Jay Cutler has played 20 games for the Chicago Bears and in that span we have seen just how good and just how bad he can be. His concussed outing against the New York Giants in Week 4 was a reminder that he still has maturing to do. Though his poor performance was partially the O-line’s fault, he often held the ball too long and didn’t see all of his open receivers. However, throughout his career he has shown resilience after a disappointing effort. Also, people sometimes forget that he has only played three full seasons in the NFL and just turned 27 this year. Some of the greats struggled early on and when you compare the stats, Cutler still has a shot at a long and successful NFL career.
It took John Elway 11 seasons before reaching the 25 TD and 4,000 passing yard in a season plateau. Cutler did it in his second full season. Brett Farve has thrown 20+ INTs six times in his career and Peyton Manning averaged 20 INTs per year in his first five seasons. We all know about Cutler’s struggles last year with 26 INTs. Troy Aikman lost 18 of his first 21 starts and had a passer rating under 70.0 his first two seasons. This goes to show that every QB has growing pains and it’s all about how they respond to and learn from their mistakes.
Jay Cutler has already shown numerous times that one bad game does not a season make. While he is still questionable for this week’s game against the Seattle Seahawks, it looks like he should be cleared to play. His 40.7 rating, 42 yards passing, 0 TDs and 1 INT against the Giants a week and a half ago, added up to one of his worst performances of his short career. Based on his history, though, there is good reason to believe he will bounce back with a strong performance this week.
Cutler has only six career games (out of 57) with a passer rating of 50.0 or below. In games following those debacles, he has averaged 256 passing yards, 2.5 TDs, 0.5 INTs and a 63% completion percentage. To me that shows that he is good at recognizing what he did wrong and is capable of fixing it. I believe that that is a true sign of a good QB. While you can expect Cutler to have a few added cobwebs to shake out this time around, you can also bet that he knows the mistakes he made against the Giants (minus the big one – assuming that his offensive line could protect him). You can be sure he won’t hold the ball for too long this week, like he did against the relentless Giants defense.
All in all I’m optimistic that Cutler will have a good game and lead the Bears to a victory against a Seahawks defense that gives up over 300 passing yards a game. They also will be coming to Soldier Field where Cutler is 7-3 as a Bear. If Jay has his head back on straight, we can expect to see the Bears come out of week six with their 5th win, sitting alone atop the NFC North.