Sean Jensen at the Chicago Sun-Times writes about the fact that quarterback Jay Cutler needs an off season with offensive coordinator Mike Martz to correct his problems. That means Bear fans should be praying there’s no lockout. This is a very, very good article and its worth the read. But I’ll bottom line it with the principal quotes from former Bears quarterback Jim Miller:
“’The problem with Jay is, because he’s so athletic, you don’t want to curtail him too much because that takes from that part of his game,’ said Miller, an analyst for Comcast SportsNet and Sirius NFL Radio. ‘But I get upset watching him because he could be so much better. He could be lights-out if he cleans up his footwork and fundamentals. All those things are correctable.’”
“’Jay can get there, but he has to have the ‘want to’ to be great, and the discipline to be able to do that. He did a much better job this year of checking himself and not throwing dumb interceptions. Now if he can take it to the next level, with his footwork and things like that, then he can play to the level of an Aaron Rodgers.’”
Over and over again I’ve tried to point out that Cutler’s problems with leadership, with the media, with his peers, all reflect one fundamental difficulty. That despite his immense physical talent, people doubt whether he has what it takes to do the little things he needs to do as a player to be great.
That’s what Miller means when he uses terms like “want to” and “discipline”. He’s not talking about “toughness”. He’s talking about what keeps a man in front of a screen until midnight watching tape. He’s talking about, not spending 20 minutes twice a week working on footwork but spending hours on it, drilling and drilling and drilling.
Renowned psychiatrist Anna Freud once said, “I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence, but it comes from within. It is there all the time.”
Cutler needs more time with Martz, who is probably the first decent quarterback coach they’ve had since Greg Olson left. But he needs a lot more than that. He needs the desire and force of will that it takes to overcome all obstacles and be the best. That can’t from a coach. It can only come from within one’s self. We can only hope that it is buried somewhere deep within Jay Cutler.