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Cutler Gets His Way

April 3rd, 2009

By Bernie Lincicome

Great arm, mediocre head.

It has never been obvious that Jay Cutler is a thinker, his Vanderbilt pedigree aside. The comparisons to Brett Favre are apt in ability and in mind, all instinct and audacity.

Still, Cutler is smart enough to get exactly what he wanted, a new team, a place he is valued and rose petals strewn along Michigan Avenue if the sentiment from Chicago can be believed.

Cutler got a team with a defense, a team with a running game, a team with a proven coach, with an established coordinator and, if a little light in the pass catching area, a team with time to fix that.

As will be seen soon enough, it was Cutler who made Brandon Marshall a Pro Bowler, not the other way around.


Jay Cutler

The Bears are now not only measurably better than they were, they have every right to believe that they are. The Bears have the best quarterback they have had since Jim McMahon, who was more a force of nature than a quarterback.

The Bears now have the best quarterback in the NFC, no insult to Drew Brees. And they have him for the next decade. The Broncos should check and see if they still have their wallets and underwear.

On the other hand, the Bears have that most awful of conditions, high expectations.

Cutler handled his separation from the Broncos as he does a game plan, by feel and by faith in his own judgment, not always to the taste of his coach, the last one or the next one.

Mike Shanahan shaped Cutler with incessant review, and Cutler chafed. But he minded because Shanahan was who was. Rebellion did not come until Shanahan was needlessly shown the door, a casualty of the owner’s ego.

What Pat Bowlen has made of his once proud, dignified franchise is farcical, Raider-worthy, assorted scraps of blunders and bad judgment.

Assuming that Denver coach Josh McDaniels or GM Brian Xanders, the Katzenjammer Kids, even know what to do with the draft choices or with Kyle Orton, the episodic quarterback from the Bears, the Broncos are no better than an expansion team.

The dumbest quarterback trade, until now, was Atlanta letting Favre slip off to Green Bay, but Favre was not yet a Pro Bowler nor a 4,000-yard passer or in all ways the best young quarterback in the land, all of which Cutler is.

When anyone thinks at all of Jerry Glanville these days it is that he is the man who gave Favre away. McDaniels makes Glanville look like a miser.

So, this is more stupid, a move made out of spite and spit, most of the dampness behind the ears of McDaniels, while the Bears are leaving welts from pinching each other.

Cutler is not naturally cantankerous, not as he has been seen of late, nor a punk, nor moody. He has been referred to so often as Petulant Jay Cutler, it seemed to be his given name.

He is not sensitive as much as indifferent, and does not usually over-think things, or give anything other than football much thought at all. He played half a season when he was tired and losing weight, finally getting around to discovering he has diabetes.

Cutler is merely a football player, not instinctively out-going, not a media creature, though he had his own TV show in Denver, as dull for the audience as it seemed painful for him.

How he will handle the added public and press obligations in Chicago may be the hardest adjustment Cutler has to make.

The football part will be easy.


  1. April 5th, 2009 at 14:58 | #1

    Jack Finarelli mentions the Lions trading Layne, but how about the Bears breaking camp in 1948 with Layne, Sid Luckman, George Blanda and Johnny Lujack. Halas felt Lujack was probably the future of the franchise, shipped Layne to Detroit and lucked into having Blanda for a few years (before Blanda slipped out to the AFL in 1960).

    Three Hall of Fame QBs on the roster at the same time. The only other time the Bears had a “glut” was in the late 80s when they went to Platteville with Jim McMahon (Pro Bowler, but injured), Steve Fuller, Mike Tomczak, Jim Harbaugh (Pro Bowler-to-be, but a rookie), and Doug Flutie (Lincicome’s favorite 5-4 quarterback). Even with that “distinguished” fivesome, the Bears haven’t had a QB as good as Blanda, Layne OR Luckman since then. Until now.

  2. headscratchin
    April 5th, 2009 at 11:58 | #2

    This is really bittersweet for me. I grew up in cnetral Ill watching Sir Walter run behind Hughy, Dewey, and Louie, et al, with the Monsters of the Midway defense (the original one) and will always root for the Bears. Years later I moved to Colorado and became a die hard Broncos fan. Now I follow them both very closely and couldn’t be happier for the Bears. Only time will tell if this was a good move for either team or if one team got the “better” in the trade.

  3. Nathan
    April 5th, 2009 at 04:33 | #3

    Hey Jack, The Colts didn’t exactly want to trade Elway. John didn’t have the guts of a certain Peyton Manning and stick with who drafted him. NO,he whined and cryed his way out of town. Denver was just the lucky carpetbaggers to pick him up. Good point Joe.
    Still the tennor of the comments section following Bernie’s article seems to have a different feel to them. No longer are they all insulting diatribes from ignorant donk’ fans. Seriously, has any of you been to the Denver area ? A shrine to Elway in every living room?
    Hey, I’m from Chicago and many people there treated him the same way.
    Nice to read you again Bernie.

  4. will
    April 4th, 2009 at 07:55 | #4

    everyone is talking about it, but haven’t heard it put better. excellent column.

  5. Joe Gagliardi
    April 3rd, 2009 at 21:42 | #5

    Great take as always, Bernie. Bronco fans may very well get to experience first hand the agony Colt fans felt for years watching Elway’s career. Talk about karma.

  6. Jack Finarelli
    April 3rd, 2009 at 13:10 | #6

    The dumbest QB trade ever made was …?

    1. Lions trading Bobby Layne in 1958 – - they have not won a title since he left.

    2. Eagles trading Sonny Jurgensen for Norm Snead – - even up.

    3. Colts trading John Elway.

    4. Falcons sending Favre to Green Bay.

    I think it is hard to pick the dumbest trade out of that line-up. The “Cutler-to-the-Bears trade” may make it to this list some day – - but not for a few years to come.

  7. Andy
    April 3rd, 2009 at 12:35 | #7

    Who has to scale Butler’s ego to let him know the team never retired his number, just nobody wanted to wear it after he left?

  8. April 3rd, 2009 at 08:30 | #8

    Jersey sales should be brisk out here. Should Cutler not work out, one could merely replaces the “C” in Cutler with a “B” and celebrate the placekicker that Mike Ditka once called “gutless.”

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