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Can Cutler handle this adversity? For how long?
By Mike Imrem | Daily Herald Columnist

Bears QB Jay Cutler

 

Associated Press

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Published: 11/2/2009 4:33 PM

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The Bears could be fun this season after all.

One way would be if they improve enough to make the playoffs. The other is if they don't, Jay Cutler gets frustrated and he explodes all over Halas Hall.

That isn't fair to say considering Cutler has been a good teammate so far this season - yes, even toward an offensive line that could get him killed.

Still, perceptions are difficult to dispel.

In many circles, including here, as Cutler gets beaten up it is expected that he would go off sometime with his mouth instead of his arm.

The qualifier is that the $20 million guaranteed in Cutler's recent contract extension might have bought his propriety. Then again, he might consider it a license to express his displeasure.

Let's face it, Cutler's physical toughness never was questioned but, justifiably or not, his emotional toughness has been.

Not that it would be bad for Cutler to lapse into the temperamental quarterback he was reputed to be when the Bears acquired him. For all anybody knows, he knows as much about offense as anybody on this team.

Anyway, Cutler was battered Sunday by the lowly Browns. One theory is his lack of field awareness was responsible.

Who is at fault doesn't matter. Logic doesn't always apply. Only feelings do.

The suspicion here is that Cutler will wake up one day, his body will ache, and he'll wonder what the heck is going on with this football team.

It might be because Cutler concludes the offensive line isn't going to get much better.

It might be because Cutler no longer can ignore all the weapons opposing quarterbacks such as Carson Palmer, Kurt Warner and Brett Favre have.

It might be because Cutler loses faith in offensive coordinator Ron Turner's ability to coordinate an offense.

Or it might be all of the above, along with getting beat up by slugs like the Browns.

Ideally, Cutler would say privately that "this player can't play" or "you guys can't coach." But if he did it publicly, so be it.

Thus far Cutler has been nothing like the person who responded to bruised feelings in Denver by being difficult enough to make the Broncos trade him.

Was that a bad rap or does it mean adversity here eventually will prompt Cutler to begin complaining out loud?

So far the Bears quarterback includes himself when talking about the offense needing to improve.

However, does Cutler reach a point where he suddenly blurts out "they" instead of "we" when critiquing the Bears' ineffectiveness?

Considering the history of this franchise, nobody should blame Cutler for blaming others for the schemes, the play calling, the in-game adjustments, the offensive personnel and the overall package around which he is supposed to be a pretty ribbon.

Listen, NFL quarterbacks supposedly dumber than Cutler have clashed with coaches supposedly smarter than the current Bears' staff.

So it seems that this quarterback in this environment might not be able to avoid making sparks fly sometime.

Unless, that is, a guaranteed $20 million was enough to turn Jay Cutler into a quiet company man.

That wouldn't be any fun it, would it be?

mimrem@dailyherald.com