About this time last year, former NFL quarterback Phil Simms was agreeing with the benching of Jay Cutler by an embattled Bears coaching staff and questioning whether things would ever click for Cutler as an NFL quarterback.
“Why would we think all of a sudden somebody’s going to get a hold of Jay and change who he is?” Simms said then via SiriusXM radio. “I don’t see that happening.”
Now Simms, an analyst for CBS broadcasting, in fact DOES see it happening for Cutler.
“He will be the quarterback, in my opinion, [in Chicago] next year, for many reasons,” Simms said on Tuesday during a conference call with NFL.com. “His play, what are you going to do? Draft somebody and try to start over and see if that works out with John Fox? He's done a tremendous job with the football team.”
Ironically, Simms, who directed the New York Giants to a win in Super Bowl XXI, has been among those holding a generally positive take on Cutler. “He’s mean,” Simms said. “He’s an angry guy. And I think angry is a big part of being a quarterback in the NFL.”
So is being with the right coach at just the right time, and the confluence of Cutler’s career and coordinator Adam Gase has been the tipping point. Gase has not sought to remake Cutler so much as cut back on Cutler’s decision-making and let the quarterback just play quarterback.
“The biggest reason: Adam Gase – the offense he's going to run, how he teaches it, it fits Jay Cutler. In other words, it's not we're just going to keep dropping back and, ‘Jay, you read the defense and make this decision.’
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“It reminds me a little more of the Mike Shanahan offense in Denver where he was going to put an emphasis on running the football, doing different things and keeping the defense off balance. Not just making the quarterback be a decision-maker every time he drops back there and make it tough.
“Physically, I’ve been very impressed with the way he's played. I think I've seen just about every game, and his decision-making has been very, very good, not taking near the chances throwing the football that I saw him take last year.”