When Jay Cutler left his groin in a pile in DC several weeks ago, we all thought the season was over. Once again, an injury to the one competent Bears QB on the roster would fell the entire house of cards and we’d have months of terrible football to slog through. But lo, there was another.
The Bears rummaged through the scrap heap and pulled out Josh McCown, and he was pretty good. He nearly won a ludicrous shootout in that game, and then after the bye he got a start in Lambeau Field. Shea McClellin made himself useful for once and broke Aaron Rodgers’ collarbone and McCown played well enough for the Bears to win the game.
After Cutler rushed back (too soon) and got hurt again in a loss to Detroit, McCown played well in a tornadic victory against the Ravens and in a head-scratching loss to the Rams. He did not (despite good stats) play well in a road loss to the Vikings, but then last night he went crazy on the Dallas Cowboys (helped in no small part by two dropped interceptions and another that was called back because of a penalty.)
Ahh, the meatheads are out in full force. They’re all saying that Jay Cutler quit, that he couldn’t handle being down 14-0 in the NFC Championship game so he just started limping around and then took himself out of a game so that his sterling backups Todd and Caleb could finish things up.
And I’ll admit that yesterday, when Jay first got hurt I was in meathead mode myself.
Some of you got these tweets from my award-winning Twitter feed:
If Cutler can stand up he needs to play.
Unless he gets major reconstructive surgery on his knee tomorrow, Cutler will never live this down. And shouldn’t.
It didn’t take me too long to figure out just how wrong I was.
Look, we know Jay Cutler is a lot of things. He’s a punk. He’s got really weird hair. He’s careless with his footwork and where he throws the football, but he’s not a quitter. So I immediately regretted sending both of those twats. The good news is that barely anybody actually reads my tweets, so it really doesn’t mean anything. It was just suffering the sheer panic of Todd Collins actually being in a playoff game taking snaps.
LaDanian Tomlinson got the same crap a few years ago when he limped out of an AFC Championship game against New England, while his own quarterback, Phillip Rivers was hobbling around on a torn ACL. Does anybody really think that LaDanian Tomlinson isn’t tough?
So let the meatheads have their fun. They need someone to focus their rage on, and it might as well be Jay. But Jay didn’t quit. He got hurt. It happens, it’s football. The Bears, however, continued their lifetime achievement of failed public relations with the inept way they handled the announcement of Jay’s injury. He was out, and he probably deserves some credit for limping out for the first possession of the third quarter and giving it a shot, but instead they said he was “questionable.” So that made every dope on their couch, like me (and amazingly like half of the Jacksonville Jaguars–including Maurice Jones-Drew who sat out the final two games of the season when the Jags needed a win to make the playoffs) think that Jay should be doing SOMETHING to get ready to play again.
The only ‘something’ we saw was the sad (and really funny) sight of him on the bike on the sidelines trying to pedal it while still wearing his cape.
The Jay Cutler we’ve seen the last two years isn’t going to quit. He’s going to get hammered and he’s going to get up and he’s going to throw some more interceptions. That’s what he does.
What he needs to do, apparently, is go the full Favre. When he was in for that first possession of the third, and he realized that his bad knee wasn’t going to allow him to back up or step into his throws he needed to crumple to the ground and force the training staff to carry him to the sidelines. Instead he limped off and then stood there, while Bears fans built up rage and bile.
I could write a novella about the stupidity of not having a capable backup quarterback on the roster, but I’ll keep it shorter than that. The reason Todd Collins was the number two QB was that he knows the plays, he knows the reads and he gives you the best chance to still run your whole offense. But..he’s also 40 years old and can’t move and so, he’s useless when the bullets start flying.
The reason Caleb Hanie is number three is because when a team runs the most basic zone blitz in the world, he throws the ball to their nose tackle. I will give Caleb credit though, he made some plays, he didn’t play scared and he legitimately made the fourth quarter of that game interesting and fun. He also shaved off his weird playoff mustache between the end of the game and press conference, which was a nice touch.
It would have been nice to have seen that second half play out with Cutler able to be in the game, though. The Bears figured out the Packers offense about halfway through the second quarter and made Aaron Rodgers look mortal. But that’s now how the game works.
For now, I’ll busy myself ignoring any further coverage of this Cutler injury story because I’m already tired of it, and apparently my view on it is the same as David Huh and Rick Telander. So that makes me really uncomfortable. So I’ll leave you with this, Brian Urlacher’s postgame quote when asked if he thinks Jay is tough:
“Jay was hurt. We don’t question his toughness. He’s tough as hell. He’s one of the toughest guys on our football team. He doesn’t bitch, he doesn’t complain when he gets hit. He goes out there and plays his ass off every Sunday. He practices every single day. We don’t question his toughness.”
Oooh, hey there. Glad you stopped by. I’m just putting the final touches here on the game plan for Sunday’s big game.
I really think we’re going to win this game, don’t you? I was just watching some tape on on our offense against Seattle and I thought Jay was just tremendous. Just really, really great. You know, he’s really, really smart, don’t you? He’s a joy to coach. He’s really brilliant. He has a great feel for the game, he’s really just so much fun to be around.
