Jay Cutler is expected back on the practice field Wednesday after leaving Sunday night’s smackdown with a concussion. All head safety precautions aside, it’s best if the Bears took their sweet, sweet time bringing him back to the gridiron.
The Bears were supposed to be the bread winners when they traded away Kyle Orton, a fourth-rounder in 2005 who failed to find success in three years in Chicago, for Cutler — the 11th overall pick in 2006.
Cutler, although just 17-20 as Broncos starter, was pretty solid in Denver. In 2008, he threw for a franchise record 4,526 yards, 25 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. In his 37-game career in Denver, he completed 62.5 percent of his passes for 9,024 yards, 54 TDs and 37 interceptions.
But such personal success apparently went to his head.
When new head coach Josh McDaniels came to town, there were rumors of taking Matt Cassel with him, and Cutler didn’t like the idea of that one bit so he whined his way out of town and the Bears reaped in the rewards.
However, two years later, it’s obvious which team came out on top from this trade. In his first season with the Bears, Cutler threw for 3,666 yards on 60.5 percent passing — his lowest as a starter. He did happen to connect for a career-most 27 TDs but at the price of a career-high 26 interceptions.
Not only is Orton now leading the league with 1,419 passing yards, Denver was also able to score first-round picks in 2009 (linebacker Robert Ayers, at 18th overall, who has 17 total tackles and two sacks this season) and 2010, along with a third-round pick (84th overall) in 2009 by trading Cutler. Chicago is now stuck with a concussed Cutler, who was sacked nine times in the first half against the Giants. But the swiss cheese offensive line can’t be blamed for all of these sacks. The average time it takes for an NFL defender to sack a quarterback is 2.7 seconds. On eight of the nine Giants sacks, Cutler held the ball for at least 3.2 seconds.
Shocked? You shouldn’t be. He leads the league having been sacked 17 times this season already and has been taken down 103 times in his four-plus year career — just three of which were as a starter.
The Bears shouldn’t just be forced to sit Cutler this weekend, they should want to sit him — no matter what he says. In 2003, when Cutler was at Vanderbilt, he didn’t reveal a concussion he suffered Sept. 20, 2003, against TCU. The coaching staff didn’t know, but his teammates sure did because he was calling wrong plays in the huddle.
Plus, do the Bears really need him calling wrong plays and throwing picks and getting sacked? After all, this is a Bears team that made it to the Super Bowl in 2006 with Rex Grossman under center.
Although at 3-1 this year, the recipe for success going forward in the Windy City can be found in the running game, and with one of the game’s most versatile backs in Matt Forte in the backfield, the offense should be eager to get the ball in his hands even more.
The Bears also have experienced rusher Chester Taylor in the backfield, who has nearly 30 career TDs over nine NFL seasons. Second-year fullback Eddie Williams can finally get some action and serve as a solid lead blocker for Forte and Taylor.
Yes, you’re putting the fate of your offense in quarterback Todd Collins, an aging Chester Taylor and an inexperienced fullback in Eddie Williams, but at least it’s better than an underachieving, concussed Jay Cutler.