Bears Fans Say Goodbye to Cutler, the GOAT

Jay Cutler ScapeGOAT

Bears fans can finally rejoice. Jay Cutler and his vaccine-hating wife are gone. No more forced passes into double coverage. No more quarterback that’s too much of a wimp to re-enter a playoff game after completely destroying his knee. And, no more sideline arguments with offensive coordinators. No more GOAT.

Wait? Did I just say that?

Yes, I did. And make no mistake, it’s 100 percent true. Jay Cutler was a GOAT. No, not the Greatest Of All Time (though he may be the GOAT of Bears QBs, if we’re all being honest here). He’s the scapegoat; always has been. And Jay Cutler has had a shitty time of it. Demonized in Chicago because of his high cost of purchase, an ill-fated and ill-conceived contract extension, and on-the-field body language that outsiders thought looked uninterested, Jay put up with all of it and kept going.

Despite learning a new offense seemingly every year, being booed for not playing injured in the playoffs, and countless baseless accusations that he was a bad leader and had poor work ethic, Cutler showed up. He took sacks, got up, and kept throwing.

Despite having No. 1 receivers such Devin Hester, Johnny Knox, Marquess Wilson, and Cameron Meredith. Despite offensive lines that consistently ranked in the bottom half of the league. Or idiot play-callers that couldn’t get plays in on time (I’m looking at you, Mike Tice—the man who wasted the best team Cutler ever had). Despite the fact that when he finally got something resembling an offense, it was wasted because the defense evaporated.

Cutler was there. Earning the respect of his teammates, and playing his heart out. Diving into the endzone. Throwing a pick here or there, sure, but doing it for the best of reasons. Because Cutler wanted to win.

Let me throw some fancy numbers at you. Jay Cutler’s offensive lines over his career (no just with the Bears) according to Football Outsider’s Pass Protection Ranking:

Year Sack/Game O-Line Rank
2016 3.4 8
2015 1.9 7
2014 2.5 15
2013 1.7 20
2012 2.5 16
2011 2.3 24
2010 3.4 29
2009 2.1 18
2008 (DEN) 0.6 1
2007 (DEN) 1.7 17
2006 (DEN) 2.6 17

Not so great, right? I count five top-half of the league protection units. Only three times where it was top 10. And remember, Jay spent most of 2016 injured. So let’s scratch that one. Two top 10 units in 10 years—yikes! Did he at least have some decent receivers?

Year Rating TD/Game Int/Game Top WR
2016 78.1 0.80 1.00 Cameron Meredith
2015 92.3 1.40 0.73 Marquess Wilson
2014 88.6 1.87 1.20 Alshon Jeffery
2013 89.2 1.73 1.09 Brandon Marshall
2012 81.3 1.27 0.93 Brandon Marshall
2011 85.7 1.30 0.70 Johnny Knox
2010 86.3 1.53 1.07 Johnny Knox
2009 76.8 1.69 1.63 Devin Hester
2008 (DEN) 86 1.56 1.13 Eddie Royal
2007 (DEN) 88.1 1.25 0.88 Brandon Stokley
2006 (DEN) 88.5 1.80 1.00 Javon Walker

Okay, there’s a couple years of Brandon Marshall. We’ve got one year of a healthy Alshon. And, well, plenty of garbage. Johnny Knox looked alright before suffering a career-ending neck injury, but that doesn’t say much. Perhaps the better question is: how the hell did Cutler manage to throw 27 TDs in 2009? Earl Bennett and Devin Hester weren’t exactly a stud combination. Man oh man.

Did Cutler even ever have a team around him that was even close to one that COULD have won a championship? Let’s look at two key pieces—pass protection and defense versus that season’s champion.

