Found September 25, 2013 on Football and Futbol:
TEAMS: Chicago Bears
Oakland-raiders-chicago
  Shaky. Unstable. Erratic. Temperamental.  If you’ve been following Jay Cutler’s career on the Chicago Bears for the past couple of years, these are only one of a few words that you’ve heard “Jay Jerk Face” (as dubbed by my father) described as.  And from his first start as a Bear vs. The Green Bay Packers in 2009 until the end of last season, many Bear fans were uncomfortable having him at the helm.  Others were downright scared.  Last year, I would have put myself somewhere in between the two.  But I was scared for different reasons than most. The average 2012 anti-Cutler Bear fan found discomfort in the fact that Jay constantly throws the ball into pressure, yells at basically everyone, collapses in the pocket, and refuses to ever throw the ball away.  I was more uncomfortable for the fact that-despite his glaring shortcomings, Jay is the best Bear quarterback in history and without him, Chicago is a non-factor. Just look at the Caleb Hanie-run offense of two years ago, or Jason Campbell’s one start last year. Gag. In order to truly understand the magnitude of the level of “suck” that the Bears quarterback position has managed to achieve over the past 20 or so years, you need to see…the list.  The dreaded list that every Bear fan has come to memorize and hate, the list that was shown EVERY time the Bears played the Packers during the Brett Favre era. Yes, that list. The list of Bears’ starting quarterbacks. The names range from bad to okay to downright atrocious, but one thing is certain. When you finish the list, any fan of any other team will feel a newfound empathy for the late 20th-early 21st century Bear. I like to call this list, the “’Meh’, the Bad, and the Ugly”. If you really want to have fun, try saying all these names in one breath. Since 1993 up until 2009 (a 16 year period), the Bears have started: Jim Harbaugh, Peter Tom Willis, Steve Walsh, Dave Krieg, Erik Kramer, Moses Moreno, Rick Mirer, Steve Stenstrom, Shane Matthews, Cade McNown, Jim Miller, Chris Chandler, Henry Burris, Kordell Stewart, Rex Grossman, Craig Krenzel, Jonathan Quinn, Chad Hutchinson, Jeff Blake, Kyle Orton, and Brian Greise as signal callers. That’s almost one and a half quarterbacks per year. This list technically continues in similar fashion through the 60s, 70s, and 80s,  but we’ll call it quits here. I’m getting depressed.  As you can see, besting this hodgepodge list of quarterbacks isn’t exactly a tall order.  Jay is one of only three Bears Quarterbacks throughout history to be named the season’s starting quarterback 5 or more seasons in a row, joined only by Sid Luckman and Jim McMahon.  And out of those three, Cutler is easily the most talented. Back in Luckman’s day the game was completely different. And McMahon was merely there to accompany the best halfback to ever play the game, not to mention his reckless scrambling left him with injuries almost every season he played with the Bears.  Both played primarily on run-first offenses. Cutler is only the second Pro Bowl QB to play as a Bear since McMahon.  At times, he’s looked like a miracle worker, fitting passes into tight spots with the efficiency of Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady while at other times his inconsistent play sends us back to the land of 2006-2007, also known as the Rex Grossman era.  The man that many thought would take the Bears to the Promised Land.  Although Rex did lead the Bears to the Super Bowl (Yeah-Rex Grossman played in a Super Bowl once…I still have trouble believing it myself), it was a roller coaster of a year where a combination of Thomas Jones, Devin Hester, and an excellent defense bailed out Rex time and time again.  While Jay does show flashes of inconsistency-er, sorry, the gun slinging mentality- that Rex championed, don’t get the two confused. Aside from the fact that both had to live up to  monstrous expectations their first year in blue and orange and the fact that those expectations haven’t exactly been met, Rex will ultimately go down in history as a disappointment that happened to make a Super Bowl once, while Jay has the potential to take the Bears there on his back. Now I’m not saying Jay is a Super Bowl caliber quarterback (yet), but if any Bear QB was to do it, it’d be him.  His style of play is a combination of several Bear signal callers, as he displays both good and bad traits from all of them.  His Grossman-esque gunslinging mentality has already been stated.  But unlike Grossman, Jay is a decent scrambler, and the Pittsburgh Steelers game showed us that once in a while he’s not afraid to lower his shoulder and absorb the hit. Not saying he should go up against Terrell Suggs and try it, but taking on a 5’11 corner before going out of bounds once in a while is a good way of establishing respect.  His scrappiness and mobility in the pocket is similar to a toned down McMahon. He’s got the foot speed and guts to move around in the open field and gain first downs without sharing McMahon’s blatant disregard for his own health and/or face.  In a game like the victory over Pittsburgh, Jay threw for relatively few yards, but managed to make a trio of big plays when needed, breaking the “loose cannon” stereotype and performing like a game manager, much like a better Brien Greise and Kyle Orton in their Bear careers. He threw no pics on the night, kept the passes short and simple, avoided risky throws, and made sure the Defense was off the field at a crucial point in the game where Ben Roethlisburger and the Steelers appeared to be mounting a comeback. His scramble and decking of Steelers cornerback Robert Golden turned the tide, and gave momentum back to Chicago.  Even though Matt Forte’s productivity had declined since the first half, a steady stream of handoffs kept the clock moving, with the drive ultimately ending with  an Earl Bennett TD catch with just over 5 minutes left in the 4th quarter. If this put the game away, then the Julius Peppers takeaway for  6 points locked the door shut and moved all the furniture in front of it, giving the Bears a perfect 3-0 start. Jay has already locked down a finalist position for the title of “Best of All Time and that had been accomplished with underachieving receiving corps’ and offensive lines, as well as defensive minded coaches and misunderstood offensive coordinators.  His performance has been average when the chips are stacked against him. However this year, with a coach who gets him, drastically improved all-around offense, and a 3-0 start, Jay finally has the odds in his favor. What he does with these odds may determine whether he stays on top or descends into “the ‘meh’, the bad, and the ugly”. facebook.com/djmarcomarc twitter: @djmarcomarc google+: @angrywordstv
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