Bears can’t win with Jay Cutler, ex-coaches say: report
CHICAGO — Several former Chicago Bears employees under both the Lovie Smith and Marc Trestman regimes have said they believe the Bears will not be able to win a Super Bowl as long as the team has Jay Cutler as their quarterback, according to a recent report.
ESPN reported Wednesday at least 10 former Chicago Bears staffers said in multiple interviews with the sports network that the team’s chances at consistently competing for a championship are slim so long as Jay Cutler is the one taking snaps under center.
One former coach said the Bears should be harder on Cutler and stop catering to the quarterback until he delivers a return on the club’s investment, ESPN reported. Cutler signed a new contract with the team last year for seven years, worth more than $120 million. The Bears have missed the playoffs in seven of the last eight seasons, including a last-place finish in 2014.
The report comes as the team has yet to announce their starting quarterback. Neither head coach John Fox nor general manager Ryan Pace, both hired this offseason, have committed to Cutler as the starter.
One ex-coach told ESPN that when Cutler went down with an injury in 2013, and quarterback Josh McCown took over, many of Cutler’s teammates believed McCown should have remained the starter. Another ex-coach told ESPN one of the team’s biggest mistakes was keeping Cutler and letting McCown go.
Despite the quarterback’s uncertain future, Fox has delivered some praise for the team’s franchise player.
“I don’t think there’s any question that there’s ability and talent there,” Fox said of Cutler, according to ESPN.
But the talent isn’t generally what draws criticism from teammates and fans alike, but rather his “divisive” character among his teammates and his “freelancing” playing style, ESPN reports.
Every staffer with whom ESPN spoke said Cutler’s biggest downfall is his rogue nature on the field, all saying it’s difficult for the quarterback to play within the confines of an organized offense, according to the network.
Despite criticism and doubt, it does appear Cutler could still be the team’s starter, ESPN notes. Cutler reportedly has a good relationship with new offensive coordinator Adam Gase.
But when recently asked of the quarterback situation, general manager Pace said, “We’re going to take our time on this,” according to ESPN. “We really have until mid-March. We’re going to maximize that time and make thorough decisions through this whole process.”