The Bears Really Need to Keep Jay Cutler

“TRADE JAY CUTLER! HE SUCKS! BRING BACK JOSH MCCOWN!” This seems to be the general consensus amongst Bears’ fans when asked about their franchise quarterback. Many believe its Cutler’s fault that the Bears are 4-6 and tied for third place in the NFC North. However, upon further examination, Cutler has a career high completion percentage (67.1%), is on pace to set a career high for touchdowns, and on pace to get another 4,000 yard passing season. Does that sound like a QB that you want to get rid of? Here is a list of reasons why the Bears should stick with the embattled gunslinger:

http://www.chicagobears.com/multimedia/videos/NFLN_Cutlers_25yard_run/dcf8d163-432a-4393-a975-f86b63d16bb8

  • Talent around him:

The wide receivers surrounding Cutler in 2009: Devin Hester, Earl Bennett, Jonny Knox, and Rashied Davis.

2010: See above.

2011: Hester, Bennett, Knox, and Roy Williams

Prior to the 2012 season, in which Chicago acquired Brandon Marshall, Cutler has spent the majority of his Bears career on offense starved of playmakers. Granted this season he is throwing to two of the best wide receivers in the NFL, along with tight end Martellus Bennett, Cutler has only played a total of 22 games with all of these aforementioned players. That is a little bit more than ONE SEASON. All of these players need more time to get acclimated to each other and the offense. Speaking of the offense…

http://www.chicagobears.com/multimedia/videos/CBN_Miller_spinning_TD_catch/a1829e84-5480-4731-a60d-059b872dc260

  • Marc Trestman needs more time with team:

Here is a list of 21st century coaches, the length of time it took each coach to be successful with their team, and the highest level of success each team reached:

  • Mike McCarthey: 5th year with team, won Super Bowl XLV
  • Ron Rivera: 3rd year with team, 1st playoff appearance since 2008
  • Pete Carroll: 4th year with team, won Super Bowl XLVIII
  • Tom Coughlin: 4th year with team, won Super Bowl XLII
  • Sean Peyton: 4th year with team, won Super Bowl XLIV

Firing Trestman after Year 2 is not a smart idea, Bears fans. Football teams improve with continuity, and Trestman and the rest of his coaching staff need another few years to better implement and improve upon their game plan. Even though the offense has struggled at times, this can be attributed to the playbook expanding and becoming increasingly more complex. After a full year to digest the intricacies of the playbook, the Bears should be in the prime position for a comeback.

http://www.chicagobears.com/multimedia/videos/NFLN_Jefferys_27yard_TD/24b16ee7-edef-4bc6-b4a6-87ecc5093204

  • Age is working WITH him:

The ten oldest quarterbacks to have ever played in the Super Bowl range from age 36 to age 38. The record of these ten QBs is 5-5. At 31 years old, Cutler does not appear too old to win the Lombardi Trophy. If anything, it seems he’s reaching his quarterback prime. Why would we want to cut bait with the most talented signal-caller in franchise history at the beginning of his prime? He turns the ball over too much, and the timeliness of these mistakes can often cost the Bears, but the talent is too tantalizing. Turnovers are easy to correct, but talent isn’t learned overnight. In 2007, the New York Giants won the Lombardi Trophy with Eli Manning, a quarterback who threw 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions, resulting in an interception rate of 3.8%. In 2011, that very same team with that very same quarterback won the championship. The difference is that Manning’s stat line read 29 touchdowns, 16 interceptions, and an interception rate of 2.7%. It IS POSSIBLE for Cutler to have a season of sub-3% interception rate. It is possible for Cutler, at least for one magical season, to lead Chicago to the Super Bowl.

http://www.chicagobears.com/multimedia/videos/NFLN_Jefferys_10yard_TD/305e6872-8e7d-44ca-8b3b-40552eea6d7a

I would like to leave you on this note, emailed to Bill Simmon’s Grantland by a fan that shares a similar viewpoint on Jay Cutler:

Q: I was just reading your comparison of Jay Cutler and Jeff George and it sent me off to check some NFL stats. Here’s a blind QB comparison for you based on career stats:

QB1: 61.6% completion, 7.2yds/att, 4.8 TD%, 3.4 INT%, 85.5 QB rating
QB2: 62.0% completion, 7.1yds/att, 5.0 TD%, 3.3 INT%, 86.0 QB rating

QB1 is the immortal Jay Cutler. QB2? Brett Favre. 

(Courtesy of Bill Simmons of Grantland.com: http://grantland.com/the-triangle/welcome-to-the-week-12-thunderdome/).

Teams would not be interested in Cutler if he was a bad quarterback. He would be treated the same way Kyle Orton, Mark Sanchez, and Brandon Weeden were treated the previous off-season. Those players generated very little buzz when they hit the open market. However, since this is not the case with Cutler, the Bears’ front office should use this interest as a message: he is a good quarterback. The team needs to give him more time, and possibly a better defense, in order to help him flourish. The majority of the pieces are there, the team just needs to exhibit some patience and trust in order to finally end the thirty year championship drought in one of the greatest sports teams in the country.

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Showboating: Now Coming to a University Near You

This past Saturday, the Utah Utes were routed 51-27 by the Oregon Ducks. The game was much closer than it appeared, especially early on in the first quarter. The key play occurred early in the second quarter when Utah’s Travis Wilson connected with Kaelin Clay for what appeared to be a 78 yard score. However, Clay never crossed the goal line with the ball; he dropped it on the one yard and not in the end zone. This led to Oregon’s Joe Walker to run the fumble a hundred yards for a touchdown. The 14-point swing was enough to completely change the momentum of the game: sapping it from Utah advancing the drive of Oregon. The Ducks would score 24 unanswered points in the second quarter, sealing the fate for the fourth ranked team in the country.

Kaelin Clay is not the first player to make an in game gaff like the one on Saturday night; DeSean Jackson and the infamous Leon Lett are the first two names to come to mind.

 

The incident this past week highlights a problem that has slowly emerged in the league ever since “Neon” Deon “Primetime” Sanders was drafted: some players are more concerned with showing off than actually producing. While it is understood that football is a sport driven by stars, like Peyton Manning, Richard Sherman, and Jamesis Winston, the desire to become a star should never outshine the desire to be a great player. Players who are considered “stars” did not rise to such heights by having the flashiest highlights or most ridiculous plays; rather, they earned that recognition through hard work and results.

One would hope that Clay learned his lesson about finishing plays and that this incident lights a fire under him so that he goes on to be a productive college player and professional. Prior to the fumble, Utah was imposing their will on Oregon. Had that touchdown stood, there may have been a very different outcome. Unfortunately, that Utah win will forever remain in the land of “what if…?