He knows that St. Louis isn’t the state capital of Missouri. Just knew it right off the top of his head, didn’t have to look it up or anything. Jefferson City. You bet. Most people think it’s St. Louis. But not Jay. Really smart guy.
Let me give you an example of why Jay’s such a really special human being. It was during the Giants game. You remember that game, right? It was a Sunday night game in New York. We had a couple of really minor, I mean just small, problems with some of our protections and the Giants set an NFL record for sacks in a half. I mean, just some little things we needed to clear up. Nothing to really worry about.
On one of the last plays of the half, Jay was hit pretty hard by a blitzing defensive back and when he hit the ground his helmet kind of bounced off the turf. Now see, what happens is that your brain is in your skull of course–Jay knows this, because he’s so smart–but it’s literally floating in some goo called cerebrospinal fluid, and say you are in a car accident, or maybe you’re a professional quarterback and your head slams into the turf–we’re just talking anecdotally here–your brain can actually shift in your skull and displace some of the cerebrospinal fluid and your brain can kind of smash into your skull. And you can actually bruise your brain a little bit. And then you kind of drool on yourself and everything goes white and your body tries to protect itself by making you fall asleep and if you do that you might just kind of suffer, well, death.
OK, anyway, so Jay does the falling down, head bouncing off the turf deal and he drools, things go white and he looks like it’s nap time. So I leave him in the game for the next series. I’m just trying to keep him from falling asleep, and it works and he lands on his head a couple more times, and when we meet at halftime he’s calling everybody “Judy” and he’s foaming at the mouth a little bit, so I tell him that Lovie and I have decided to take him out and use Todd Collins, because Todd is a really smart guy and he’s super talented.
You know what he says?
“Whatever, I don’t really care.”
Can you believe that? Now that is leadership. He just wants what is best for the team. No ego on this guy. Just a great human being. You know how you can donate like $20 to that one NBA charity and they’ll buy mosquito nets for a whole village in Ghana? Jay is like a human mosquito net. I really love him.
You know who else is really smart? Devin Hester. At midseason we cut the number of plays he needed to know down by like 80 percent. But it’s not because he couldn’t learn them. No sir. We just figured that if he could know 100 plays at a level that Albert Einstein could be envious of, imagine how well he would know 20? He’s like Stephen Hawking without the wheelchair. Sure he still lines up in the wrong spot once and a while, but I’m sure it’s because he sees something in the defense that shows him that the play would be even better if instead of lining up in the left slot he lined up covering the tight end on the right side. His perception of plays is off the charts. Just outstanding.
What do you want me to tell you about Frank Omiyale? I think he’s incredible. We moved him to left tackle during a game in Dallas and our offensive line has been incredibly brilliant ever since. What I love about Frank, and I’d show you here on this film if we had just a little more time, he knows when to stop blocking a guy. Some players they’ll lock onto a defender and they’ll block him for the entire play, they’ll ride him past the QB and slam the guy into the turf. But Frank? Sometimes he won’t block his guy at all! He’s setting the guy up for when we really need him blocked. Another thing he’s great at? Sometimes he’ll actually let his defender push him all the way into the quarterback. Now see, this is really smart. What’s going to hurt a QB more? Getting hit by a guy with a full on head of steam, or having a 340 pound pillow shoved into you? Right? I mean, I wish the casual fan could appreciate the complexity of the game.
Now take a team like Green Bay, who we’re going to be pummeling tomorrow on our way to the NFC Championship. They’re a great team. They might be the greatest team I’ve ever seen. Charles Woodson is unbelievable. Clay Matthews is wonderful, just wonderful. I know that we need to establish the run and we’re going to, believe me. We’re going to give the ball to Matt Forte and to Chester Taylor and we’re going to really commit to grinding it down the field. I could honestly see us run the ball four or five times a half. Maybe more. Probably not. I mean, come on, we’re only 60 minutes away from the Super Bowl, we’re going to sling that thing. What’s the NFC Championship game record for passing yards in a game? I don’t care if it’s 700, we’re going to smash it. I might never get back here, you think I’m going to just call a bunch of handoffs?
What’s that? Just a second, Coach Smith wants to talk to me. I’ll be right back. He’s a great coach by the way, and an even better man. Remind me to tell you the story about that family he saved from the house fire. I’ll be right back.
Hey, you’re still here. Great. You know, you’re a really, really good listener. Just incredible really. Great job by you.
OK, you realize that stuff about only running the ball four or five times in a half, I was just kidding right? Yeah, sure, I mean we are going to run it like we’re the ’72 Dolphins. I was just being hilariously funny with all the stuff about setting the NFC Championship game record for passing yards.
Anyway, I have to go make just a few little, really minor, tiny really, adjustments to the game plan. So thanks for your time. You did a great job. Thanks for your time.
Oh, yeah, one last thing. It’s 381 yards.
And we’re gonna smoke the shit out of it.