Chicago Bears: Cutler and Offense Not Quite Ready for Prime Time

Todd ThorstensonAnalyst ISeptember 14, 2012

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 13: Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears checks his hand after being sacked by Mike Daniels #76 of the Green Bay Packers during the second half of the game at Lambeau Field on September 13, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Chicago Bears offense was certainly a confident bunch going into Thursday night's matchup with their rival Green Bay Packers after putting up 41 points in their opener against the Colts.

However, somehow I don't believe they left Green Bay with the same swagger.

As almost everyone knows by now, Jay Cutler was sacked seven times and was pressured and hurried repeatedly.  All of this led to him throwing four inceptions and a 23-10 loss to the Packers.

The Bears offensive line reverted back to their 2011 form and for the record, that's not a good thing.

J'Marcus Webb had another rough outing at left tackle and displayed why many people felt the Bears needed to do more to address that position in the offseason.  He was consistently abused by Clay Matthews and I mean abused.  Honestly, at times it didn't even look like the Bears had anyone at the left tackle position at all.

However, Webb wasn't the only one guilty of poor play on Thursday night—no one on the offensive line played well.  There was constant pressure up the middle as well as from the ends.

As bad as the offensive line was, Jay Cutler wasn't much better as he made several ill-advised decisions and crumbled under pressure.

Sure, you could say that he made those bad decisions as a result of the pressure that was allowed by his line—and you wouldn't necessarily be wrong.

However, we've seen this show before with Jay Cutler.  His line does nothing to protect him, he gets pressured and sacked several times, he becomes frustrated, and then he proceeds to just start throwing passes up for grabs.

He's simply got to be better than that. 

Aaron Rodgers didn't have much protection either, but he found a way to get it done.  If he doesn't have open receivers he gets out of the pocket or gets rid of the ball by throwing it away.  Cutler on the other hand tends to hold the ball too long, starts to panic, backpedals and then throws off his back foot—which often results in a lazy pass that is intercepted.

Here's the deal with Jay Cutler.  He's a solid NFL quarterback who has his ups and downs—that's what he is.  He's never as bad as he seems when he's bad and never as good as he seems when he's good. 

He's certainly no Aaron Rodgers and never will be, but he's definitely got to be better than he was on Thursday night in order for the Bears to be successful.

Yes, if his offensive line gives him better protection he will certainly put up better numbers, but isn't that the case for every quarterback?  If you want to be an elite quarterback, you sometimes have to make some plays when there isn't anything there.

Look, this wasn't all the fault of Cutler and his line either.  The receivers weren't able to get open against a fairly suspect secondary and even when they did get open, they couldn't hang on to the ball.

Brandon Marshall dropped a sure touchdown, Devin Hester dropped a third-down pass that hit him in the chest, and even the dependable Earl Bennett decided not to come back to the ball on a pass that cost Cutler an interception.

You also have to question the Bears coaching staff and their ability to adjust to what the Green Bay defense was doing.  It was obvious they weren't going to let Marshall beat them as they had a safety over the top of him all night, but that shouldn't mean that the Bears can't move the ball.

The middle of the field was open all night and other than a few crossing patterns to Matt Forte the Bears didn't exploit that at all.  Where were the rest of the receivers and what routes were they running?

On the other side, Rodgers and company just hit one crossing pattern after another along with a few quick slants for good measure.

Overall, it was just an absolute mess from almost everyone on the offensive side of the ball for the Bears. 

The good news is that they have extra time off due to the Thursday game and up next is the St. Louis Rams.

I expect that the Bears will come out strong offensively against a very average Rams defense and restore some faith in their fans for at least one week.

After that, it's back to prime time football as they head to Dallas to take on the Cowboys on a Monday night.

Let's hope Cutler and company have at least a little swagger back by then.

Because right now it's long gone.