- The Season's Over -

On a Cold Sunday Afternoon in Chicago, a Quarterback Named Jay Cutler Did Sulk

January 26, 2011

Jay CutlerBy Brian Spencer

The fervor has died down as quickly as it arose. His critics have been slammed by those factions of the Chicago Bears organization, and its fanbase, who weren’t calling for Cutler’s head on a Wisconsin cheese-stuffed platter. His jerseys are not being burned, the trade rumors have been dismissed.

The facts about what happened to Jay Cutler during Sunday’s loss to the Packers have emerged: yes, he actually was felled by a semi-serious ailment: Grade II MCL sprain or partial tear, an injury that typically causes players to miss 3-4 games.

So, great. Let’s give the guy a break. “I’m very disappointed. That, to me, is dirty pool,” said Bears GM Jerry Angelo. ” Tight end Greg Olsen said “[he] thinks it’s insane.” But perhaps most notably, third-string backup Calib Hanie (who let’s all agree performed remarkably well, all things considered) had this to say about his embattled teammate: “He didn’t want to let his teammates down. So if he could have been on the field and been productive for the team, he would have done it.”

I’m sure that’s true: his knee probably felt pretty fucked up, and it probably would have been irresponsible to let him go back on the field. The guy was getting pounded by well-timed blitzers and a bloodthirsty Packers pass rush, and I’m not sure that he would have made enough of a difference in the second half to save his Bears anyway. Though it tightened up at the end, the Packers are clearly the better team.

A MCL tear can be just as big of a deal as a minor concussion, yet nobody would have been questioning Cutler is he’d suffered the latter instead.

No, I don’t have a problem with Cutler not going back in the game. But it’s the second sentence of Hanie’s comment, that if Cutler “could have been on the field and been productive for the team, he would have done it.” Fine, he couldn’t be productive on the field… but he definitely had the capacity to try and be productive off of it. That’s the one thing that seems to have been lost in all this scuttlebutt about his knee: Cutler’s desultory sulking on the sidelines was embarassing.

More than anything, I’m shocked about Cutler’s post-injury demeanor, especially given the fact that injured knee or not he could still walk around, or at least stand on it. Instead, he sat there on the bench, with that… that… I don’t know what to call it: the Things Aren’t Going Well for Jay Cutler Face? You know the one, just like you know what the Things Aren’t Going Well for Eli Manning Face looks like.

He sat there without saying much of anything to his teammates. He sat there, at least from what we could see at home, without giving an enthusiastic brain dump (oh, c’mon, get your head out of the gutter) to Hanie and Todd “We’ve Probably Seen the Last of Him in the NFL” Collins about what the Packers defense was doing, what he saw out there in the first half. The tendencies he’d begun to pick up on, where the rush was coming from the strongest, etc. Maybe he was having spirited discussions with them off camera, but it sure didn’t look like it… and you know they’ve would’ve flashed over there to catch that if it were happening.

Cutler was not rousing his teammates, slapping shoulder pads, rallying them as their figurehead leader! Where was the off-field tenacity? Where was the heart of a winning quarterback? In a similar situation, could you imagine Tom Brady quietly sitting off to the side, cowering underneath an oversized jacket, while his teammates were battling for the AFC championship? Or Peyton Manning? Brett Favre (in his prime)? Drew Brees?

But that’s kind of who we’ve all thought Jay Cutler is, right? A kid with a big arm, and a true playmaker (from time to time)… but not necessarily your rock. In fact, probably not your rock. A wild card upstairs at the most critical position on the team.

Cutler is a fine quarterback who can put up big numbers and help his team win a lot of games. Any criticisms leveled at him about not finishing the 2010 NFC Championship, on the field, are misguided. But, there’s a lot of talk in sports about that indefinable quality found in the best players: you know, “it”. He has “it” or he doesn’t have “it”.

Does Cutler have it?

Based on what I saw on that sideline on Sunday, and what I’ve seen the first five years of his NFL career, I have to say no, not yet. Not even close.

