Criticism of Cutler’s Critics

by npiller88

Chuch isn't wrong on this one

Good foresight by Jeeves about this whole Jay Cutler mess. We expected Cutler-bashing, and we got it, with plenty of irrational vitriol, of course.

It is true, however, that Cutler didn’t really help his case by standing on the sidelines with nary an expression on that chubby face of his. He seemed, well, nonplussed. I can see why Bears fans let the emotion of the moment get to them and decided to throw their guy under the bus.

Body language is everything in today’s NFL, where sideline cameras cover everything coming out of the players, down to last chuckle or fart. Arizona Cardinals QB Derek Anderson can certainly attest to this after he was admonished by a local reporter for being “caught” laughing on camera in the midst of an embarrassing Monday Night Football loss to the lowly 49ers.

But the truth of the matter is that no one really fits into the “NFL player” box that the fans construct (Ok, maybe Brett Favre does, but to a fault). Players react to adversity in different ways. There is no one acceptable emotional response to a serious injury sustained in a key game. Some would probably scream to high hell and insist on remaining in the game, even against the advisement of the team’s medical professionals (see Favre, Brett). Others might realize their fate and accept a role as a motivating cheerleader on the sideline (a guy like Ray Lewis would probably react in such a way). And others pull a Jay Cutler, complete with the glassy stare and hint of tears on the horizon. But whatever the reaction, it’s not fair to make judgments about character based on these kinds of isolated incidents. Fans expect certain displays from their beloved players. I remember a frustrated friend of mine commenting after the game that “You can bet most guys in Chicago would go out there on a broken leg if given the opportunity. Why wasn’t he at least trying to pump up his teammates?” That is probably fair. And I can certainly understand his frustration, given the emotion of the day. But the fact is, the NFL culture has become so gladiatorial in nature that all rationality gets thrown out the window. Don’t Bears fans want Cutler to be ok for next season? It was just a hard pill to swallow for them, and complaining about his attitude isn’t going to make that pill go down any smoother.

I was glad to see Sir Charles chime in today on my side. His criticism sidestepped the reporters and targeted the players who questioned Cutler’s heart. In today’s macho NFL, in which a herd mentality reigns and players feel compelled to emphasize toughness over rationality at every turn (see the widespread player reaction to increased fines in response to illegal hits) it’s nice to have a former star exposing the ludicrousness of the “toughness above all” mentality.

Chuck had this to say:

That crosses the line, because you don’t know. If you go back and start looking at all the stuff that’s been said, and clearly one of the more vocal critics was Maurice Jones-Drew, and then you find out he missed the last two games with a bad knee. And he was really the first guy who crucified Jay. You have to be careful, because in the two most important games of the year, he sat out with a bad knee. And then it really makes him look like an idiot now.

Good point Chuck. Good point.

But I’ll give the Bears fans this: Cutler was too aloof after the injury, and you could see it in his sideline demeanor. None of the players should have questioned his heart, but maybe a shot at his enthusiasm would be justified. What’s that, Chuck? You Agree?

I was very disappointed he wasn’t there trying to work with that young kid. There were a couple of shots of them on the sideline, with [Hanie] looking at pictures, and [Cutler] was just disengaged. That’s a fair criticism.

Still, It’s time to end this obsession with the thuggish mentality pervading throughout the league. When guys like James Harrison scoff at increased penalties for illegal hits by admitting that they “try to hurt people,” red flags should shoot up in the minds of fans. Hard hits are great, and make the game great. But glorifying injury inducement and questioning a guy’s heart after his knee was rendered useless is a big step in the wrong direction. Every time a guy like Sir Charles steps out of the herd, a few players who feel pressured to talk tough all the time and conceal their true feelings about safety probably smile.

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3 Comments to “Criticism of Cutler’s Critics”

  1. I can understand why he looked so despondent on the sidelines. I’d probably look like that too.

    It’s arguable whether the 2 second glimpses of Cutler on the sideline are sufficient to determine whether he was fully withdrawn from the discussions. Accroding to Hanie (dunno if he’s being truthful or P.C.) on DS, “”He helped me out numerous times throughout the game. Before I went in the game he came to me and said hey trust yourself, trust your reads, use your feet if you have to, don’t be afraid to do that, and trust your O-line. That calmed me down a little bit. Then after we went down and scored, I had the adrenaline flowing a little bit after that touchdown, and the same thing, right when I got to the sidelines he was the first one to say hey great drive, now we’ve just got to go get another one , make sure you stay calm and composed in there. He did that numerous times throughout the game, so people don’t see that. I guess people didn’t see that on T.V. but it definitely happened.”

    from here:http://deadspin.com/5742016/caleb-hanie-also-quit–on-his-mustache

    So basically yeah, I don’t think Cutler should have been ripped on especially by a hypocrite like Jones-Drew

  2. Great article here. Man, the news never stops in the NFL eh? It has been really interesting to see all the different angles that people have been taking with regards to the Jay Cutler story. The players obviously have a dislike for Cutler and were not going to give him the benefit of the doubt on anything. I think it shows a lack of respect from his fellow NFLers, which can’t be a good sign for a player. Despite his god given abilities and him taking his team to the NFC Championship this year there is definitely something missing in Cutler. I personally think the players had the right to talk because, well, it’s a free country right. However, it can’t be any good for Cutler and Chicago has to figure out where they wanna go with their QB situation because I know a lot of NFL fans are calling for the Bears to go in a different direction. Also, you think you could check out my blog cuz I’d love to hear what you have to say. http://chrisross91.wordpress.com/2011/01/25/emotional-disconnect/

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