Performance can change the perception of players in the NFL. Coming into the season, there were people unsure if Jay Cutler was the right quarterback to lead the Chicago Bears back to the playoffs.
“I’ve been on your show numerous times,” Michael Lombardi, of NFL.com, told Mully and Hanley. “And I’ve always been a 1,000% Jay Cutler fan. I think too much is made of Jay Cutler’s interceptions.”
LISTEN: Michael Lombardi On The Mully And Hanley Show
But that’s a result of Cutler having the ability, and confidence, to make the tough throws that other quarterbacks can’t. Last season showcased his confidence, this season is showcasing his confidence and ability.
“Sometimes he’s trying to fit the ball into tight spots,” Lombardi said. “But to me, Jay Cutler is one of the top 10 quarterbacks in the league. He’s the reason the Bears are in this game.”
Despite throwing for 3,548 yards, 25 touchdowns and 16 interceptions with a 60% completion rate, there seems to be this ever-present feeling, that the “old Jay Cutler” or the “bad Jay Cutler” is hanging around just waiting to come out and sink a Bears’ drive or lose a game for them. Fans, and analysts, have been critical of Cutler for forcing the passes that resulted in interceptions.
“I think often times it’s easy to say ‘well the old Jay Cutler is going to show up.’ And as soon as he throws an interception, ‘see I told you so.’ To me, that’s not analyzing football. Analyzing football is studying the game, understanding what he’s being asked to do and then understanding how he’s performing in those situations.”
From Lombardi’s logic, you get the sense that there is no such as the “old Jay Cutler.” There is only Jay Cutler, and he’s one win away from leading the Bears to the Super Bowl.