No Bears should be safe, not even Cutler

  • Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is hit by Seattle Seahawks strong safety Jeron Johnson during a loss at Soldier Field in early December.

    Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is hit by Seattle Seahawks strong safety Jeron Johnson during a loss at Soldier Field in early December. George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

Posted12/19/2012 5:30 AM

As Bears GM Phil Emery ponders the future, it's not nearly as simple as firing Lovie Smith.

Though many Bears fans would agree it's a good start.


Emery has to decide about so much that is tied to Smith, like his coaching staff and quarterback.

If he fires Smith, he does so knowing that a new head coach means yet another offensive coordinator for Jay Cutler, his sixth in the last seven years.

Think about that: six offensive coordinators in seven years. It's no wonder Cutler looks so unhappy all the time.

OK, he would look unhappy regardless, but it's a ridiculous way to treat a QB if you want him to be his very best.

Does Emery go for patchwork and try to get something together so Cutler can succeed next season? And what would that take? He needs linemen, receivers, a tight end, coaching, play calls and a system.

Or does Emery rip the entire mess apart and draft a new QB?

There is proof all over the NFL the last few years that you can get an offensive mind at head coach and you can draft a QB ready to play.

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Ten years ago you would never have considered cutting loose a QB like Cutler because that sort of physical ability was so hard to find. Today, you can find college quarterbacks ready to play in the NFL because they're playing in NFL-style offenses for NFL-style coaches.

Cutler has a year left on his contract, and if he wants to be paid like a top-tier quarterback, he probably -- at some point in his career -- should play like a top-tier quarterback.

Some of it is on Cutler. Some of it is the mess around him.

Emery has to know that few quarterbacks could succeed with a horrible offensive line, receivers who leave their hands at home, guys who can't run routes and play-calling that has forgotten such simplicities as the play-action pass.

As for imagination, the Bears are a black-and-white TV in a tablet world, perhaps knowing they don't have the personnel to understand or execute anything complicated. Maybe it's all the Bears can do to line up and hand off.


At the same time, in seven years in the NFL, Cutler has never proven to be a big-game quarterback who can manage the pressure, while Aaron Rodgers succeeds with many of the same personnel issues.

Cutler makes the same bad decisions he made when he entered the league, but when you're as bad offensively as the Bears, maybe Cutler has to force passes or the Bears will never move the football.

He has never gotten along with coaches, so what do you give him to make him happy? He's also never shown leadership qualities, and he inspires no one around him. Those are characteristics you might want to have in the guy who is supposed to be your best player.

Still, he is immensely talented, and the Bears should be able to put a team around him. If Phil Emery thinks he can do that quickly, he will give Cutler that new contract and try to win sooner rather than later.

If Emery sees this as years away, what would be the point in paying Cutler to stand back there, take a beating and be miserable for another four years?

Cutler must think the words of Dr. Peter Venkman, who famously said, "I don't have to take this abuse from you. I got hundreds of people dying to abuse me."

Yeah, Cutler has to decide, as well, whether he wants to go through a rebuild, or if there's a team he might join where he doesn't have to leave a change of clothes in the emergency room.

So many questions and so few answers readily available.

You have a dysfunctional team that needs serious alterations, and everything should be on the table. The only players who have truly earned their money this year are Brandon Marshall and -- before he got hurt -- Robbie Gould.

Other than that, Emery should consider sweeping change.

And that starts at the top.

•Hear Barry Rozner on WSCR 670-AM and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.

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