For several years now Jay Cutler has been the brunt of jokes for the Chicago Bears. His lethargic attitude at press conferences and his “smokin’ Jay” persona on the field made fans have a love-hate relationship with such a talented quarterback. As much as fans hate it when he throws an interception or makes questionable decisions in the pocket, he still has a cannon of an arm and one of the tightest spirals in the league.
Unfortunately for Cutler, he has cloaked himself with a blanket of disappointing seasons resulting in the failure of coaches and coordinators that could not “fix” him. Not even the coveted quarterback whisperer, and former Bears head coach, Marc Trestman could get Cutler to play at an elite quarterback level. This leaves the Bears quarterback in limbo.
What To Make of the Chicago Bears Quarterback Situation?
In a drastic, in-your-face move, the Chicago Bears cleaned house and declared that it was time for the Monsters of the Midway to return to Soldier Field. With new general manager Ryan Pace ready to build a competitive and formidable team, the pieces are slowly falling into place, with the exception of the quarterback position. The question continues to loom in the air as to whether any of the quarterbacks on the roster can take this team in the right direction.
But this isn’t the same Bears organization. Taking into consideration the string of up-and-down performances by Cutler, coupled by his benching in Week 16 for Jimmy Clausen, the Bears have determined that no job is secure. According to head coach John Fox at the NFL owners meeting, “it’s all an open competition. Obviously you’ve got to start somewhere and my experience in football, really in anything, it’s not where you start a competition; it’s where you finish it.”
Cutler will have to compete against backup Jimmy Clausen, David Fales and undrafted free agent Shane Carden from East Carolina. Last season, Carden completed 63.5 percent of his passes for 4,736 yards with 30 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. It will be an open audition for these four quarterbacks, especially a redemptive one for both Cutler and Clausen.
It would be interesting to see how all four quarterbacks will work with quarterback coach Dowell Loggains. Both Clausen and Cutler share the same disposition and have more to lose than the other two. They have each displayed a slight cockiness in their attitude and an innate ability to perform poorly during the season, resulting in the decision to bench them.
Clausen is no stranger to Fox. In Fox’s last season with the Carolina Panthers, the former Notre Dame quarterback was chosen as the 48th pick in the second-round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Clausen’s performance was less than stellar, leading them to use their number one pick the following year on Cam Newton. In a recent interview, Clausen stated that he was excited to link back up with Coach Fox. “He’s very passionate. He loves the game of football and he’s a real fiery coach,” said Clausen. With this fine description of Fox, Cutler will not be able to chase him out of Halas Hall as he did the previous coaches.
For Cutler, all the tools have been handed to him, and the “toxic” atmosphere in the locker room and on the field has been removed. There are no more excuses for Cutler and his performance. The real story here is whether or not he will be the leader he was meant to be and if he can bring the team an NFC North title. If he can do that under the direction of Coach Fox, then he can lead the Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl appearance. If not, then he will remain a Bears quarterback in limbo.