Year Rating DVOA O-Line Champ DVOA Champ O-Line
2016 78.1 22 8 16 6
2015 92.3 31 7 1 13
2014 88.6 28 15 12 2
2013 89.2 25 20 1 32
2012* 81.3 1 16 19 13
2011 85.7 4 24 19 6
2010 86.3 4 29 2 21
2009 76.8 21 18 17 4
2008 86 31 1 1 29
2007 88.1 21 17 13 11
2006 88.5 12 17 25 1

*Mike Tice

Alright, let’s see, 2012 looked promising talent-wise. Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall were in their primes. The defense topped the league and the offensive line was decent. Surely that was the year, right? Well let’s think back to who adorned the headset, whose voice was speaking sweet nothings in Cutler’s ear. Oh, right—Mike Tice. The guy he walked away from on the sideline. The guy who seemingly couldn’t decide on a play to run and when he did, seemed to call them at the wrong time. Or, two plays too late.

Look, I’m not trying to entirely bail Cutler out on that one. He didn’t play well at all in 2012, and that was despite his interception numbers going down. But the rest of the Bears offense didn’t play well either. They couldn’t score points. Jay’s play was a symptom, not the cause.

Look, Bears fans, I get it. You’ve needed someone to blame. At first you blamed Lovie, but when things didn’t get better you had to find someone else. Phil Emery had a short shelf life. So did Marc Trestman. But instead of putting the blame where it belonged, you settled for complaining about the thing the media wants you to. You put your blame on the wrong man.

You have one of the most storied franchises in the league, but one that hasn’t had the type of success you’d like in decades. Jay Cutler was there for several of those years. But Jay Cutler wasn’t the problem. Jay Cutler was just the goat.

  • DocBVN71

    Article author Bauer must be related to the McCaskey family for defending Cutler as he did. No question Jay didn’t have same supporting cast like current greats: Brady, Rodgers, etc. but Brees and a few other darn good QB’s have played with horrible defenses and less than top level offense talent and they have continually delivered. Yes Bears have had more than their fair share of below average coaches & GM’s but Jay’s agent negotiated premier dollars for him and Cutler took the money and never delivered anything remotely close to the other QBs I mentioned. So Cutler was more than a victim the author wants us to believe, he was also an overpaid, underperforming prima-donna. No matter how you slice it, nor whatever the reason, Cutler consistently moped on the sidelines, never showed any emotion or support for his teammates when the offense was on the sidelines, and always seemed more interested in collecting a check rather than cheering on his team. To me he seemed to be another version of Jeff George……..another potential-loaded QB talent from Indiana who wasted what could have been a hall-of-fame career. Of course bigger problem with the Bears is exact same problem Chicago fans endured for decades with Blackhawks and Cubs, a greedy non-committed family ownership issue. Sadly, as with the Wirtz and Wrigley family ownership eras, the Bears will never be great again until the family sells the franchise or eventually dies off with some not yet born generation taking over. No one in the country will ever confuse the McCaskey’s with the truly great NFL family owners such as the Mara’s, Rooney’s, etc. That in itself is a real shame given Papa Bear George was the foundation of the league. In this case the apple fell miles away from the tree. Perhaps things would be different had Muggs lived. The sad irony I always think about is the divergent paths the Bears have taken versus the Patriots, since they faced each other at SB XX in 1986. The Bears owned NE in that game and were without a doubt the most dominate team that year (arguably the best D ever). Since then our Bears have been to one SB, losing to Indy, and NE has been there multiple times winning 5 titles. Kraft was not a founding family of the NFL, but he clearly has defined the difference between a family who gets it and wants to win it all for the fans and a family who handles their franchise as a cash cow. Consistently loyal Chicago Bear fans deserve much better.

