I’m sorry. I really am. At minimum any of you who regularly read these posts are probably tired of me bashing quarterback Jay Cutler. There comes a point where if you do it enough you actually start to generate sympathy for him. Some of you may already be there. Again, I’m sorry.
I admit that these posts satisfy a driving need in me. I’m powerless to influence the people who matter and this is the only thing I can do. At some point – a point very soon – I’ll stop putting up a post every time Bears head coach John Fox or general manager Ryan Pace makes even a remote attempt to defend Cutler or imply that he can fix him. Now that they’ve decided to stick with Cutler, whether Fox actually wants him or not, it’s his job to do what he can to rehabilitate him. I know that. But fear that he actually will fool himself into thinking it can be done at a critical time when its realistic to cut Cutler loose impels me to vent on this site. I’ll get over it. I promise.
In the mean time, Dan Wiederer at the Chicago Tribune scares me as he quotes Fox, who comments on Cutler:
“[Fox] saw a player whose struggles seemed to weigh him down.
“‘Maybe he got to the point where he lacked confidence a year ago,’ Fox said. ‘To build that back up, it’s going to take time. Daily. It takes trust, like any relationship.'”
I’m wondering if Fox gets it. I wonder if he understands that’s what Cutler is. He loses confidence and his struggles don’t just weigh him down, they weigh everyone down. Fox continues:
“‘Unless you have success it’s hard to have confidence,’ Fox said. ‘… I’ve always started with practice. I call them mini games. Try to structure them that way. This is all about what to do, how to do it and do it under pressure. That is what we do.'”
Fox has a point in that this is generally the way to build a team. But its combined with finding the right players to respond to that kind of motivation. For every person out there who builds confidence with success there’s at least one who can never find success because they lack the gene. I’m now convinced that Cutler is one of those guys. Rich Campbell at the Chicago Tribune tells Wiederer in this video that in listening to Fox talk it feels like “the final act” for Cutler. That’s probably because, whether he understands it or not, Campbell has seen almost as much of Cutler as most Bears fans have and he knows on some level that in a, as he puts it, “results-based business” Cutler’s never going to produce.
Is it possible to get to the point with Cutler where success breeds confidence and where he will perform at his best in a really big game? Anything is possible. But in order to get to the point where success breeds confidence you have to start somewhere where some degree of confidence breeds success. My guess is that you can build things little by little with small successes leading to big successes with many young NFL athletes who aren’t fragile by nature. Fox thinks he can build that by creating competition in practice. But there will always come that time in a real game when Cutler won’t be able to fool you – when they won’t be able to just run the football and the team is up against it and the breaks are beating the boys and you have to nut up and come through. Cutler’s well into his 30s and he is what he is. And I think he’s destined to always let you down when you need him most.
That’s what a loser is. I just hope that some how Fox comes to that decision sooner rather than later.