If you listen closely, you can almost hear the people jumping off of the Bear’s bandwagon that they were so eager to climb onto less than 1 week ago.
The Bears followed up a dominating performance against the Colts with one of those games that make you scratch your head and wonder if the Monstars from Space Jam came and sucked all of the offense’s talent away with their magic basketball.
Taking a humiliating loss like that against the Green Bay Packers in prime time on national TV made 1 loss feel like 16.
What makes things ironic was that for once, at least in my lifetime, Jay Cutler and the Bears offense had a swagger about them.
Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall were daring the Packers defense to play physical against them coming off of a game where they dissected the Colts secondary to the tune of 314 passing yards.
The Bears got exactly what they wished for… and then some.
The Packers pass rush mauled the offensive line to gather 7 sacks and kept consistent pressure on Cutler to force tons of bad throws and 4 interceptions. Right into that secondary they were taunting only hours beforehand.
What stood out to a lot of people from Thursday’s game was the way Cutler dealt with his underperforming linemen, especially left tackle J’Marcus Webb.
Cutler isn’t exactly a mild-mannered guy, but this is the first time we’ve seen him physically contact a teammate out of sheer disgust and anger. This is also the first time he’s built up enough confidence to “talk trash” leading up to a game.
Cutler has taken the emotional rollercoaster from the highest of heights to the lowest of the lows since week 1. Jay’s actions have always come under scrutiny here inChicago. For some, this is just an “add this to the list” type of situation.
But others have serious issues with how Cutler handled his faltering offense on Thursday.
Mark Schlereth even came on Mike and Mike in the Morning on ESPN Radio and said if he was Webb, he would have swung back at Cutler and started a fight (skip to 11:40 for Schlereth sound bite).
Just like everything Cutler does in the Windy City, there are differing opinions among Bear’s fans about how he showed his emotions. I can see the reasoning behind both opinions.
There are some fans who’ve applauded his show of anger. You can’t just sit around and accept poor performance, and some people like that edginess that Jay possesses.
Personally, I would be pretty mad too if I was the 3rd most sacked quarterback in the NFL since 2009 while still missing 7 games due to injury.
I would also be furious if my linemen were performing so bad that even 3 and 4 man rushes were enough to get pressure on me.
The whole reason why Cutler threw so many interceptions was because the Packers were able to drop 6-8 guys in coverage routinely. They almost always had Brandon Marshall double or triple covered.
It also doesn’t help when you have to keep tight ends and running backs in the backfield to help block. That removes receiving options and it obviously didn’t help the pass protection.
Every good team leader confronts struggling players to try to prevent their mistakes from happening again. We even saw Aaron Rodgers yelling at James Jones when he cut a route short in the 4th quarter that resulted in an interception.
And it’s not as if Cutler hasn’t chewed out his linemen before. But I honestly think Cutler’s physical show of emotion was his way of telling the front office and coaching staff that this was the final straw.
He’s commented to the media on their play before, but at the end of the day all he’s left to do is half-heartedly say “but those guys will practice hard and continue to improve.”
He’s confronted his linemen before, but has that solved anything? No. So maybe he figured a more excessive show of emotion might be necessary to provoke change.
But for every point Cutler has in this situation, there’s a definitive counterpoint.
I do think Cutler needs to take a more drastic approach to get through to his linemen, but to react physically IN CLEAR VIEW on national TV was uncalled for.
Peyton Manning is a textbook example of a leader who will confront struggling players face to face, but he (usually) takes care of that off camera, on the sidelines, away from the center of attention. And it remains a strictly verbal confrontation.
Cutler has tried to defend his actions by saying that he reacted towards Webb like that because he “cares too much” about winning.
Listen, J’Marcus Webb has a lot of quirks (just ask his Twitter followers), but I doubt he or any other Bear cares any less about winning.
Though he’s right to assume fans should want someone who does care vs. someone who doesn’t, it’s a poor excuse. What quarterback “doesn’t care”?
So while I understand Cutler’s frustration, he needed to find a better way to deal with it. End of discussion.
Now Cutler has to wait 9 days to take the field again and try to silence the growing number of critics who were praising him and the retooled offense just days ago.
I predicted they would fall to the Packers, but the way the offense looked in week 1 and how the team’s swagger skyrocketed in the following days gave me the false hope that we had a shot to win.
The way Cutler lashed out at his teammates, compounded with his atrocious performance, will leave him at the bottom of the emotional valley for what will seem like an eternity.
What’s your opinion on Cutler’s actions? Was he right to confront Webb that way or did he cross the line? Do you think this will have a carry over effect to the team’s performance next week?Follow paulmbanks