Being a fan of the Chicago Bears for a very long time, I've seen the merry go round at Quarterback spin round and round, season after season. After so many spins, it becomes nauseating. In 2009 when a certain strong armed, 26 year old Quarterback (fresh off a Pro Bowl season) was acquired, expectations for a team just 3 years removed from a Super Bowl appearance themselves shot into orbit. 5 years later, one playoff win and a fired head coach later, here we are. The above mentioned Quarterback (Jay Cutler) has endured more criticism than "Sexy Rexy" (Rex Grossman) and has been ripped for everything from his suspect decision making (league leading 26 INTs in 09') and risk taking to his facial expressions and body language on the sideline to his aloof demeanor in post game press conferences and interviews. Are we asking ourselves WHY the young man from Santa Claus, Ind. is exhibiting this behavior? I mean it has to be pretty tough to be expected to make gourmet chicken salad out of chicken crap every season (an offensive line that looked like subway turnstiles, pass catchers you don't trust to come down with the ball for you if they DO run the correct route and offensive coordinators that at times couldn't even get the call in before the play clock expired???). Ladies and Gents, up until last season, this was Jay Cutler's professional life. I mean sure, Cutler isn't totally absolved of criticism for his shortcomings as a Pro passer. We've seen him try to drill a pass through two defenders, hold the ball too long leading to sacks (which also led to fumbles), throwing off his back foot relying on his extraordinary arm strength too much. All of these things are classic evidence of a guy trying to do more than he should have to because his components aren't doing THEIR jobs. Imagine if YOU were under constant duress almost immediately after the ball was snapped or your receivers don't go up and win 1 on 1 battles for the football or your offensive coordinators (which had their own "merry go round" going) were consistently out coached by the opposition. How "cheery" would you be on the sidelines? How much smiling and hi-fiving would YOU be doing? How many stupid questions would you be ready to happily answer from reporters after games? To be honest, if you were smiling, jovial and happy with all this chaos happening around you. I'd think your elevator didn't go all the way to the top.
After leading the league in interceptions in 2009 (with 26), Cutler shaved that number by 10 the following year (in 15 games) to 7 the year after that (in 10 games) to 14 in 2012 (in 15 games). The funny thing is he's STILL regarded as this INT machine for some reason? Some people not only refuse to let go of the past but won't give credit for what's happening right in front of their eyes as well. The trend in the above mentioned stats is games were starting to be missed (after not missing a game in his 3 years as a starter in Denver). With the less than stellar to flat out terrible pass protection he's had to endure during this stretch, it's a miracle he wasn't out longer. After some much needed "housecleaning", after 2012, Cutler was now being put in position to excel. A new mind was put in charge to correct an offense that was at the bottom of the league in most categories. The offensive line was totally reconstructed with a mix of 2 new veterans and 2 rookie draft picks to add to the 1 holdover from the year before. The pass catchers were now boasting legit size and playmakers he could trust to go up and get those 1 on 1 balls in situations you expect your pass catchers to win. Things were turning around for the much maligned signal caller.