This morning, I wrote about the scrutiny Bears quarterback Jay Cutler finds himself under yet again, about how many people—former players, the media, fans—are calling for Cutler to grow up after he clearly lost control at some points during the Bears' 23-10 loss to the Packers, with the shoulder bump of J'Marcus Webb the best example.
The criticism is fair to a great extent. You are the quarterback and while an occasional loss of cool is fine, you can't have a meltdown and start physically hitting teammates. It's clear that there is some effect on his teammates, as Mike Wright of ESPNChicago reported that DJ Moore had some criticism of Cutler's actions Thursday night.
That has to change.
Here's the thing, though: Cutler is justified in his anger. He has every right to be angry at his team.
That doesn't mean he shouldn't strive to hold his composure better. We all do. I'm as guilty as anyone of losing my cool when I shouldn't or when I should try not to.
Cutler just hit a breaking point.
I said this in the comments of another piece last week but, Cutler was sold a bill of goods to a shoddy product. We've heard Cutler give lip service to the offensive line in the past, but it seemed like this time out he believed.
Offensive coordinator Mike Tice came in and he and head coach Lovie Smith swore up and down that the talent to succeed on the offensive line was there. Cutler bought into it, most of you bought into it and by the preseason, even I started to buy into it.
However, after a decent game against the Indianapolis Colts, the offensive line fell apart against the Green Bay Packers. Looking at Pro Football Focus, Cutler doesn't have too many QB hits on him—because if someone hits him, it's when he is sacked.
Seven sacks on Thursday must have felt like the same old thing to Cutler, who has been the most sacked and abused quarterback in the league for as long as anyone can remember.
Some of that is on him (needs to get the ball out quicker), some of that was Mike Martz (ridiculous scheme and number of steps in a drop), but a lot of it is the talent at the offensive line.
Not this year, though. No, this year was different. Cutler was told that it was all scheme and Martz.
It was a totally believable story, as we've seen Martz fail in spot after spot after he left the Rams.
It was also not really 100 percent true, as we have seen since.
Even against the Colts, J'Marcus Webb struggled. Gabe Carimi as well, though his development has been hindered by his injury from last year.
The line looked fairly good in preseason because Cutler's three- and five-step drops were getting the ball out quick enough to overcome some of the vanilla defenses you always see in preseason.
Bend but don't break has been the mantra of the defense for years, and it actually seemed to be working on offense as well. It wasn't, though, and it was only a matter of time.
Cutler hurt himself on Thursday with some bad throws. He was also hurt by some bad drops by his receivers.
However, you don't get sacked seven times because the receivers are dropping the ball. You get hit seven times because a struggling offensive line can't stop even a four-man rush.
So that "We're OK" that Cutler got sold was a load of malarkey. At this point, after a season where he finally succumbed to injury, this far into his career, is it a shock that Cutler had enough?
Maybe he calms down and it's all fine. Maybe they play the Rams and things go swimmingly, with few sacks or QB hits and all is well.
However, at this point, even just this far into the season, we know that this is the same thing it's been every year.
It's hard to blame new GM Phil Emery when there were no great left tackles in free agency and he'd been handed a roster devoid of line talent. Former GM Jerry Angelo was not the shrewdest talent evaluator.
There is more than a little blame in the lapse of Lovie Smith and Mike Tice. I'm not saying they were lying about their belief in this offensive line, though it has to disturb you that they might have been so far off.
There is little to nothing they can do right now in terms of upgrading talent. There have been adjustments they could make to help the offensive line out. More blocking from the tight ends (sorry Kellen Davis), more from the fullback and running back positions.
When the heat is on, get a lot of short screens to Matt Forte (when healthy) and Michael Bush, or short routes with Brandon Marshall (where his size can box out defenders) or even just run the ball more, though they rushed it plenty in the loss to the Packers.
There seemed to be no real adjustment to the pressure, though, and Cutler took a hammering.
So, feel free to be frustrated with Cutler's actions in shouldering Webb. Feel free to be annoyed with him over the bad throws.
Understand, though, while he could show it in a better or more mature way, his anger is pretty justified by this time in his Chicago career.
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