Thursday, February 9, 2012

8 comments Rick Telander Gets Bored, Does a Hack Job on Jay Cutler

Rick Telander, who I generally find to be a rather pleasant columnist, doesn't like Jay Cutler. Maybe he likes Jay Cutler, but he at the least finds him distasteful in many ways. It appears one of those ways Telander finds Cutler distasteful involves Cutler's mere existence on this planet. Actually I am exaggerating, it is hard to pinpoint exactly what Rick Telander doesn't like about Jay Cutler. Even Telander doesn't know. He just says Cutler is missing "something." This seems sort of vague to me and not the best premise to begin a column that is supposed to be (presumably) substantive. This column basically consists of Rick Telander saying the following:

1. Tom Brady and Eli Manning have "something."

2. Jay Cutler is missing "something."

3. One time an anonymous person in the Bears organization said something negative about Cutler.

4. Jay Cutler is focused too much on Hollywood and isn't nice to the media. This has nothing to do with him being successful, but we are absolutely sure even without any evidence this means his Bears teammates secretly hate him.

5. Sure, Tom Brady is successful and considered "too Hollywood" by some too, but he doesn't count and shouldn't be compared to Jay Cutler because...well, just because.

6. Jay Cutler sucks and will never win a Super Bowl.

Guess who’s in the Super Bowl?

The Giants and the Patriots!

Tom Brady and Eli Manning.

Any surprises there?

Yes, in fact. This is somewhat of a surprise because the Packers nearly went perfect this year and the 49ers were 13-3, yet both teams were defeated by the 9-7 Giants who had a -6 point differential on the season. The Giants struggled for part of the year and had to inch their way into winning the NFC East and the playoffs. So yes, the fact Eli Manning is in the Super Bowl is a bit of a surprise.


Not hardly.

The quarterbacks for the New England Patriots and New York Giants, respectively, will be making their seventh combined Super Bowl appearances (five for Brady, two for Manning), with four victories — and a fifth guaranteed — and three MVP awards between them.

Telander makes it sound like Manning/Brady have three NFL MVP's between them. They have three Super Bowl MVP's between them, not three NFL MVP's between them. You have to make the Super Bowl to win the MVP, so it is hard to knock a quarterback who hasn't made the Super Bowl for not winning the MVP in the Super Bowl.

Four years ago, they faced each other in Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Ariz. In that game, Manning threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to lead the Giants to a 17-14 victory and ruin the Patriots’ perfect season.

This season, the two were at the top of their game. Brady passed for 5,235 yards and 39 touchdowns with 12 interceptions; Manning threw for 4,933 yards and 29 touchdowns with 16 interceptions.

In the playoffs, Brady has a 105.8 passer rating; Manning is at 103.1.

This article is about Jay Cutler by the way. Not Eli Manning and not about Tom Brady, but about Jay Cutler. Then Rick Telander babbles on and on about how well Manning and Brady have played this year and over their career.

For the record, Jay Cutler has a 84.8 passer rating in the playoffs. I think we would agree he is a step below Manning and Brady. Of course, this article isn't about what Cutler can do, but is about what Cutler is missing. That "something" which can't be pinpointed nor sufficiently described by Rick Telander.

But it takes something special to be a Super Bowl quarterback — one with a good chance to win, that is — and besides skill, good luck and a lack of injuries, it has to do with that intangible that simply can be labeled ‘‘Leader.’’


Whoops...sorry, I think I got to Rick Telander's main point before he did.

There is no question the Bears’ Jay Cutler is the most talented quarterback any of us who is not a senior citizen has seen in this city.

I'm not going to argue over whether Jay Cutler is a leader or not. It is very irrelevant to me if he is really a leader or not, mostly because the only ones who know are in the Bears locker room. I find being seen as a leader often goes hand-in-hand with winning games. A quarterback who wins games has an easier time being a leader. I know the Bears were 7-3 with Cutler as the starting quarterback this year and 1-5 without him. So I know the Bears won games with him as the quarterback.

Fired general manager Jerry Angelo basically staked his career on that premise, and it’s possible his only major flaw was that he didn’t also snag a decent backup to lead the Bears when Cutler got hurt. Hindsight is terrific, isn’t it?

