Jay Cutler Dazzles with His Usual Rainbows and Sunshine at the Podium And Other Points of View


  • David Haugh at the Chicago Tribune writes about Jay Cutler‘s attrocious behaviour with the media and, indirectly, the fans.  For those who wonder why the national media will seem to be biased against the Bears:

“By now we in Chicago have learned to judge Cutler only by his behavior on Sundays. Just a hunch, but I doubt that’s going to happen across football America after Wednesday.”

“‘I didn’t have as many catches but I had as many impact plays if not more key catches, third downs, touchdowns, whatever the case,’ Olsen said. ‘I contribute in the running game, pass protection in the backfield, blitz pickup, so it’s not always about stats.

“‘This year kind of opened my eyes to that. In the past, I wanted to catch the ball more. This year, ‘Hey, you can be a tight end and have a huge impact on the game and maybe only catch one or two passes.’ There is no doubt I am a better all-around player.'”

The guess here is that Olson’s eyes may have been opened by Brandon Manumaleuna‘s contract numbers.  Manumaleuna is a blocker who isn’t known for his pass catching ability but the Bears paid him a decent chunk of change to bring him here in free agency last year.

“But perhaps as importantly, running the ball means not passing the ball, which is a good thing in my world when Cutler has some Carlos Zambrano in him. It’s the mentality that he’s just going to do it because he has always done it and now he’s going to do it harder and faster, and then it’s times 10 because it’s the playoffs, and then his head explodes. We’ve seen the Zambran-O-Meter go to 11. Not all the time, but enough.

“The fear is Cutler doing the same thing when he doesn’t have to. He doesn’t have to be a hero. He just can’t be the reason the season ends.”


  • Adam Schefter at ESPN talks about the CBA hang up over the expansion of the regular season to 18 games.  Everybody, repeat after me:  “Follow.  The.  Money.”

  • Texans center Chris Myers demands that running back Arian Foster come bearing gifts the next time he sees the line.

  • Seattle coach Pete Carroll was at the podium when a reporters phone, which was being used as a recorder, started ringing.  Carroll answered it. (via the Associated Press):

“‘Someone’s phone is ringing here. Let’s check this out. … Hello? No, not right now. This is a press conference. OK. Sorry, I’ll get back to you,’ Carroll said. ‘Old friend from high school.'”

“[Colts head coach Jim] Caldwell was outcoached in last year’s Super Bowl, but most of the blame for the Colts loss still went to Manning. Caldwell appears to be coaching like someone who is afraid to lose the game – not someone who is trying to win.”

“An argument could be made that Manning is the offensive coach of this team. If that’s the case, then maybe Manning has too much on his shoulders.”

One Final Thought

Les Miles‘ job application at Michigan has been somehow leaked to the public.  From The Sports Pickle:

Ryan, Belichick and the Fine Art of Leadership

The Patriots-Jets feud has been heatin gup over the last week.  But what’s interesting to me isn’t the comments that are coming out of both sides but the nature of those comments.

Jets head coach Rex Ryan led off early in the week by saying this (via FOX Sports):

“‘This is about Bill Belichick vs. Rex Ryan,’ the Jets’ brash coach declared Monday. ‘There’s no question. It’s personal. It’s about him against myself, and that’s what it’s going to come down to.'”

Belichick‘s response (via ESPN):

“We’re gonna do our best to win on Sunday.  They’re a good football team across the board: good on offense, defense and special teams. They beat the Colts in Indianapolis. We all know how tough that is. Everything concerns me [with them]. They’re good across the board.”

So what?  Typical Ryan.  Typical Belichick.  But let’s take a look at what happened yesterday in relation to the players feelings about the game and each other.  As was the case early in the week, the Jets threw the first salvo.  Antonio Cromartie said this when ased if he had ever seen Patriots quarterback Tom Brady pointing after a Patriots score late in their blow out win over the Jets earlier in the season (via Gary Myers at The New York Daily News):

“‘We see that a lot. He does it a lot,” Cromartie said. “That’s the kind of guy he is. We really don’t give a damn, to tell you the truth.’

