Imrem: Time to boot Emery out the door
Simply put, Bears general manager Phil Emery should be fired for making Jay Cutler the NFL's highest-paid offensive player.
Not just because Emery did it but because he did it under the false premise that an unfixable quarterback can be fixed at the advanced age of 31.
Head coach Marc Trestman noted Thursday that there are examples of it happening. Maybe so but it's still like trying to teach a 31-year-old Buick how to fly.
Trestman said a day earlier when asked whether he has been getting the best out of Cutler: "I think that's evident I haven't." He sounded defeated and a couple hours later the story leaked that Jimmy Clausen would replace Cutler for Sunday's game against the Lions.
(By the way, was it coincidence that the stock market responded with a Santa Clausen rally?)
"I think we need a spark," Trestman said of the quarterbacks switch. "It's performance based. We're not getting enough out of the quarterback."
Trestman arrived in Chicago last season, which was Cutler's eighth in the NFL and fifth with the Bears. It was too late to right everything that was wrong with Cutler, from decision making to mechanics to psyche.
A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article in mid-November indirectly addressed how difficult a project Trestman undertook. The piece revolved around Packers quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt's work with third-stringer Scott Tolzien.
Up in Green Bay, the Packers know something about the quarterback position from van Pelt to head coach Mike McCormick to starter Aaron Rodgers.
"It's hard for anybody to change their throwing mechanics this far along in their career," van Pelt said. "You go back to Tim Tebow, he struggled to change that. It's habitual, until you beat it out of yourself for a few years."
Tolzien, a product of Wisconsin and Fremd High School, might still have time to beat it out of himself because his NFL experience amounts to only 90 pass attempts.
Cutler? He's beyond the point of making considerable progress even as Trestman says, "Jay is coachable."
Cutler continues to be the same turnover machine that he has been since the Broncos unloaded him on the Bears in 2009. Every season since has been pretty much a case of Jayda vu.
Why should Cutler change anyway? Last winter, Emery endorsed the quarterback for elite status by giving him that gigantic contract.
So Cutler keeps throwing into coverage and his season and career interception totals keep mounting.
Trestman never was going to be able to do much more than tweak Cutler. The next Bears coach won't be able to either.
Emery should be fired for thinking anyone could.
Let's go back to Milwaukee, where another Journal Sentinel article was headlined, "Aaron Rodgers has made avoiding interceptions an art."
The point was that the Packers' quarterback made it a priority throughout his career -- from high school to junior college to Cal-Berkeley to the NFL -- to limit interceptions.
"Well," Rodgers said to the great pro football writer Bob McGinn, "I think I had this mindset since I was really bad as an eighth-grader and ninth-grader. Then I started to figure it out my sophomore year. About taking care of the football and being more accurate and tying your feet to the throw."
No wonder Rodgers has the lowest interception rate in NFL history. No wonder that he can rattle off the number of interceptions he threw in each of his college seasons.
Do you think limiting turnovers ever has been enough of a priority for Jay Cutler that he can recall how many he committed in any season anywhere?
No, it likely hasn't been.
Phil Emery should be fired for not recognizing that before raining money on Jay Cutler.