To be fair to Caleb Hanie showed signs he could be that decent backup when playing against the Packers in the 2010 NFC Championship Game in relief of an injured Cutler. Granted, we didn't see Hanie everyday in practice, but I know Hanie looked like he could handle being the backup at the time.

But what’s more troubling is that when compared to quarterbacks such as Brady and Manning — or Rodgers, Brees and maybe even Matthew Stafford, Ben Roethlisberger and others — Cutler seems to lack that extra ‘‘something.’’

Since every quarterback Rick Telander listed there, excluding Matthew Stafford, has a Super Bowl ring...I'm guessing that "something" is a Super Bowl ring. My biggest argument with Telander criticizing Cutler for not having "something" (other than his ability to be smart enough to know for sure what Cutler is missing "something" but not smart enough to know what that "something" is) would be that Ben Roethlisberger struggled as a leader for the Steelers early in his career. Roethlisberger is on Telander's list of players who have "something" that makes them special. Roethisberger didn't exactly have the Steelers locker room on his side when he started his career in Pittsburgh and a few events (the accusations of sexual assault, the motorcycle incident) haven't helped Roethlisberger get the entire Steelers locker room on his side in the past. What did help get them on his side was the Steelers continuing to win games. Roethlisberger has won games and that apparently gives him that "something" he lacks? Is that all it takes?

His lack of media skills and personality are well-known, and that’s fine. But does he have the locker room behind him?

Most quotes I have read about Cutler are complementary towards him. The Bears defensive leader, Brian Urlacher, seems to like Cutler as well, which has to go a long way in the locker room:

"It stinks for us, 'cause he’s having such a great year," Urlacher said. "He’s our leader. He’s a guy we turn to for pretty much everything. It stinks.
"People underestimate how big of a leader he is on this team. He’s everything people think he’s not. He’s a great teammate. He says all the right things at the right time. He gets on guys when he needs to. It’s going to be hard to replace that. They say he pouts. He doesn’t pout. He’s pissed off when things don’t go his way on the field. He gets more criticism than the rest of us. He practices hurt, practices all the time, never complains. The more I’m around him, the more I like him."

That was Urlacher after Cutler got hurt this year. It seems like Urlacher likes Cutler or at least likes him enough to say a lot of nice things about him. So I am guessing Cutler has the locker room and there is more evidence he does have the locker room's respect than evidence he doesn't.

It seems Cutler’s blank-faced nothingness must affect those around him. It certainly has affected certain professional people who have had contact with him and have wanted nothing more than a simple smile or ‘‘hello.’’

He's not personable. Nearly every quarterback acts different in front of the media as compared to how he acts in front of his teammates. This is why writers like Telander say Cutler is missing "something," and that is because they want him to say "hello" to them. They get their feelings hurt Cutler isn't the most personable guy in the world and just assume Cutler acts like this to his teammates as well. That's a big assumption in my book.

‘‘He’s a sh--,’’ says one member of the Bears’ extended staff, a man who wishes to remain anonymous. ‘‘You see him, and he doesn’t even acknowledge your presence.’’

An anonymous quote. People who have enough guts to knock someone publicly, but don't have the balls to do so with their name beside the quote are always the best sources of knowledgeable and accurate information.

If you don’t like unattributed quotes — and I’m not a fan of them myself in most situations —

But in this situation the unattributed quote proves Rick Telander's point of view, so that quote goes directly in the column as empirical evidence of what a little shit Jay Cutler truly is.

simply dismiss that last statement.

It's dismissed. What Cutler is really missing is a good offensive line and some good receivers. Why would we rely on actual football-related items to criticize Cutler though? His personal life and weakly tying his personal life into a perceived inability to be a leader is a better way to criticize Cutler. That on-the-field stuff is so boring to talk about since it doesn't entirely support Telander's point of view.

But Cutler’s disconnect is a trait that has to be dissected because it might be the one thing that will prevent the Bears from achieving the heights of success

See, I dismissed that quote. So there is no disconnect. Therefore any further discussion based on the unattributed quote is irrelevant to me. You can't throw out an unattributed statement, tell us to disregard if we choose to, and then write the rest of the column based on this unattributed statement you admit the reader may or may not find convincing. So there is no disconnect concerning Cutler in my mind.

