Ever played team sports and had an annoying teammate that had biting criticism for every players' mistakes except his own?
Hot-tempered, a little spoiled, a little provincial. Maybe he was the coach's son, a big shot, and always had to be talking. A bully who reveled in conflict, had a 180-degree polar personality once he stepped on the field and was just someone you didn't want to be around?
Competitive juices overflowing, couldn't see straight for the anger and could do no wrong in his own eyes. Pouted and threw his cap on the ground a lot. Wives of his teammates whispering "what's up with that guy?"
Yeah, you know that guy. He has a shelf life of about three years before teammates finally say enough is enough, and he ends up on another team and goes through the same relationship erosion.
He never gets it.
Embattled Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was the subject of much scrutiny following yet another display of whining and lashing out at a teammate. This latest incident occurred on the nationally televised Packers/Bears Monday Night Football game last week and involved OT J'Marcus Webb.
Cutler has a lengthy and checkered history of such episodes dating back to before his 2009 trade from Denver to Chicago for QB Kyle Orton and two first-round draft picks. The trade was supposed to bring stability to the QB position, which had been lacking since the days of Jim McMahon in the mid-'80s.
In October 2010, ESPN The Magazine Senior Writer Dave Fleming did an interesting, somewhat comical piece comparing Jay Cutler and former NFL QB Jeff George. Fleming described Cutler's last "hissy fit" in Denver—Cutler was reportedly upset that the Broncos would dare to consider trading him. He then blew off the owner and demanded a trade.
George got suspended for a sideline tirade against coach June Jones in 1996. Comparing leadership styles, Fleming opined that Cutler projects as "unconcerned, aloof and smirky" then framed George as "aloof, smirky and uninterested."
Fleming pointed out that Cutler had 70 INTs in his first five years while George logged 64. Neither had a winning season in their first four years in the league. Cutler's most delusional statement according to Fleming: After throwing four easy interceptions to the Redskins DeAngelo Hall, Cutler said, "If we had to play them tomorrow, I'd go at him every time, if we could."
Cutler's controversy continued around his demeanor following a leg injury in the third quarter of the Bears/Packers NFC Championship game in 2011. Cutler stood on the sidelines with his arms folded and a blank stare leaving fans and media to wonder aloud what was going through his head and why he wasn't on the playing field.
He later spent most of the second half riding a stationary bike on the sideline—a highly peculiar and annoying sight for many frustrated onlookers. Cutler was later vindicated by a confirmed injury—a sprain to the medial collateral ligament in his left knee. He was defended at the time by MLB Brian Urlacher who said Cutler was a player whose toughness shouldn't be questioned.
Still, for many, when it comes to Cutler, the eyes have it. Or in Cutler's case, they don't—the dull look therein provokes a good deal of the frustration.
Cutler's patience wears thin when things aren't going his way. He has a habit of slamming the ball into the ground when there is a procedure penalty or offensive miscue (other than his own), and he did so again against the Packers.
This past week, retired Bears' teammate Adewale Ogunleye called out Cutler for criticizing OT J'Marcus Webb and bumping Webb on the sideline:
If you are not doing your job, yeah, someone should be allowed to get in your face. But if you live in a glass house, you can't throw any stones... No one is yelling at Jay when he is throwing the ball three times to their defenders...you've got to have some sense of accountability...you start losing the respect of the offensive line when publicly you're bumping people and yelling at them in their face. (via chicagotribune.com)
Current teammate D.J. Moore chimed in that Cutler is "wrong," saying Cutler "is what he is" and "he's always been that way so I don't expect him to change." Moore went on to comment, "When you act like that with your own teammates on the sideline, it's just something different that you normally wouldn't do." (via espn.com)
Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith backed Moore's right to express his opinion publicly. Makes one wonder if Lovie has a lean in this situation and silently appreciates D.J. spinning his records.
While Cutler acknowledged his error in bumping Webb, he fell short of a public apology for berating Webb on the way to the sidelines. Cutler instead rationalized his outburst, insinuating that it was his attempt to motivate Webb and light a fire under him to get him to do his job better. Cutler offered nothing in the way of a proper reaction to his next interception or holding the ball too long resulting in an unnecessary sack.
Questions concerning Jay Cutler's demeanor, attitude and leadership skills have been fueling mounting criticism for more than three years now. I agree with D.J. Moore that Cutler is not going to change, he will always be a power tool, and another unfortunate incident is inevitable.
A time is going to come when Chicago Bears management will have to make a hard decision on Cutler's value as a quarterback and teammate—all things considered. For my money, those two number-one draft picks look pretty good right now.
Jay Cutler has his moments, but he is a shrinking violet in big games or when he finds himself in the national spotlight.
As for Chicago Bears quarterback stability? There's not much right now. Maybe the Bears can bring in June Jones and salvage the situation. He has experience with these types.