The PMS Report: Chicago's Issue Lies Deeper Than Jay Cutler
By: The Football Girl | Posted: September 19, 2012
A couple of years ago, we at TheFootballGirl.com covered a Jay Cutler charity event, a benefit for his foundation that supports children with diabetes, a condition Cutler himself suffers from. The event was a glitzy casino cruise on Lake Michigan complete with food and frivolity. Attendance was good, except for one oddity. Only one of Cutler’s teammates, former Bears TE Greg Olsen, showed up.
One teammate showing up to your charity event is pretty embarrassing, and certainly telling, even for a guy like Jay Cutler. But it wasn’t surprising.
Nor was Cutler screaming at and bumping Bears LT J’Marcus Webb Sunday for allowing a sack during last Thursday’s game against the Packers. If any NFL quarterback is going to break some unwritten football code against bumping your teammate, it’s Cutler. In fact, when ESPN 1000 Chicago hosts Waddle and Silvy mentioned this unwritten rule during the Jay Cutler Show yesterday, Cutler’s first response was, “Who makes that rule?’
Later in the show he did admit fault, albeit Cutler style:
"I probably shouldn't have bumped him. You know, I'll go with that. As far as me yelling at him and trying to get him going in the game, I don't regret that. Shouldn't have bumped him. I'll stick to that."
Despite an engagement, a newborn baby and discovering a newfound skill called smiling this offseason, Jay Cutler is the same player he’s always been -- a jerk with swagger so unwarranted it’s laughable.
I could go on for hours about all the issues with Cutler, at least the Cutler we see publicly, but we’ve all been there, done that. Particularly me.
The real issue is not Cutler’s personality quirks and how they affect his teammates, it’s that no one has reined him in.
That’s right, I’m looking at you, Lovie Smith.
From the moment Cutler arrived in Chicago in 2009, he started causing problems. Like when he called out WR Devin Hester in their first preseason game together. From that game to the NFC Championship to what transpired last Thursday, Cutler’s relationship with teammates has been an issue. And it doesn’t appear as if Smith gives a damn.
When asked about the Webb incident and the kind of leader he’d like Cutler to be on the field, Smith responded by saying, "It’s pretty simple: I like Jay Cutler and everything that he is.”
At the time, he had no issue with nickelback D.J. Moore calling Cutler’s criticism of Webb “unfair,” this time by offering a specific explanation:
"D.J. Moore said that? I have no problem with any of our guys ... I have a problem with a ‘teammate said' or ‘source said.’ But if you put your name behind something and you want to voice your opinion, you can voice it,” he said.
In other words, Smith seems completely unaffected by this high drama, much as he does on the sideline while his team is in the midst of a game.
Now the Bears are a notoriously private organization, so there is a chance Smith comes to work with a gauntlet each morning. However, based on the lack of change from Cutler, that’s hard to believe. I can think of a bevy of coaches who would never accept this type of public squabbling among their players and never condone it in a press conference. Maybe a “this is a private matter and we’re dealing with it internally,” but certainly none of this “I like Jay Cutler and D.J. Moore can say what he wants, moving on” business. Care, Smith, care. Even if you are secretly behind Mike Singletary behind closed doors, your players see your public statements, too.
If I’m J’Marcus Webb, I’m trying my hardest next week because I care about my family and my career, but I’m not giving the cliché “110% percent” because beyond how I look, I don’t particularly care if my quarterback gets his head beaten to the ground. A good coach gets you to play well individually and coalesce as a team. (That’s why Randy Moss is currently thriving in San Francisco even though he’s being used as more of a decoy.)
Smith has been a player favorite because he treats his players like adults. That is certainly an important element of coaching since, after all, these guys are adults. But a head coach needs to be an authority figure. In Smith’s case, priority number 1 should be is reining in Jay Cutler. Of course he will never be able to change Cutler; that’s not the goal. But that red carpet Chicago laid down for Cutler in 2009 because he was the city’s first franchise quarterback since Daniel Burnham was alive needs to be personally pulled by Smith.
(Quite frankly, in a league where multiple guys are putting up 4,000 and 5,000 passing seasons, Cutler who hasn’t achieved 4,000 yards or a passer rating over 87 in Chicago has been a disappointment.)
Cutler’s antics have gone on too long. He needs real ramifications for his actions. He needs a coach who can dig deep and find whatever speckles of leadership may lie within Cutler’s body.
Since Smith has proven publicly unwilling and privately unable to handle this task, perhaps the Bears should seek out a coach who can.
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