I remember where I was. I remember the excited feeling. Was this an April Fools Joke? Chicago sports teams usually don’t get players like this, they always seem to be #2. The rumor was that the Washington Redskins were in the mix too. The question going around today on sports talk radio is: Would you do it again?
I didn’t have to think long about this at all. Hell yes. That was probably one of the better trades GM Jerry Angelo pulled off in his tenure with the Bears. He had a real problem drafting offensive players and sometimes wasted picks on defensive ones as well. Maybe gave too much away with sending Kyle Orton too, but if that was the deal breaker, then so be it. Jay Cutler has been one of the best, if not the best quarterback in Bears history. He’s got the stats to prove it.
The failure was in not putting enough players around Jay. Whether it be the offensive line or wide receivers. They even had an all-pro tight end in Greg Olsen, but traded him away after he had is best season. There wasn’t a lot of stability with Jay in the coaching staff either. Ron Turner was Cutler’s first offensive coordinator and either Jay or Lovie chased him out of town. Mike Martz was next up and he seemed to get the most out of Jay. Injury cut his second season with Martz short and Mike Tice became the 4th offensive coordinator Jay would have in 4 seasons. Tice might have been over matched but Cutler didn’t do him any favors. Lovie and Tice would soon be out and 2nd year GM, Phil Emery would call on QB whisperer and Canadian Football coach, Marc Trestman. Trestman’s system was very QB friendly, even to the point longtime Journeyman Josh McCown ran it better than Jay did. Emery and Trestman still decided Jay was their man, and offered him a long term contract.
This is the where the wheels fell off the cart. At most, Jay should have been offered a 2 year extension, if he didn’t like it, the franchise tag. I wrote about this at the time. I say this as a big Jay Cutler fan. Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte, Alshon Jefferey and Martellus Bennett could not save Jay from himself. I’m not sure there was a more talented group of targets around any other QB in 2014. It got so bad it led to splintering in the locker room. Bears offensive coordinator and line coach, Aaron Kromer admitted to being a ‘confidential source’ in an NFL report that they had “buyers remorse” on Jay. Really? This was pretty unfair as the Bears, mostly Phil Emery and Trestman, put themselves in the hole. What did they see in 2014 that made them think Jay was something different than he was?
Emery and Trestman were canned at the end of the season. Bears chairman George McCaskey told us how pissed off mama Bear McCaskey was. This would not stand. The football gods smiled on the Bears, a charter franchise, one of the very first teams in the NFL. Perhaps it was old man George Halas up in the heavens calling in a favor: In shocking news, Jon Fox was let go from his duties with the Denver Broncos. Their loss almost immediately became the Bears gain. The Bears suddenly went from laughing stock, to serious football team again when they hired Fox. Not only that, one of the hottest names in head coaching searches, Adam Gase wound up being Fox’s offensive coordinator. The coup d’é·tat? Vic Fangio became available after the 49ers fired Jim Harbaugh and most of his staff.
I picture Halas and Payton up in the clouds somewhere, grinning from ear to ear. I’m not sure Cutler is the best option for 2015 and the near future. He sure was back in 2009. Jay gives the Bears “the best chance to win” right now. I’m not sure there is any disputing that. I’m hoping they add another QB via the 2015 NFL draft. I have written about some other possibilities. There are a couple guys on rosters right now. The hope is that the Bears can rebuild the defense and limit the damage Jay can do to himself and the team, much like what Tony Romo did last year. Problem is, Romo was never as disruptive to his offense or defense as Jay has been. The numbers speak for themselves.