David Haugh at the Chicago Tribune on wide reciever Brandon Marshall‘s “Jay Cutler for MVP” talk:
“Offseason signs of growth in Cutler depict the man Marshall describes. But as good as Marshall’s intentions were, casting Cutler the player as a preseason MVP candidate only establishes unrealistic expectations set unnecessarily high. Cutler needs to run the offense. Protect the football. Make smart throws and decisions. Every now and then, show off that $127 million arm and be the reason the Bears beat a team they shouldn’t.
“But win the MVP? Cutler could enjoy the most successful year ever and lead the Bears into the playoffs without finishing in the Top 10.”
Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times counters:
“That’s where the [Bears head coach Marc] Trestman effect — a higher completion percentage, fewer mistakes and fewer bad games — could turn Cutler into an MVP candidate. An efficient Cutler is an elite quarterback.”
I’m going with Haugh on this one. The word “elite” is thrown around too easily, especially when it comes to quarterbacks.
For instance, Aaron Rogers makes the players around him better. He makes up for a host of deficiencies on a small market team that depends heavily upon younger draft picks and almost never spends anything significant in free agency. In contrast, Cutler needs those around him to make him better and when the ship is sinking, he goes down with it. Hub Arkush at chicagofootball.com indirectly helps me make my point:
“Last Monday, a funny thing happened to the Chicago Bears on their march to Super Bowl XLIX. Alshon Jeffery missed practice No. 4 of this year’s training camp with a minor toe injury. Then, the Bears’ perceived juggernaut of an offense stopped working.
“To say the passing game ground to a halt is a bit of an overstatement but Brandon Marshall started dropping passes, Jay Cutler threw a pick and then started missing receivers and the defense clearly won the day.”
Cutler is (depending on how you define “MVP”) neither the best player in the league, nor the most valuable.
I know it sounds like I’m trashing Cutler. I’m not. He can be a fine quarterback and if he performs to his abilities the Bears will be lucky to have him. But there are only – maybe – four quarterbacks in the entire league that you could really call “elite”. He’s just not one of them.
Cutler’s not going to be the MVP. Or if he is, it won’t be justified. It’s just not who he is.