Can Cutler Lead the Bears to the Super Bowl?

Jay Cutler's Quest for Vindication

11/26/12 in NFL   |   Andrew_Ericksen   |   230 respect

Nov 4, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) leaves the field after his team defeated the Tennessee Titans 51-20 during the second half at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-US PRESSWIREIn his 11 years as a starter for the Philadelphia Eagles, Donovan McNabb saw the full spectrum of fan reception from all-out critique to respect and admiration.  He made the Eagles a consistent powerhouse, a fixture in the NFC playoffs, but was never able to get the Eagles their first Super Bowl ring.  Now, his career in Philadelphia is seen in a few different lights, but the one factor that weighs most heavily on his time as an Eagle is his inability to get that ring. 
 
And now in his fourth year as a starter for the Bears, Jay Cutler’s is in a similar fight to be vindicated as a premier NFL Quarterback.
 
He’s constantly heckled throughout the NFL world for many reasons.  First off, he has a certain persona about himself that greatly contradicts with the game’s top Quarterbacks.  Brady is calm and collected, Rodgers has turned into a media darling, and, well, we all know how the Mannings have that confidence about themselves.  Cutler, on the other hand, comes off as nonchalant and too casual on the sidelines.  Plus, he’s rarely ever seen in advertisements.
 
He has also had a history of turnover problems ever since entering the league, with 97 interceptions and 22 lost fumbles in 88 career games.  A lot of those turnovers also seem to come at inopportune times, specifically prime-time matchups where Cutler has a history of struggling: 4 interceptions against the Packers in week 2’s Thursday night matchup and 2 interceptions and a QB rating of 16.7 against the Texans on Sunday Night Football before sitting the second half.
 
And that brings us to the main concern with Cutler: he’s incredibly injury prone, and the injuries always seem to come at the worst possible times.  When the Bears were a win away from the Super Bowl two years ago, Cutler went down and was unable to return against Green Bay.  When the Bears were 7-3 last season, Cutler went down and the Bears lost 6 of their last 7 games to miss the playoffs.  Then this year, after a 7-1 start, the Bears lost Cutler again and after two games without him, lost sole possession of first in the NFC North.
 
Oct 1, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) on the sidelines during the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Dallas Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIREWell this time around, Cutler came back.  And along with his return, the Bears are back on top of the NFC North alone.  If he can stay on the field, not only are the Bears one of the top competitors for the Super Bowl, but Cutler could be very well on his way to joining the elite class of Quarterbacks he’s rarely discussed with.
 
Stat-wise, Cutler clearly doesn’t compare with someone like Rodgers or Brady, but when you look at how valuable he is to his team, you begin to appreciate just how underrated he is in the scope of the game’s Quarterbacks.  In the last two seasons, Chicago is 15-4 when Cutler has played a complete game and 1-8 when he’s played only a fraction or not at all. 
 
Now it’s hard to compare these numbers with the game’s elite hurlers because none of them have missed nearly the amount of time that Cutler has – though I guess you can chalk up Manning’s absence in Indy last year as 2-14, which is quite comparable – but undeniable that Cutler takes the Bears from being a decently competitive team to being one of the NFC’s best. 
 
If he can stay on the field and lead the Bears into the postseason and overcome the prime-time game problems he’s had in the past, Chicago could be right on their way to the game’s biggest stage and Cutler could finally silence the many doubters.
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