Does it concern anyone that while sports media members are cranking up their inspection of Brady and Manning, what we get from Cutler is gossip-item stuff suited for People or Us Weekly?

No. Because you are picking and choosing which information you will reveal to the reader.

Here is Tom Brady's US Weekly page.

Here is what a search for Eli Manning on US Weekly's site revealed.

Tom Brady has been heavily featured in US Weekly and People magazine, yet Rick Telander seems to ignore this. US Weekly has a pretty far range when it comes to discussing stories and both Brady and Manning have been a part of the US Weekly crowd in some fashion.

To wit, Cutler and his back-again Hollywood girlfirend, Kristin Cavallari, ‘‘are pregnant,’’

Not sure the words "are pregnant" is supposed to be in quotes. That is unless Kristin Cavallari really isn't pregnant, in which case the jig will be up in just a few months unless she starts to eat a lot of food to gain weight, in which case the public will eventually be tipped off that she wasn't pregnant when she isn't walking around with a newborn child...unless Cavallari steals someone's else's baby and claims it as her own, which I am not entirely sure I would put past her.

There is no wedding news, of course, because that is the Hollywood way.

Jay Cutler is Hollywood. This makes him not a leader. Of course, Tom Brady has a child with a woman he never married, which is only really relevant because Rick Telander is using Tom Brady as the model for what a true leader quarterback looks like. So calling Cutler "Hollywood" and mildly criticizing him for not marrying the mother of his child (yet) doesn't preclude Cutler from being a leader or cause him to lack "something."

Cutler hates publicity, but he is with a woman who lives for it.

Apparently this makes Cutler a hypocrite in some way?

No sportswriter wants to get into anyone else’s love life,

It's the typical, "I don't normally do something like this" statement immediately followed by that person doing something like this. Cue Rick Telander getting into someone else's love life...

but if Cutler is so media-shy, why did he feel it necessary to tweet Monday: ‘‘For the record, I never broke up with Kristin.’’

To get on the record what happened? Does it matter? You say Cutler is media-shy, but that doesn't mean he can't ever converse in some way through the media. He picks and chooses when he talks to the media like every other athlete does.

See, they had a wedding planned for July, and Cutler dumped her — or not. Well, let’s let the Aug. 8, 2011, issue of Life & Style Weekly tell the tale: ‘‘Alone, heartbroken and no longer wearing her magnificent 5.2-carat Asscher-cut diamond engagement ring, Kristin leaned on her good friends Nicky Hilton and Alessandra Ambrosio. Instead of letting her curl up with a pint of ice cream on the couch at home .  .  . the girls convinced Kristin to join them for a night on the town at L.A.’s Beverly Lounge.’’

I know, who cares?

So because Jay Cutler had a broken engagement, he isn't a leader and is missing "something."

And didn’t Brady have a child out of wedlock with an actress named Bridget Moynahan before marrying a Brazilian supermodel?

Yes, he did.

And I feel creepily like a TMZ stringer just bringing that up.

And yet, he did bring it up anyway. Clearly, Rick Telander doesn't feel too much like a TMZ stringer for bringing this up.

But Brady is a freak. And he has matured.

Tom Brady had won his Super Bowls before he "matured" though. So he became a mature, Super Bowl winning quarterback before he made these TMZ mistakes. Also, the whole Brady has "matured" thing is really vague and seems just like a cheap attempt to differentiate between Brady and Cutler, while refusing to acknowledge the idea Cutler's personal life probably has little effect on his professional life.

The Dallas Cowboys’ Tony Romo went down that celeb path awhile back, and it seems he has wised up a bit, too — now that he has been aced out of the playoffs over and over.

So now that Romo has married a beauty pageant queen and the sister of a television star he should win at least four Super Bowls in his soon as he leads the Cowboys back to the playoffs again of course. Let's not forget Cutler led the Bears to the NFC Championship Game last year, while Romo has never helped his team make the NFC Championship Game. I am guessing Rick Telander sees a connection between quarterbacks going away from the celeb path and winning Super Bowls and being a leader. This doesn't explain why Aaron Rodgers has had success in the NFL despite running a path through dating models, actresses, and singers. I'm not sure why he isn't being accused of living the Hollywood life by Rick Telander.

