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Bears Mon Dec 16 2013
Depending on your ratio of sports intake at the national and local levels, you can get very differing angles on the Bears' quarterback situation. Frankly, if you don't listen to or read anything locally, your opinion of Jay Cutler is likely to be hate filled. In Chicago, most writers and talk show hosts understand and agree that Cutler is the most talented quarterback on the roster, and needs to be starting to not only give the Bears the best chance to win now, but to audition for the future as well.
The national sports media, for whatever reason, disagrees, and despises him.
Did he force his way out of Denver when Mike Shanahan got canned? Sure. But then the world somehow forgets that new coach Josh McDaniels turned out to be a bigger prick than Cutler could ever dream of being, and didn't want anything to do with him in the first place. But if it doesn't fit the narrative of Cutler being a terrible teammate and a horrible person, then it doesn't deserve column space.
Should we talk about the Conference Championship game where he was forced out due to a torn MCL? Nahhh, not anymore. All anyone wanted to discuss afterward was that he lacked toughness according to Maurice Jones-Drew, armchair quarterback -- giving us his expert opinion from the comfort of his own couch. If he's walking, he should be playing! Why isn't he helping Hanie? The truth is that he was, the cameras just didn't bother showing those moments. Instead, they spotlighted a man sulking on the sidelines. Why would someone who tore a knee ligament in the biggest game of his life do that? Because he's human. But the national media doesn't want you to think that.
There's no question that Josh McCown has played well in Cutler's stead. But where were all these McCown lovers when he was behind Jason Campbell on the depth chart last year? Why weren't they clamoring for him after he took home Player of the Week honors in August of 2010 after throwing for 265 yards and three touchdowns for the Hartford Colonials of the UFL? Their cries for his signing and lineup insertion must've been drowned out by the screaming onlookers at Marvin Ridge High School where he was performing his duties as assistant coach before the Bears needed a body last year. The life of a backup is a cushy one.
A report from ESPN's Bob Holtzman early yesterday morning claimed a nameless Bears defensive player wasn't behind Cutler because he was struggling in practice. Let's get to the heart of that story. The "player" was inferring that McCown should remain the starter. The report doesn't state if it was a current Bears player saying all this (Brian Urlacher was vocal about McCown remaining the starter), and nameless accusations are hilarious in their own right -- especially coming from a defensive player on this football team. Hey buddy, why don't you worry more about not giving up 200 yards on the ground every week and not about who's starting at quarterback, eh? Nahhh -- pointing out that kind of hypocrisy doesn't fit the narrative either.
The front office are cheapskates! That's the vibe from yesterday morning's report from Jason La Canfora, stating that if the Bears would've given McCown just another dollar in his contract or given him some sort of per-game bonus, they would be able to offer him a contract extension for next year before the start of free agency. Instead, the team can only offer a one-year minimum salary deal before other teams can talk with him. Here are facts that the report leaves out:
Signing McCown to the vets minimum of $840,000 accounts for only a $580,000 cap hit. Another dollar on his contract would've added another $260,001 to the cap of a team that was restructuring deals left and right in the preseason to free up much needed space.
When McCown was signed, the team wasn't even sold on him as the backup since Matt Blanchard was younger, cheaper, and had shown some talent in the times that he got to play.
McCown's stat-line as a Bear up to that point: 35/55, 414 yards, 2 TDs, 4 INTs, 68.3 rating. GIVE THIS MAN ALL THE MONEY YOU CAN!!!
After his second interception yesterday, the cries for McCown were at their loudest. That's all the people screaming for McCown will talk about today. But don't bring up the two dropped interceptions and the pick called back against the Cowboys last week. Don't mention that Cutler hadn't thrown any redzone interceptions in 2011 or 2012 before three this year -- two of which were on tipped passes (which then become all luck-based). Don't point out that after the picks, Cutler went 14/18 with three touchdowns. Or that he was 11/12 for 151 yards and two touchdowns on third downs. Let's just talk about how Alshon Jeffery bailed him out on an underthrown ball for a ridiculous TD grab. Not the fact that Cutler was hit as he threw and drew a roughing penalty, causing the under-throw.
It's OK to admit it: if you love Josh McCown, it's because you hate Jay Cutler. It's fine if you don't like number six. He can definitely give off an unlikeable vibe. But be honest and forthright about that instead of screaming on mountaintops that McCown is a superior quarterback. McCown himself admits that Cutler is the better thrower, and should be the starter upon his return.
The truth is, Bears fans have been programmed to love the backup quarterback since McMahon retired. It's easy to understand why:
• Mike Tomczak
• Jim Harbaugh
• Peter Tom Willis
• Will Furrer
• Eric Kramer
• Steve Walsh
• Steve Stenstrom
• Dave Kreig
• Rick Mirer
• Moses Moreno
• Cade McNown
• Shane Matthews
• Jim Miller
• Chris Chandler
• Henry Burris
• Cory Sauter
• Kordell Stewart
• Rex Grossman
• Chad Hutchinson
• Kraig Krenzel
• Jonathon Quinn
• Jeff Blake
• Kyle Orton
• Brian Griese
Since the Punky QB's move to San Diego, that's the list of quarterbacks who took snaps before Cutler's arrival. 1989-2007. That registry of names is used in local hospitals to induce vomiting if a Bears fan drinks too much. The guy on the bench is the unknown, and therefore, the love of the town. Give him a few games against some of the weakest defenses in the NFL, and you've got an all-out mutiny on your hands.
It doesn't matter that you were interviewing interns for your marketing company when Matt Blanchard got injured, Jordan Palmer. It's inevitable. Your time of unconditional, crazy love from a ridiculous fan base is coming soon. Because your name isn't Jay Cutler.