    • Wobbly Pop

      While Jay is / was not the beat all end all QB , he does deserve much more credit than the average fan gives up . The reasons the author put up are sound and i do agree with much of what he said . I am responding to you however not for his musings but for yours and the many fans who look at Jay the same way ! You mentioned Cutler consistently moped on the sidelines which is simply not true although when the TV loves to show that side it will appear as such . You said he never showed emotion but we know that is not true as even the TV folks could not resist showing him grab an Olineman by the mask and yelling at him about missing an assignment . And they do show him fist pumping after any TD or high 5 ing ! Then as for support Josh McCown raved on Cutlers help when he came to Bears and then came in to play . Olineman Long has sad repeatedly how good Jay is in huddle and how he would do anything for him . Same story from Olin Kreutz and Garza ! Depending on meds and day of the week Marshall and Bennett went from he’s my brother and best QB i ever played with to worst But somewhere in there a bet is they were at worst ok with him . Finally i want to address one thing that NEVER gets any play from Cutler or the media . That is Jay’s diabetes disease ! As a fulluy blown diabetic myself and taking 6 shots every day of 2 kinds of insulin i know only to well what Jay goes through daily ! When you see a guy on the sidelines who appears disinterested , out of it , lacking focus , and in Jays case where he is rolling his head or shoulders , it is a sign that he has his sugar levels are out of whack . Kinda like a daze to some or the edge of falling asleep almost to others . One thing you do not see except a rare shot in the background is Jay getting his sugar checked in game or him drinking juice to bring it up or in some cases a shot to level it off ! that is the life of a type 1 diabetic . But as a football player it is extremely difficult to handle and play with . The looks you see on his face , the eyes , the head , the shoulders , all are symptoms of a hideous disease i understand . A disease that lead to my mothers death , my grandmother losing her legs and vision , and my brother now losing toes ! So does Jay need sympathy ? No but understanding of his situation and what he has dealt with in a tough business with this issue on his back ? I think it deserves a bit of that yes !

      • DocBVN71

        The nice thing about this opportunity to share our opinions is we can agree to disagree. I completely understand your comments on diabetes as both my wife and I are diabetics, we’ve both had immediate family and other close relatives afflicted with it who’ve lost legs and ended up bedridden, and we’ve had family who’ve pass from diabetes. So we absolutely understand the issues and dangers surrounding diabetes and the impact it has on a life. I also agree there have been TV screen shots showing Jay yelling at a teammate for missing a block or an assignment although not as many as showing him sitting disinterested on the sidelines. I get it that the press prefers to capture those kind of moments to make a player out to be the image they want fans to believe, but at the same time Jay provided those opportunities and despite you wanting to excuse it away as a byproduct of a illness many of us share, there is more disinterest there than illness reaction. I don’t know if you are from Chicago as I am and therefore follow all Chicago sports teams but perhaps the greatest example of a pro Chicago athlete who played with diabetes was Ron Santo, a long-time beloved Chicago sports hero. When Ron played in the 1960-70’s management thinking about players with diabetes was archaic. His diabetes was very aggressive requiring a treatment of multiple shots a day. He was forced to hide it not only from management and ownership, but even his teammates. Additionally back then the Cubs played every home game in the hot afternoon sun… night games at Wrigley. Yet Ron NEVER allowed his illness to affect his approach to the game. Game-in and game-out he was seen jumping up and down cheering his teammates on and being among the first to always run out of the dugout to congratulate a teammate on hitting a home run. No question people handle their illnesses in different ways, and maybe Ron Santo was the exception. He never gave up the battle that eventually took his legs and then his life, and more importantly he never let the illness be an excuse (and I don’t think Cutler has tried to use it as an excuse either). But to that point I think its a bit of a disservice when you attempt to excuse away Cutler’s performance simply because he shares the same illness as we. In fact from your message I suspect you suffer from a more advance stage of diabetes than Cutler and both my wife and I, and I’m so sorry to read that (as well as how terrible its been in your family) because I know first hand the damage the illness can cause and I have empathy for anyone afflicted by the illness. But despite your argument to want to anoint Cutler as an example of a diabetes sports role model, I see him more as a pro athlete who managed his illness effectively while being paid millions and millions of dollars to perform a service which he never delivered (and perhaps worse that he didn’t seem concerned about not delivering). I’m willing to admit my perception may be tainted given my life long passion around the Chicago Bears (and as a former season ticket holder), but I’m not willing to excuse away Cutler’s obligation to deliver what he was being paid for. That said, I actually do think he is somewhat of a diabetes role model in terms of how to keep the illness in check with proper diet and exercise. He’s done a terrific job controlling that. However given playing with diabetes is no longer the stigma it once was, if Jay’s on field performance was only due to his diabetic condition, it seems to me teams would be teams lining up at the front door to sign him to at least a 1-2 year contract (as an experienced bridge or back-up QB if nothing else). Several teams are desperate for an experienced starting QB right now (Browns, Jets, 49ers) and even more need an experienced bridge or backup (Texans, Rams, Giants, Bucs, etc.) all of which could be decent fits for Cutler. In addition virtually every sports analyst has reported its a poor QB draft year. So why is it no team has shown any real interest in pursuing Cutler? I’m absolutely convinced it has nothing to do with his diabetes.

