It’s hard for me to write this, but I’ve put a lot of thought into this. I waited far more than a typical 24 hour cooling off period after another frustrating Bears loss to the Green Bay Packers to arrive at this conclusion – Jay Cutler is NOT the quarterback that’s going to lead the Chicago Bears to another championship.
I’ve sat back the last 3+ years supporting Jay and made excuses for him. I’ve stood by like a star-struck cheerleader, awed by the rocket arm and tremendous talent while looking past the body language and facial expression and leadership questions. Those things don’t matter, WINS DO. This is a results-oriented business.
You can say that the offensive line is bad and up until this season the wide receivers were poor. You would be 100% correct. But Super Bowl winning quarterbacks raise their level and the performance of those around them beyond their potential, they overachieve.
This isn’t going to be another post about body language or leadership that came in droves on Friday morning. This isn’t a question of Cutler’s talent because it’s clear that he is the most talented QB to roll into this town in my lifetime. This post is based on facts, hard numbers that back up why Cutler is not the man to lead the Bears back to the promised land.
There was plenty of hand-wringing about Jay Cutler sideline confrontation with left tackle J’Marcus Webb. I don’t mind that stuff. Of course no one should be shown up on the sidelines and that should be handled privately, but we’ve seen plenty of fiery interactions between the best teammates. I’m not overly upset about Jay Cutler’s post-game press conference. Could he have handled himself with more class and saved some of the bus throwing for the meeting rooms? Sure. So what is this big epiphany that I had watching another Cutler implosion on Thursday night in Green Bay? It’s pretty simple – JAY CUTLER IS A FRONTRUNNER. That means when it’s going well, Jay excels but when things are not going his way, Jay turtles.
When things are going well, Cutler is the best teammate. He’s joking on the sidelines, chumming it up with every but more importantly, he’s playing well. It feeds on itself. On the flipside, when things aren’t going well, when he’s facing a little bit of adversity – be it a missed blocking assignment, a dropped pass, or a play call he doesn’t like – Jay’s sphincter tightens up tighter than a snare drum and he implodes. When he’s bad, he’s really bad. Jay let’s the frustrations translate into a poor performance of the field.
Since this is a results-oriented business, I decided to look at some results to support my argument. Jay Cutler has a record of 26-19 as starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears. That’s a very respectable 0.580 winning percentage. But what happens when Jay faces a winning team, a more difficult opponent?
I decided to look back at Jay’s career in Chicago and break down his record against teams with either winning or losing records at the time when they face off. All Week 1 opponents are obviously .500 teams. In total, Jay has faced 7 teams that had a .500 record at the time the Bears have played them and they’re 4-3 in those games for a winning percentage of about 57%, closing mirroring his overall 58% winning percentage.
Jay has faced 18 opponents in his 3+seasons in Chicago with a losing record heading into the contest. Jay has won 83% of those games, with a record of 15-3. Those are the
impressive dominant numbers you would expect from an elite quarterback. Those are the numbers you see and say, sign him up for another five years at $100 million or whatever insane new contract he’ll probably get.
Let’s also keep in mind that Jay’s lone career playoff win came at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks, who qualified for the playoffs with a 7-9 record before scoring a fluke home field upset over the New Orleans Saints to earn a trip to Soldier Field for a matchup with the Bears. So heading into that playoff matchup, the Seahawks were…. yup, you guessed it, a losing team with an 8-9 record.
Now for the other side of the coin. Jay has started 19 games vs teams with a winning record at the time of kickoff, but the Bears have won only 7 of those games. That’s a win about 35% of the time. Are those the kind of numbers that an elite, Super Bowl winning quarterback puts up?
The Bears will pound the Rams next Sunday and depending on what the Cowboys do vs the Bucs next week, should have a winning record before the Bears head to Big D for another prime time matchup. What’s your confidence the Bears will go into Dallas and hold off DeMarcus Ware and the Cowboys?
Maybe the addition of Brandon Marshall will make all the difference in the world? It’s quite possible that the Bears will bounce back after this Green Bay loss to have a fine season. But as gamblers always say, the trend is your friend, so if we follow the trend, Jay isn’t the guy to step up and perform at a higher level when he faces a tough challenge. Let’s face it, in the playoffs you’re not getting too many teams with losing records coming in.
What do you think? Am I way off base on my assessment of Cutler? Can he lead the Bears to a Super Bowl win in the future? I know you’ve got an opinion on this one, so post it in the Comments. You can use your Twitter or Facebook login to sign in and comment. So what are you waiting for?