They have claimed Jay Cutler isn’t tough because he only went out there for about four ineffective series after his grade 2 MCL sprain. They claim to know Lovie Smith must have been lying when he said he wouldn’t allow #6 back in.
Cutler played an entire season with undiagnosed Diabetes. He had sub-par protection at Vanderbilt and he’s been sacked more than any other quarterback in the NFL this year. Unless you’ve had the exact same injury as Cutler (MCL tear), you can’t tweet that you would have played because you don’t know. Additionally, each position in the NFL asks for different movements, but all of them require quick movements.
FS Chris Harris is considered one of the most physical players on the Bears. He’s forced a lot of fumbles with his play. However, he missed four weeks with an MCL tear. He simply couldn’t go. Same for Knowshon Moreno, Kyle Kosier, Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu. You could claim they might have given it a go if it were the playoffs (something Philip Rivers did not do in the same game, even though it was the playoffs), but Cutler did give it a go, for several series. There is also dispute as to whether or not he could have had cortisone shots because of his existing ailment.
Jay Cutler is a throwback. Joe Namath, Joey Porter, Brett Favre and Rex Ryan. Jay Cutler is just as larger than life as those guys. His mentality and mechanics scream gunslinger almost as much as Favre’s. What separates Cutler is that he’s not as outspoken in the media. Martz and Jay’s teammates talk a lot about him leading by example and with great huddle management.
I saw a headline concerning this Cutler controversy that said: “Image IS Everything”. No, WINNING is everything. Jay Cutler won a playoff game. Regardless of how horrible the Seahawks roster was, regardless of the fact that they fired their offensive coordinator after that game, Jay Cutler defied his critics and won a playoff game. That stigma that’s followed him since high school is gone.
The image people hate is of Cutler sulking. However, he did spend a lot of the game encouraging and talking with his best friend on the Bears, Caleb Hanie. Caleb told ESPN Radio, “Knowing Jay for over two seasons now, he’s one of the toughest guys you’ll ever meet. He’ll sell out for the team; he’ll die for the team.” He also said, “He’s shown great leadership throughout his time here in the locker room. People just kind of question that kind of stuff because they see him sometimes with a grumpy face or whatever. But we know know him and know that he’d die to play.”
Winning a playoff game doesn’t mean much. This is what makes the criticism all the more puzzling. Only one team wins it all each year. If the Bears are one of the teams that doesn’t, is it really Cutler’s body language that is holding them back? If we are to assume Cutler’s teammates are depressed by him – contrasted by the adamant denial of said teammates – how depressed must Peyton Manning’s be?
Jay Cutler is a widely-hated player. Some believe his lack of caring about those who hate him will have him playing in Carolina or somewhere else. There’s a much better chance that the hatred will be a unifying factor for the only people that Jay needs to impress, his teammates.
(follow Chris Bach at http://twitter.com/Chris_M_Bach)