    • Wobbly Pop

      Your right agree to disagree ! I am from Chicago and yes do remember Santo but apples to oranges comparisons and sports don’t change the arguement nor do opinions which in the end is what your thoughts of Cuter are all about as are mine as are the writers and so on ! So removing what you or i or the writer think boil it down to team mates and overwhelmingly they will tell you he is a leader and they like him and his abilities ! So what was missing ? Well that comes back to what the data leaves us and what the writer wrote on it as those are facts rather than opinions and perception ! Kinda like looking at the sun and saying yep it’s there and yep it’s hot !

      • DocBVN71

        Fair enough. We both see Cutler in a different way and that’s OK because I’d rather disagree with another fan than not read one sharing their love of the Bears, and clearly we’re both pretty passionate about our Monsters of the Midwest. By the way I love your logo “Cops-Lives Matter.” We completely agree on that concept. I’m sure we’ll both be cheering for the Bears to kick some Green Bay tail next year. Go Bears!

        • Wobbly Pop

          Yep cheering for the Bears won’t change think or lots of thin LOL ! Thanks BTW for the support of brothers in blue as i have many many friends who are or were coppers as many call themselves . Several were ex military like myself so while i was dense enough to miss your patch / logo 1st time around i wish to thank you for it and i presume service at the same time ! During my time in i flew Hueys from Com 6th fleet stations to NATO bases all around the Med and Middle east . Lots of interesting stories but i doubt they were as interesting as what a guy in Nam had !

          • DocBVN71

            Thanks for your service as well my brother veteran. I was a medevac medic during my tour in Nam so I have incredible respect for the officers who flew our hueys in and out of LZs. My hats off to you for your time wearing the uniform. It’s been very frustrating for me to read/watch the press and many politicians making police officers out to be some sort of monsters in order to play up to certain voting blocks. Police officers put their lives on the line every day for little pay and they deserve everyone’s respect for how they serve & protect. I don’t want to get political here but I have to say I’m glad we no longer have police-hating comments coming out of the White House.

          • Wobbly Pop

            Appreciated ! Hey i am with ya 100% on the crapola spewed out from the last resident in the WH ! Seems however he is still in the game of meddling and a very sore loser . Lets hope the America we believe in can find it’s way again . And somehow someway politicians and the press alike get held accountable for taking this nation away from we the people !

  • Darrell Horwitz

    Could you please do the same breakdown for Aaron Rodgers? There has been numerous times where he hasn’t had great receivers, where he was running for his life behind his offensive line, and the defense was mediocre at best, and yet every year, his team is in the playoffs with a chance to win. Do you know why—because of him. He is a great quarterback. Cutler just had great tools.
    Please don’t go there with GOAT. The only reason that is even a discussion is because he played for a team that probably ranks 32 out of 32 teams all-time for the best quarterback in franchise history. Luckman was great in his time, but he didn’t play in the modern era. McMahon in my opinion was their best QB, but he was always injured.
    You can say the Bears are a screwed up organization and nobody would argue with you, but Cutler deserves plenty of the blame for his performance in Chicago.

  • Wobbly Pop

    Thanks you Andrew for that story and terrific breakdown ! Hope you do not mind i added some info below in a response to another comment ! The info i added was in relation to Jay’s diabetes which i do think is very important and most fans have no idea about !

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