What's funny about Telander indicating Romo is more focused now that he is off the celeb path is I am sure some people could make a reasonable argument that Tony Romo is distracted from his duties as Cowboys quarterback by his love of golf. I don't agree with this argument, but I am sure a cogent argument could be made that he hasn't wised up in terms of focusing on football over golf.

For Cutler, let’s hope for a happy birth and eventual marriage. Or whatever it is that ‘‘Dancing With the Stars’’ stars do.

Cutler was never on "Dancing with the Stars." His girlfriend was. This doesn't mean Cutler is missing that extra "something" as a quarterback. It means nothing. What does mean something is Cutler got injured while the Bears were 7-3 and the Bears did terrible without him. Apparently there is "something" Cutler has which enables the Bears to win games with him as the quarterback.

Maybe they lead you to Super Bowls, you know?

Or not.

So let me get the point of this column straight...Jay Cutler is missing "something," while Rick Telander has no clue exactly what this "something" may be, he does know it means Cutler probably can't lead the Bears to the Super Bowl. While Telander doesn't know what this "something" actually is, he is fairly sure that something deals with Cutler being too "Hollywood" or has to do with his teammates not liking him. Of course there isn't really any proof Cutler is any more distracted compared to other successful quarterbacks, but proof is so overrated. Basically, Rick Telander just doesn't like Jay Cutler. That's what I gained from this.


jacktotherack said...

Let me start this comment by saying Rick Telander sucks. Not just in this column, he sucks constantly. The man hasn't had a cogent thought since the 90's and this fucking travesty of an article is further evidence that its time for him to be put out to pasture.

Having said that, I love how all these people in the sports media act like people, specifically Bears fans in this case, should give two shits that Jay Cutler isn't a nice guy to the press. Who cares? What fan really gives a shit about that? I wouldn't want to talk to any of these assholes either. All they are looking for is some sort of "gotcha" quote they can run to make the player look bad, and if the player doesn't give the press exactly what they want, they bitch and moan about what a disagreeable guy the player is. Well fuck that, I'd have the exact same attitude as Cutler if I had to deal with people like Telander and Rick Morrissey everyday.

And thank you for nailing exactly what the "something" Jay Cutler is missing is. Better players, especially a better offensive line, around him. I would also add that I felt Martz didn't take advantage of Cutler's biggest strengths (athleticism and ability to throw outside the pocket) and I am hoping that Tice will fix that. But I don't know why anyone would be shocked that a QB who has Frank Omiyale, JaMarcus Webb, and Lance Louis as his tackles and a receiving corps led by Earl Bennett has failed to win a ring.

And all that Hollywood shit, my God, who cares? What a shit column, I think I'd rather read TMQ than this crap.

Bengoodfella said...

Jack, not a fan of Telander's overall work I can see. Perhaps I should bookmark his archive to check up on him more frequently if he is truly this bad.

I believe this article is a result of Telander not liking Cutler and that crap about the anonymous source means very little to me. Who knows who the hell that is in the Bears organization? Guys who are assholes can win Super Bowls. Part of being a pro athlete is playing the media game, but I think guys like Cutler get extra shit because they don't play the game very well.

What Cutler is missing is an offensive line. He needs a better offensive line and some receivers. Once he gets those, I would feel better about judging him. All I know at this point is the Bears were terrible without him and a playoff team without him. I don't think Cutler has that great of WR/OL, so it is hard for me to judge his inability to make a Super Bowl too harshly. Not to mention, he was injured last year in the NFC Championship Game. Who knows what happens if he is healthy? I would like to see Cutler get some good receivers and what he can do now that the non-genius Mike Martz is gone.

I don't care about the Hollywood crap and what Telander fails to realize is a ton of NFL QB's have some sort of Hollywood connection. Aaron Rodgers seems to have dated a revolving door of "famous" women and he hasn't seemed to struggle in making a Super Bowl.

rich said...

