It’s so easy to overreact from week to week in the NFL. A week ago today, Chicago was feeling good about its 2-6 record and talk of Jay Cutler’s leadership and strong performance against a much-ballyhooed Minnesota defense rang through the airwaves of 670 The Score and ESPN 1000.
When your team has been to the playoffs just once in the past 10 years, it’s easy for someone like myself to cling to every last shred of hope, especially in an NFL season where each individual game takes on so much more significance than in the other major sports. For this Bears season, despite an awful record, it felt as though the NFC North could finally be the division that annoys the rest of the league with an 8-8 or even 7-9 team winning the division. The NFC as a whole has just been bad this season, so that general sense of blah made it seem like the Bears could have a shot to back their way into the playoffs if they could rattle off a few victories in a row.
That last bit of hope was mercifully shattered on Sunday, almost single-handedly by Jay Cutler.
So really, instead of piling on the guy, Chicago should be happy that Jay brought us all back to reality (or at least this guy) and put us out of our misery. We can now go back to focusing on development of the young talent on this team such as Leonard Floyd, and hope the Bears front office uses their picks wisely in the draft.
The front office has shown bits and pieces of solid draft picks, while at the same time not drafting a QB has long been a criticism by the fans and media. Although this upcoming draft doesn’t look to have a surefire franchise QB, the Bears will almost certainly be drafting a quarterback. The real question is, what happens to Jay?
To the seeming majority in this city, the answer is simple: bye-bye Cutty.
But I don’t think it should be that simple. Some will say that despite Cutler’s affordable contract and apparent talents, he is what he is at this point and it’s best for everyone to just move on. I understand that sentiment, it seems almost kind to both parties to separate, as I’m sure Jay will look back at his career and wonder, “What if I was on a team with any shred of continuity? What would my career have looked like?”
The obvious counter to that line of thinking is, OK well who plays quarterback for the 2017 Bears? Brian Hoyer makes even less sense than Cutler because he is also not the long term answer and is clearly less talented. Could you start a rookie quarterback and hope to get lucky? Sure, but how can you hand a strong defense and powerful rushing attack to a rookie?
To me that sounds like a waste of the good years these defenders have left in them. With a good rushing attack and a run-preventing defense, an average quarterback can win in the NFL. Jay Cutler may not be the guy Chicago was overjoyed for when Jerry Angelo traded for him, but I think everyone in the city would at least acknowledge that Jay is an average NFL quarterback. He has his faults just like everyone not named Rodgers or Brady. Can he win you games? Yes. Can he lose you games? Of course. Does he deserve another shot with this team, playing for his contract on a year-to-year basis? I don’t see why not.
Until this team knows they have the answer at quarterback, there is just no reason to not start 2017 with Jay Cutler under center. If he falters and the Bears front office has actually drafted a young QB of the future, then see ya later Jay, have fun holding the clipboard for the rest of the season. But until there is that young stud QB under center this should be Jay’s job. I hope someone can come and take it from him sooner rather than later, but until that happens, Jay Cutler still gives the Bears the best chance to win, and that’s all anyone should care about.