As was expected, Bears head coach Lovie Smith’s job security was the discussion around the Chicagoland area on a Monday following a sixth consecutive loss to division rival Green Bay and a fifth loss in six weeks that has left the Bears’ playoff hopes on life support.
But the scrutiny didn’t stop there; quarterback Jay Cutler took his lumps as well.
Cutler was the target of criticism from a few callers into radio shows, but he took the biggest haymakers from long-time Cutler basher, Dan McNeil, host of “The McNeil and Spiegel Show” on WSCR 670 The Score. There’s clearly no love lost from McNeil who repeatedly criticizes Cutler for not being able to win “big games.”
While it may be true that Cutler’s record in big games is not as good as it should be, I’m sitting here watching the paint dry on the wall waiting for him to give me an alternative option he’d rather have.
Go ahead. Name an “available” quarterback that you’d rather have than Cutler. A player who is more talented and could do more than Cutler given the talent surrounding the quarterback position for the Bears.
Cue the Jeopardy music…
I’ll give McNeil — and any other Cutler bashers out there — the answer to the question: there are none.
When McNeil criticizes Cutler, he almost invariably brings up Aaron Rodgers as a point of reference. Guess what, McNeil? There is only one Rodgers in the NFL. And he’s not available.
Likewise, there is only one Tom Brady, one Peyton Manning, one Drew Brees, and one Eli Manning. Those are the quarterbacks I would put into the “elite” category … and none of them are available. There are also a handful of other quarterbacks who are either in the same class as Cutler or slightly better, but none of those quarterbacks are available, either.
If there is a fan or member of the media out there who can propose a trade for any quarterback better than Cutler who could use the talent on the Bears offense better than Cutler can, please contact Bears GM Phil Emery right away.
Go ahead … put in a copy of Madden NFL Football into your video game console of choice and try to work out a trade.
The fact remains, Cutler is not a perfect quarterback. He has his flaws. But to those who overly criticize Cutler, but also verbally rip apart the offensive line, bemoan the flaws of Kellen Davis and the lack of a playmaking tight end, crack jokes about Devin Hester and deplore the depth at wide receiver … you can’t have it both ways! Very few quarterbacks in the league could do more with what Cutler has to work with here than Cutler himself. And the quarterbacks that could do better are not available because those teams would not give them up.
The situation with Smith is a little bit different. There certainly could be better head coaching choices out there, some who are not currently in football while others are waiting for their first chance. But, again, don’t just criticize Smith’s southern, laid-back demeanor and call for his dismissal. Give an actual solution for who you think would do a better job — and hopefully it’s not just a 1985 gimmick.
Give credit to McNeil’s co-host, Matt Spiegel, who actually put together a credible list of options to replace Smith as head coach and disclosed them on the air Monday. All of Spiegel’s candidates specialize in offense because, as he argues, the league is trending toward offense and the Bears need to follow suit.
I can’t disagree with that. If the Bears do, indeed, fire Smith at the end of this season, I would like them to look at offensive-minded replacements. But I also know that I’m not going to call out from the cheap seats for a replacement at head coach — or quarterback — without knowing for sure who I’d like to fill that role.
Former Bears general manager Jerry Angelo was well known for his sound bites — many of which were misused or butchered idioms, metaphors, or analogies — but one of the things he said that hit the nail squarely on the head was this:
“Everybody has an opinion, they need this, they need that. Well, tell me who you want. Who should we look at? Give me names. Don’t tell me about our problems, give me solutions. I’m in the solution business. Not identifying the problems. You [media] do a great job of identifying our problems. How about a few solutions?”
I couldn’t agree with him more.
You may want Smith fired or Cutler replaced, but offer a few solutions if you’re going to storm Halas Hall with pitchforks and flaming sticks. Because the number of quality replacements for Smith are few, and the ones for Cutler are nonexistent.