“Okay, what kind of guy is Brady?

“‘An ass—-.

“‘—- him.'”

Brady’s response (via ESPN):

“I’ve been called worse. I’m sure there is a long list of people that feel that way.”

“But he’s a good player. [Darrelle] Revis is a great player. They have a great secondary. They’re one of the best defenses we’ve faced. We spend a lot of time preparing for them, and what they’re capable of doing over there. To shut down the Colts’ offense like they did is pretty impressive, because we know how good that offense is. We’re going to be ready to play.”

Or perhaps more humorously according to Ian Rappaport:

“Belichick has called me that. My offensive coordinator has called me that. They like me, so maybe he likes me.”

So what’s my point?  When you assess the comments by both players you come to the same conclusion as I did above.  Typical Rex Ryan.  Typical Bill Belichick.

Its a source of constant amazement to me how true it is that those who follow take on the personality of those who lead.  Individual players and, indeed, entire teams are affected and can be characterized generally by the way their head coach acts and reacts.  On some level every good coach knows it and when you see the way they react publicly you can consider it to be a sign of how they expect their players to react.

The Patriots-Jets contest isn’t just a game of talent of even a game of wills.  It also a philosophical conflict in terms of leadership.  Just one more aspect of the game that makes the NFL so interesting.

To Blitz or Not to Blitz? That is the Question for the Seahawks.

Mike Sando at ESPN recently broke down the defensive stats for the Seattle Seahawks while pointing out the dilemma that they face on Sunday against the Bears:

“Back in that Week 6 game at Soldier Field, Seattle rushed at least one defensive back 44.7 percent of the time, a season high. The team recorded five of its six sacks on these plays, one reason the Bears failed to convert even once in 12 third-down opportunities. Seattle sent five-plus pass-rushers 55.3 percent of the time during its 23-20 victory, the second-highest percentage for Seattle in a game this season.”

“The Seahawks sent four or fewer rushers 89.7 percent of the time against St. Louis in Week 17 and 91.7 percent of the time against New Orleans in the wild-card round. The Seahawks hadn’t sent four or fewer rushers so frequently in any game through Week 16. The 91.7 percent figure was the highest for any NFL team in any game during the regular season.”

So you are left with Sando’s question.  “What will Seattle do?”

The Bears have to be wondering the same thing.  According to Vaughn McClure at the Chicago Tribune, offensive line coach Mike Tice, at least, thinks the Seahawks will blitz:

“They’re going to have to find a way to get to the NFC Championship game. If you’re playing the Bears, then you have to test them and see how much better they’ve gotten.”

Its easy for Tice to say that.  Most people in his position need to plan for the worst and then be happy if it doesn’t materialize.  Putting pressure on the line through constant blitzing would be his worst nightmare whether the line handles it well or not.

But I think may be right in this case.  The Bears line is supposedly a lot different from the one that faced the Seahawks the first time around.  The Bears thought the film of that game was pretty bad (via Sean Jensen and Neil Hayes at the Chicago Sun-Times):

“‘It was kind of tough to watch,’ tight end Greg Olsen said. ‘We weren’t where we thought we were, even at the time.'”

Indeed, according to McClure, Tice decided not to show the whole film to the linemen this week:

“‘I kind of moved on, the game was so bad,’ Tice said of the regular-season meeting between the teams. ‘I looked at 19 plays with the line the other day and decided I couldn’t do that to them. It was that bad.'”

Well, here’s hoping he at least showed them the film of the Packers game.  The Bears consistently broke down against the blitz in that last regular season game, especially the delayed blitz where a linebacker hesitates for a second and then shoots in.

If you are the Seahawks you have to test the Bears line, at least to some extent.  You have to find out if that was an aberration or the result of a line that really hasn’t come together quite as well as everyone is saying it has (its probably a combination of the two).

My guess is that you look for Seattle to threaten the blitz a lot to try to confuse the Bears offensive line.  How often they actually bring pressure will probably depend upon how successful they are.  But just threatening may be enough to keep them uneasy on their feet and thinking about the possibility.