Jay Cutler Continues to Get a Free Pass in Chicago

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) fires a pass against the Minnesota Vikings in the first half of an NFL football game
Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) fires a pass against the Minnesota Vikings in the first half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

The word coming out of Bears camp this week was "accountability."

It started when Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall criticized the team's offense in a post-game press conference after their 21-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

"It's the same every single game," said Marshall. "We need to be held accountable."

The problem is that no one agreed on who. The most logical answer is everyone shares some of the blame for the Bears offensive woes. They rank 29th in total offense just above the New York Jets.

However, if you were to read and listen to reaction out of Chicago on Monday, only one name seemed to come away unscathed... quarterback Jay Cutler.

Cutler's continuing free pass in a city that chews up quarterbacks is mystifying.

Here is a set of stats from two quarterbacks in two different years for the Bears:


The first line is the veteran Cutler's stats through 13 games played this year. The second line is Rex Grossman's stats as starting quarterback for the Bears from 2006, his first full season playing in the NFL.

The Bears offense under Cutler has been ranked near the bottom since he arrived from the Denver Broncos in 2009, yet there is zero talk in Chicago about benching him, or of Cutler not having a future with the team.

Grossman, on the other hand, was benched after the third game the next season in 2007, never to start full-time again. Many quarterbacks drafted in the first round get several years of playing to develop, but three games after leading the Bears to the Super Bowl, Grossman was virtually done in Chicago.

Of course, Grossman didn't help his cause by throwing six interceptions with one touchdown in those first three games the following year. The point is, he was on a short leash after a Super Bowl appearance and never got the benefit of the doubt to play out of his early season struggles.

Contrast that to this Bears' season that's spinning out of control, yet Cutler's leash appears to be endless. Everyone seems to be getting the blame but him.

Head Coach Lovie Smith is the latest to feel the heat with many calling for his firing. On Monday, Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher ripped the media and the fans for wanting Smith gone.

"I know there are a lot of experts in the media, a bunch of smart guys out there who know exactly what they're talking about all the time," Urlacher told WFLD-32 Chicago. "Lovie is the head coach of this football team and hopefully will be for a long time."

Criticism has also been laid on the wide receivers and the offensive line. Granted, the offensive line is bad and has been bad for several years. However, this is a lousy excuse. Has anyone seen the Packers offense line? They've been just as bad, but quarterback Aaron Rodgers overcomes it week after week.

In all fairness to Cutler, he's been really banged up the last few weeks. He also does great charity work in the offseason and causes no off the field problems for the organization. His personal character and toughness is not in question.

What is in question is whether Cutler possesses the leadership and ability to lead the Bears to a championship.

Wait, that actually isn't a question in Chicago.