Bears

View from the Moon: Why so personal with Jay?

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View from the Moon: Why so personal with Jay?

Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011
6:14 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

You want to be done with the Jay Cutler nonsense but it just keeps a-comin.

Of all the aspects of the Jay Cutler Affair, the most difficult to understand was the trashing he received at the hands of his NFL colleagues. It was seriously obvious that so much of the venom was oozing from dislike for Cutler; it was personal, not professional.

But even that doesnt explain the level of the antipathy. Why so personal?

Detroit Lions linebacker Zack Follett may have the answer. Now, bear in mind that in the same radio interview, chronicled in the Detroit Free Press, Follett dubs his own franchise quarterback, Matthew Stafford, a china doll because of Staffords injure-ability.

Follett, who finished the year on IR with a neck injury, did his best Maurice Jones-Drew backdown imitation, going on his Twitter account to clarify, Thats my bad on the China Doll comment.

But before that he gave a look at even though football may in the end be a business, it is still eminently personal.

I think the way he carries himself. We played him the first game of the season. He kind of has a swagger about him that. a little cockiness that it kind of makes defensive players kind of chomp at the mouth. Were ready to get at him. Our defensive coordinator, Gunther Cunningham, he wasnt a big fan of Cutler.

Throw that in with a segment of opinion viewing Cutler as a spoiled punk for the way he engineered his exit from Denver (which just about any working stiff would do from their job if they didnt like where they worked and had some juice to force a change), and you have the nub of it:

You dont like somebody? Then theyre guilty until proven innocent.

Logical thinking

The Cutler fallout has obscured the naming of the 2010 All-Pro team, which included Julius Peppers as one defensive end and Devin Hester as the returner. Chris Harris and Brian Urlacher were named to the second team.

Colleague Tom Curran out east at CSNNE.com, our Comcast New England operation, takes you on an insightful tour of his thinking behind each ballot he cast. Tom also tells you which way he voted and why when it was a different direction than the eventual winner.

Good stuff. And heres a hint: Urlacher didnt miss First Team by much.

A new low every hour

Just when you think youve heard just about every slime-ball comment and insult of Jay Cutler, now you have former Packer Greg Koch weighing in (pun intended).

Koch tells a Houston radio show that he saw Cutler as the X-factor (now there is some pithy insight) but I just never thought that his tampon would fall out on national TV.

Cutler was riding the stationary bike on the sideline like a little girl, Koch observed from his position as a savvy exercise therapist. Then putting his plastic stethoscope around his neck and chrome reflector head-band on, Dr. Koch prescribed treatment for Cutlers torn knee ligament, You can brace that thing.

The former tackle blocked for quarterbacks so he knows all of them well enough to contradict the notion that trainers (or perhaps, oh, I dont know, maybe a head coach) could shut one down. Oh, bull Nobody wouldve kept Tom Brady off the field if he wanted to play. Nobody wouldve kept Peyton Manning off the field.

Never mind that Cutler did come back in. I told you its a no-strings-attached league.

(Oh, and as far as putting the URL here for linking to the broadcast, Ill pass. This guy doesnt need any more attention that he just got here.)

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should the Bears let Mitch Trubisky throw more?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should the Bears let Mitch Trubisky throw more?

Adam Jahns (Chicago Sun-Times), Ben Finfer (ESPN 1000) and Jordan Cornette (The U/ESPN 1000) join Kap on the panel. Justin Turner hits a walk-off 3-run HR off of John Lackey to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead in the NLCS. So why was Lackey even in the game? How much blame should Joe Maddon get for the loss?

The Bears run the ball over and over and over again to beat the Ravens in overtime, but should they have let Mitch Trubisky throw the ball more?

Two reasons why the Bears could finally start stacking wins

Two reasons why the Bears could finally start stacking wins

The Bears winning a road game against a perennial playoff contender, one with a winning record coming in – that’s great.

Winning in Baltimore with a rookie quarterback in only his second NFL appearance – that’s terrific.

Generating more takeaways than giveaways and netting points from them – that’s just outstanding.

And now what?

Because too often under John Fox the Bears have posted a victory and failed to have it mean much of anything because of what followed a week later – a largely self-inflicted loss. The Bears have not posted consecutive wins since midway through the 2015 season, and even then proceeded to unravel on by squandering opportunities sitting squarely within their grasp.

