Chicago Bears end of season grades: Quarterback
Jay Cutler was arguably the hottest topic this past season for the Chicago Bears.
The quarterback who got a big contract in the off-season led the league in turnovers and his future in Chicago is still unclear. There’s one problem however; it will be tough to move Cutler with his big contract.
It’s easy to blame the quarterback, especially when he’s the highest paid at his position during the season. It’s easy to say “get rid of Cutler, he sucks” and it’s also easy to blame everything on him.
But guess what?
He’s just a fraction of the Bears disappointing season. The defense is still giving up the most points per game in the NFL, the offense has underperformed and the coaching staff lost the locker room midway through the season.
Saying it was a ‘mess’ in Chicago is really being nice.
Despite his turnovers, which Cutler needs to most certainly work on this off-season, he’s the best option for the Bears going into next season. In 2014, Cutler put up some really good numbers surprisingly.
Cutler set a career high in touchdowns (28), passing yards (3,812) and completion percentage at 66.0. Yet, the fans immediately point the finger at Jay. It seems as if Bears fans are quick to forget about the tormenting years of dealing with quarterbacks who should have never taken a snap in the NFL before acquiring Cutler in 2009.
One thing that has gone unnoticed with Cutler this season was his ability to stay healthy. Going into the year that was one of the biggest questions for the Bears and the potential of a successful season. He didn’t miss a game due to injury for the first time since 2009. Now it’s lost in an off-season that will see two big positions needing to be filled
I’m not saying Cutler is the future of the Bears because he’s not, that ship has seemingly sailed. His poor ball security is whats most bothersome about his game. In 2014 Cutler fumbled the ball 12 times, losing 8 of those fumbles. It’s a problem that has plagued Cutler throughout his career with no signs of it ending anytime soon.
Another irritating part of his game is when the turnovers happen. It seems as if Cutler turns the ball over at the worst possible times. Going back through the season, Cutler’s two crucial mistakes (one vs. Buffalo, one vs. Carolina) likely cost them the game because they happened late in those games.
This is where it’s very difficult to understand Cutler’s game, which many have tried. But Cutler is who he is; you can win with him but that crucial mistake is always looming.
As for Cutler’s future with the Bears, it’s really unknown what the new general manager and head coach will do but for the Bears to unload him, it could make for an even uglier year in 2015.
One of the biggest stories of the year at Halas Hall was former head coach Marc Trestman’s decision to bench Cutler and start Jimmy Clausen.
Cluasen signed with the Bears in the off-season and eventually won the backup quarterback job over veteran Jordan Palmer. The former Notre Dame quarterback looked sharp in training camp, but the hope was that he would never have to come in and replace an injured Cutler.
Well it happened, except Cutler wasn’t injured.
Clausen got the start against the Lions in week 16 and seemed to catch the eyes of many fans. However, the Bears offense only scored 14 points against a Lions team which turned the ball over three times. That’s not a great recipe.
What I did like from Clausen was he had some zip on his passes and made the right decisions. He also didn’t make the costly mistake or force the ball when he didn’t need to. Clausen isn’t the future in Chicago, but he could compete for a job next year depending on what the Bears decide to do.
Overall position grade: C-