The quarterbacks for the New England Patriots and New York Giants, respectively, will be making their seventh combined Super Bowl appearances (five for Brady, two for Manning), with four victories — and a fifth guaranteed — and three MVP awards between them.

Rodgers has a Super Bowl win and MVP;
Brees has a Super Bowl win and MVP.

So basically this sentence would have worked if three teams won the NFC. Bang up sentence there Rick.

But it takes something special to be a Super Bowl quarterback — one with a good chance to win, that is — and besides skill, good luck and a lack of injuries, it has to do with that intangible that simply can be labeled ‘‘Leader.’’

Right. Trent Dilfer - Leader! Kerry Collins (who played against Trent Dilfer in that SB) - Leader! Rex Grossman - Leader! So on so forth.

Plenty of mediocre QBs have made/"won" the Super Bowl because the Super Bowl is a reflection of the team. The fact that the Bears went from playoff contention to fucking atrocious without Cutler tells me that Cutler is important to the Bears.

Matthew Stafford, Ben Roethlisberger and others — Cutler seems to lack that extra ‘‘something.’’

Big Ben gets to the SB twice on the coattails of a great defense - he has something extra.

Cutler - grumpy to the media - lacks that something extra.

Nevermind that Big Ben is three times the asshole that Cutler is. Cutler may hate the media (which makes him a hero in my opinion) and sulk, but at least he doesn't rape women.

But Cutler’s disconnect is a trait that has to be dissected because it might be the one thing that will prevent the Bears from achieving the heights of success


So you have a QB whose team played well last year, whose team was overachieving this year and yet he'll keep them from reaching the "heights of success?"

A team that once road Kyle Orton and Sexy Rexy to a Super Bowl (that they almost won) and yet, they can't reach the same level of accomplishment with a better QB?

You know what the problems for the Bears are: a shitty front office.

You have an aging defense that they've done nothing to revitalize and a pathetic offensive line that they did nothing to improve.

Then they told the only offensive weapon they have to fuck off and die when he asked for an extension.

Also, like Jack said, you put a poor offensive line and a group of practice squad caliber WRs in a Martz oriented scheme and you're asking for trouble.

Not only did Martz not take advantage of Cutler's skill set, all credit to Jack, but it also didn't take into account the awful lack of talent the offense has.

If you have no offensive line and no WRs, then you can't run and gun. The fact that Cutler basically fought Martz during the season should tell you all you need to know about how stupid that scheme is.

Magically, once they changed it, they started winning!

jacktotherack said...

Rich you nailed it when it comes to the Bears woes. Matt Forte deserves some sort of award for being so cool with how his whole contract situation has gone down. I don't really blame the Bears for not overpaying for him when they still had the franchise tag to use, but for Forte to come out and say he's perfectly fine with that as long as it leads to a long term deal made me respect him even more.

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, exactly. Making the Super Bowl does usually require a competent or upper tier QB, but it is also a sign of how good a team may be. The Ravens almost made the Super Bowl this year. Joe Flacco is their QB. The 49ers were a fumble away from the Super Bowl and everyone had given up on Alex Smith.

"Leader" is a label given to a player based on his team's achievements in many cases. It's hard to say Cutler isn't a leader, especially when the Bears suck w/o him but are a playoff team with him? How can Telander ignore this??
Suck without him, are a playoff team w/ him. Clearly, he has something that helps the Bears win games.

I find it funny that the media hates on Cutler like they do b/c he's a dick to them. Sure, he needs to work on his happy face more, but that doesn't mean anything regarding his professional life in the locker room.

I think you got a lot of the personnel issues correct. Cutler needs a better line and some WR. Once he gets those, and if he struggles, there are no excuses to be made for him.

Jack, I am torn on the Forte issue. While giving him a long-term deal seems really ill-advised, it just seems like the Bears need to do that to keep their best offensive player around. Still, long-term contracts to running backs aren't always a good risk and could they replace 80% of his production at 20% of the price by drafting a running back?

J.S. said...

update the pickoffapalooza

Bengoodfella said...

Done. I finally came to terms with the fact you won.

Martin F. said...

It was Eli's leadership skills that caused 49'er defenders to twice run into each other and not get the interception he was so desperately trying to throw them.