL) of his left knee.
First off, let me address the fans that BURNED CUTLER JERSEYS. If you are reading this, before you curse Jay Cutler; watch this:
Yeah. Steve Fuller. Rick Mirer. Cade McNown. Henry Burris. When JIM MILLER is the BRIGHT SPOT of the last 25 years…
Regardless of whether you like Jay Cutler, or his new girlfriend, or that he buy spots on NBC to announce his charitable contributions (ie, RICK REILLY IS A MORON)—then fine. But the fact remains that the Bears are NOT in the playoffs this year without Jay Cutler; and that we will NOT be in the playoffs anytime in the next four years without Jay Cutler playing at a high level.
Secondly, to all the current and former athletes who blasted Cutler on Twitter or youtube or NFL Network or wherever—You all know, more than anybody, what its like to have reporters or writers make judgements about you, without being privy to any accurate information; how it feels to have people tell you wat kind of person you are without ever having met you. Also, those in glass houses should not throw stones. So, Maurice Jones-Drew, maybe you should look back FIVE WEEKS, and remember that you missed the last two regular season games of the year, with a knee injury—and your team had a chance to win their way into the playoffs, just like the Packers did—now on their way to the Super Bowl. Deion Sanders, do you remember how many times you played in all 16 games in your 13-year career? 3. And one of those times was in your last season, 2005, when you were not even a starter. Derrick Brooks and Zach Follett and all the rest—when is the last time you played quarterback? High School? Middle School? Interesting statistic—of the 32 quarterbacks who started Week 1, only 13 of those started all 16 games.
Thirdly, to the Bears’ organization—this could have been handled better. ALOT BETTER. It is no secret that public perception of Cutler is shaky, to put it mildly. So, once it is decided to keep Cutler out, why not send him to the locker room, and out of the spotlight? Why not come out and immediately say that Cutler had serious knee damage, and that’s why he was kept out of the game? Secrecy leads to Misconception, which led to the events that were mentioned above. The Bears could have done alot more to help Jay Cutler out in this situation.
My theory? Once it was determined that Cutler had knee damage, the Bears’ Coaching/Front Office thought about these factors:
a) Our offensive line could not black ANYBODY.
b) Green Bay’s defense specializes at getting after the QB.
c) One of Cutler’s best assets, mobility, would be gone for the rest of the game.
Maybe the organization was just happy to be there. Remember, at the point Cutler left the game, we were down 14-0, but it felt like 44-0. Why risk further injury to your franchise player by keeping him in the game? Remember what happened to Favre when he tried to play against us while already hurt? CONCUSSION. And Jay has already had one of those this year. I applaud the organization for not begin blinded for the moment and doing what was best, in the long run, for Jay Cutler—again, I just wish they would have handled it differently.
NOW HERE’S THE BEST NEWS—Maybe the most effective motivational tool in professional sports is the “me against the world” card. So much so, that teams will manufacture stories play the role of the underdog that nobody believes in. SO, if Cutler is half of the competitor that we are told he is and that I believe he is; the next four years should be VERY SPECIAL ONES at our Quarterback Position.
Interesting that the Bears lose in this manner. First of all, I would like to say CONGRATULATIONS to the Chicago Bears for their 2010 season; I think if you would have told anyone that the Bears would not only make the playoffs, but host the NFC Championship Game, they would have called you an optimistic homer, at best. But here we were. And I think it is fitting that, in spite of all that has happened over the last 2 years, that this game can be boiled down to an old formula—a dominating defense that fought valiantly, but were let down by an inept offense. Just a couple thoughts before we turn the page to next year:
1) Brian Urlacher should be given some consideration as the best defensive player on the planet. It seems that he always has his best games when the Bears are in their worst situations, and today was no different. 10 tackles, 2 for loss; 1 sack; 1 interception. I think the only thing he did that would be considered a bad play would be the fact that he got tackled by Aaron Rodgers on the way to a TD on his interception. Other than that, he played about as good a game as you can from the spot of middle linebacker.
2) Tim Jennings is obviously the weak link on our defense. To his credit, Tim Jennings has competed well and held his own at times throughout the season, but he was picked on almost exclusively by Greg Jennings, to the tune of 8 catches for 130 yards. We have to upgrade this position this offseason.
3) Left tackle has to be addressed this offseason. Frank Omiyale was exploited often this season; whether it is lack of talent or lack of intensity or bad techinque—this position has to be addressed via free agency or the draft.
4) Our offense needs a big,physical, jam-busting, short-yardage WR. In big short-yardage situations, we were forced to go to RB Matt Forte because none of our WRs can fight a jam and make a big catch. I do hear that a certain WR in Arizona might be looking for a trade. With not too many guys looking like they may amke an impact where we are drafting (either #29 or #30), this may be worth looking into.
But I will say that I am tremendously proud of how our team competed, despite losing our starting QB for all of the second half. Good Season, Bears!!!
Not dressing for the game today are:
OG Herman Johnson
OG Edwin Williams
WR Devin Aromashodu
DT Marcus Harrison
CB Joshua Moore
RB Kahlil Bell
DE Corey Wootton
QB Caleb Hanie is the emergency 3rd QB.
Obviously, the Bears are showing 2 things: 1) They don’t trust that Chris Harris can get through the game, so they activated Steltz, an extra safety; and 2) they plan to use Dez Clark in some 2 TE sets on offense.