Reporting Adam Hoge
By Adam Hoge-
GREEN BAY, Wis. (CBS) — In all fairness, Jay Cutler’s “good luck” comment to the Packers’ secondary was largely taken out of context and blown up by the national media.
The confidence Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall preached all week, however, was not.
While Cutler was not trying to publicly challenge the Packers, he was talking a big game.
Unfortunately, he didn’t live up to it Thursday night — on or off the field.
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The Bears quarterback finished just 11-of-27 for 126 yards with four interceptions to just one touchdown. He posted a quarterback rating of 28.2, but at one point it was hovering near Rex Grossman-like single digits.
And while there weren’t many offensive stats to account for, Cutler did record a controversial shoulder bump delivered to his left tackle, more shouts towards Marshall than completions and a new record for TV shots of an unhappy Bears quarterback.
That’s a hard record to break.
While Cutler’s sideline demeanor is often overblown, Thursday night it was not. He painted a picture of a self-pitying leader who instead of rallying the troops, attacked them verbally.
And that’s just what happened on the field.
Fair or not, most leaders take all the blame for a performance like Thursday’s, even though they certainly do not deserve all of it. But Cutler? He hardly took any.
How did he address the offensive line?
“I’m not going to walk to the sideline and act like everything is OK. It’s just not going to happen, because it’s not.”
The offensive scheme?
“They played two-man 90 percent of the game so we got to get other guys involved and get them out of it. We never challenged them in that and they never had to get out of it so it was an easy game for them.”
And his own performance?
“Good and bad.”
I think Bears fans everywhere would like to find the “good”. While Cutler’s protection was not adequate enough in the first half, it improved in the second half and gave him time to throw the ball. Most of the second half sacks were on the quarterback, not the line.
And when given a chance to give the offensive line credit for performing better in the second half, Cutler declined.
“Well, we got into a passing game so it was hard on them. They were playing two-man behind them so that’s going to be tough,” he said.
After verbally and physically — the NFL Network caught a shoulder bump Cutler delivered to J’Marcus Webb while he was screaming at him — abusing his offensive line during the game, the least Cutler could do after the game was give his linemen credit for improving as it went on.
So are Cutler’s antics going too far?
When asked if he lost his composure Thursday night, the quarterback quickly responded, “No.”
That was it. And there was little self-blame or accountability in anything else he said to reporters.
For the most part, Cutler’s passion is admirable. It’s obvious he wants to win and it’s refreshing that after three years the Bears finally gave him the weapons to win.
“I mean, I care about this,” he said Thursday when defending his actions towards his offensive line. “This isn’t just a hobby for me. I’m not doing this for my health. I’m trying to win football games. I’m trying to get first downs. When we’re not doing the little things, when we’re not doing things the right way consistently, I’m going to say something. If they want a quarterback who doesn’t care, they can get somebody else.”
Certainly, Bears fans do not want someone else. They waited long enough for their franchise quarterback to arrive. But now that the Bears are finally treating him like a franchise quarterback, it’s time for him to perform. Cutler, himself, has admitted he is finally equipped to win. It was just Tuesday when he bragged about his new weaponry and subtly took a shot at Jerry Angelo, Mike Martz and maybe even Ron Turner.
“If I would have had this crew when I first got here, with Mike Tice and (Jeremy Bates) dialing stuff up, we would’ve being doing the same thing we’re doing now,” he said two days before the Bears took on the Packers.
OK, Jay. You’re on record. You believe you have what you need to win. That means you can’t deflect all the blame when you don’t.
Adam is the Sports Editor for CBSChicago.com and specializes in coverage of the Bears, White Sox and college sports. He was born and raised in Lincoln Park and attended St. Ignatius College Prep before going off to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he earned a Journalism degree. Follow him on Twitter @AdamHogeCBS and read more of his columns here.