Why should this time be any different? Because if it’s not, and the Bears again fail to stack even one win on top of another, then a dominating performance against the Baltimore Ravens (leaving out special teams, which surrendered in two plays more points than the defense did in 14 entire Baltimore possessions) becomes another meaningless afternoon in the overall for a team determined to reinvent itself.

Coaches typically divide seasons mentally into quarters, and clearly in Fox’s mind, Sunday was part of a different quarter from the 1-3 first quarter. “Really it takes almost four games, it’s almost like the preseason anymore, where you kind of get it figured out,” Fox said. “So just developing that confidence, usually good things have to happen to gain that confidence. And we did some good things.”

But the Bears have done “some good things” in games past and it becomes much ado about nothing, sound and fury signifying less than nothing. So again: Why should this time be any different?

Two reasons, actually. Neither absolute, but neither very complicated, either.

Reason No. 1: Trubisky

Without making too much out of one individual player, the chief reason arguably lies in the person of Mitchell Trubisky, a quarterback who already has palpably changed the psyche of a previously languishing team.

“The team didn’t make nearly as many mental errors this week because of his patience,” said wide receiver Kendall Wright, who supported Trubisky with a leaping catch of 18 yards to set up the game-winning field goal.

Unlike Mike Glennon, Matt Barkley, Brian Hoyer and 2016 Jay Cutler, each of whom won one game and one game only over the past 22, Trubisky delivered the ball security of Hoyer with added impact that none of his predecessors did manage, or arguably even could have managed.

Put simply, the Bears do in fact have a quarterback who even at this point appears able not only to make plays as drawn up, but also to create something out of nothing or at least avert catastrophe.

“Mitch made some great plays,” Fox said. “I mean, if you look at the snap over his head in the end zone, there’s probably only five or six or seven quarterbacks in this league that could get out of that. I go back to the touchdown pass to Dion [Sims, tight end]. He flushed [from the pocket], we adjusted and he dropped a dime in the end zone for a touchdown. And the play obviously at the end where more than likely if we don’t get that, we’re probably punting, the play he made to Kendall. I think Mitch played outstanding… .

“Those are really good decisions. It beats six interceptions, for sure. There’s a 3rd-and-3 play in the red area, low red, sprint out to our left. It wasn’t all perfect but he did the next best thing and that’s throw it away. So those are really, really good decisions that I think sometimes the casual or un-casual fan does not see.”

The noteworthy element in Trubisky’s game was the impact achieved by a Bears quarterback who completed all of eight passes. The reality is that Trubisky doesn’t need to attempt more than 20 passes a game (including the four sacks his protection allowed, which absolutely needs to be fixed).

For perspective purposes: Ben Roethlisberger in his first two seasons averaged 17.4 and 15.9 passes per game. The Pittsburgh Steelers reached the AFC Championship game and won the Super Bowl in those two seasons, running an offense that was just short of 60 percent runs.

Reason No. 2: Mistake reduction

A mistaken notion as to how improvement happens is the belief that it comes from just getting better and better, skill sets rising to the loftiest heights.

Not necessarily. Anyone who has had the good fortune of working their golf handicap down knows that the stroke reductions come less from suddenly adding 30 yards to drives or developing a draw on a 200-yard three-iron, than from eliminating the fluffed pitch shots, the approach shots pushed into traps, the drives into the woods. Cut down the mistakes and good things happen.

So it is with the Bears, who effectively lost the Minnesota game by allowing a 58-yard TD run by Jerick McKinnon, and sealed it with a poor Trubisky pass on a possession with a chance to tie or win. They lost the Atlanta game simply by dropping passes. They aren’t as good as the Green Bay Packers – at least not until Trubisky reaches full extension and proves to be a challenge to Aaron Rodgers.

But only in the Atlanta near-miss did they self-destruct with fewer penalties (four) than they did at Baltimore (five). Sunday was the first time since Atlanta that they threw zero interceptions. And the defense limited the Ravens to three third-down conversions out of 18, one indicator of fewer breakdowns on the most important down.

“As long as we eliminate those mistakes that we’ve been making,” Fox said, “we’re gonna be right there going into the end of the game.”

The Bears have had positive spikes in the past and then collapsed; even after winning three of four in late 2015, the inept home losses to San Francisco and Washington were arguably a tipping point in the Fox era.

The point next Sunday against Carolina is to determine if the Bears are through with their one-and-done ways.