As Long as Jay Cutler Is the QB, Chicago Bears Will Always Underachieve
The Bears started as one of the NFL's best teams, but have predictably fizzled out as the season has progressed. Chicago has won just two of its last seven contests, the last a critical loss to the Green Bay Packers which resulted in the Packers winning the NFC North.
Chicago now sits at just 8-6, and the underachieving Cutler deserves a large amount of the blame.
Cutler has been plagued with injuries yet again, which shouldn't be surprising at all. In his seven-year career, Cutler has played a full 16-game season only three times. This year he's been battling neck and knee issues regularly.
The numbers for Cutler this year are not pretty. In 13 games he has thrown for only 2,630 yards with 17 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He's been mediocre in most categories, including just a 59 percent completion percentage and an 80 quarterback rating.
With a quarterback rating that is second-worst in his career and a yards per game average (202.3) second-worst only to his rookie season, Cutler seems to be headed in the wrong direction.
These numbers are startling when realizing the Bears have the No. 11 ranked rushing attack thanks to Matt Forte and Michael Bush. Cutler is also fortunate enough to be able to lock onto a No. 1 receiver in Brandon Marshall every play. Marshall accounts for around 1,300 of Cutler's passing yards, and nine of his touchdown passes.
To be fair, Cutler is working with a horrendous offensive line that has allowed him to be sacked 35 times already. That's tied for second-most in his career, but it may reach the ridiculous 52 times he was brought down in 2010 at this pace.
Perhaps Cutler is just unlucky. He has a history of unfortunate events and under-performing dating all the way back to his collegiate career, as the Chicago Sun-Times accurately illustrates:
At Vanderbilt, he never played in a bowl game and never beat a Division-I team with a winning record. He was 0-3 in overtime...When he had a chance to beat No. 19 LSU in 2004, he suffered a neck injury. He had a chance to beat No. 13 Florida in 2005 with a two-point conversion after a late touchdown to Earl Bennett...Cutler threw a pick in OT...With the Denver Broncos, Cutler had four opportunities to win one game to make the playoffs and lost each one...And last season, with the Bears en route to a fifth consecutive victory and 7-3 record, Cutler suffered a broken thumb in typically uncanny fashion — chasing a defender after an interception...
Cutler's string of underachieving has continued this season, and there seems to be no end in sight. He's led a team over eight wins just twice in his seven-year career. Chicago has eight wins this year with two games to go, but with how Cutler has been playing, it seems like a long shot.
Another issue that doesn't help Cutler is his attitude toward the media and teammates. He has a track record of being short with the media, and even publicly blasting his teammates in front of a national audience.
Will the Bears even win anything significant with Jay Cutler?
Cutler has struggled a lot throughout the course of his football career, so his frustration is understandable. Instead of taking out his energy on teammates, he should begin to focus on how he can improve on the field.
As hinted at earlier, Cutler locks on to one receiver entirely too much. He also suffers with pocket presence issues and completely loses his form randomly.
These are correctable issues, but after seven years it doesn't appear Cutler is making an effort to change. At least, that's how it looks to most, as most of the media attention is focused on his attitude and struggling play.
Cutler has a variety of issues and negative trends that make it clear—as long as he's under center in Chicago, the Bears will suffer. Look no further than the roller coaster that is the Bears' 2012 season for the perfect example.
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