Jay Cutler Photo Credit: Icon SMI

1 CommentPosted by Brian Spencer on Jan. 26, 2011 at 12:02am in ETB Articles, NFL

2011 NFL Playoffs Fantasy Football Rankings – Tight Ends

January 5, 2011

By Andrew Thell

Jimmy Graham 2011 NFL Playoffs

1. Rob Gronkowski
2. Jacob Tamme
3. Jimmy Graham
4. Tony Gonzalez
5. Heath Miller
6. Brent Celek
7. Todd Heap
8. Aaron Hernandez
9. Dustin Keller
10. Jeremy Shockey
11. Greg Olsen
12. Tony Moeaki

Gronkowski’s setup and propensity for scoring places him at the top option at the position, and it’s by such a large margin that you wouldn’t be foolish to reach on him much earlier than tight ends traditionally go. He’s in his own tier … As I’ve mentioned, I like the Colts to handle the Jets and make Tamme the clear-cut No. 2 option here … Jimmy Graham may surprise some of you this high, but Brees has been locked onto the kid in the red zone and connected for four touchdowns in the last three weeks. No team has a better shot at four games than the Saints … It may seem like I’m a Falcons hater with these rankings, but that’s not the case. I love ATL, but I just think they’re a year away from making serious noise in the postseason … Heath Miller won’t give you a ton of volume, but he’s good for two games and has a decent shot at three … I’m done trying to predict when Aaron Hernandez will be involved in the Pats passing game, and Shockey is fading, but they’re options simply because of the odds they’ll be producing for you till the bitter end. The tight end position is thin.

See Also:
Quarterback Rankings
Running Back Rankings
Wide Receiver Rankings

Jimmy Graham photo credit: Icon SMI

No CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Jan. 5, 2011 at 11:36pm in Fantasy Rankings, NFL, NFL Fantasy News

2011 NFL Playoffs Fantasy Football Rankings – Wide Receivers

January 5, 2011

By Andrew Thell

Mike Wallace 2011 NFL Playoffs

1. Mike Wallace
2. Roddy White
3. Wes Welker
4. DeSean Jackson
5. Reggie Wayne
6. Greg Jennings
7. Marques Colston
8. Pierre Garcon
9. Deion Branch
10. Jeremy Maclin
11. Hines Ward
12. Dwayne Bowe
13. Santonio Holmes
14. Lance Moore
15. Derrick Mason
16. Johnny Knox
17. Robert Meachem
18. Anquan Boldin
19. James Jones
20. Braylon Edwards
21. Donald Driver
22. Emmanuel Sanders
23. Brandon Tate
24. Earl Bennett
25. Blair White
26. Mike Williams
27. Devery Henderson
28. Jordy Nelson

You really can’t go wrong with the top three options, but Mike Wallace has the big-play edge over Wes Welker and a better chance at seeing 2+ plus games than Roddy White. As I mentioned in the QBs section, I just have a hard time seeing the young Falcons handling more experienced teams that they struggled mightily against in the regular season like the Saints, Eagles or Packers … I like DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and the Eagles to advance this weekend – but I’m not willing to gamble too heavily on that. I see GB-PHI as a very even matchup, with home field tilting the scales … I like the Colts to knock off the struggling Jets, making Garcon and Wayne very attractive options if they get two games … A few months ago who would have thought Deion Branch would ever be in a top-ten fantasy ranking again? Here he is though, in sync with Brady and with the inside track to the Super Bowl … Dwayne Bowe has been an absolute monster for a few months now, but can he make it out of the weekend alive? … Lance Moore and Robert Meachem are cheap options that could easily give you four games … It’s hard to invest too heavily in Derrick Mason or Anquan Boldin the way the Ravens passing game has been producing of late, but I think they’re good for two games … Donald Driver, James Jones and Jordy Nelson are strong late hedges for anybody investing in Maclin or DeSean early … Earl Bennett may not have converted many of ‘em, but he’s been getting plenty of looks from Cutler in the red zone the last month plus … Brandon Tate is a sneaky, smart play to give you three games and still be around come the final week. Emmanuel Sanders fits that bill as well … You’re not going to get more than one game out of Big Mike Williams, but if you’re desperate for a WR to start this weekend he’ll do.

See Also:
Quarterback Rankings
Running Back Rankings
Tight End Rankings

Mike Wallace photo credit: Icon SMI

No CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Jan. 5, 2011 at 11:18pm in Fantasy Rankings, NFL, NFL Fantasy News

2011 NFL Playoffs Fantasy Football Rankings – Running Backs

January 5, 2011

By Andrew Thell

Shonn Greene 2011 NFL Playoffs

1. BenJarvus Green-Ellis
2. Rashard Mendenhall
3. Ray Rice
4. Michael Turner
5. LeSean McCoy
6. Reggie Bush
7. Matt Forte
8. Jamaal Charles
9. Joseph Addai
10. Shonn Greene
11. Danny Woodhead
12. LaDainian Tomlinson
13. Brandon Jackson
14. Julius Jones
15. Thomas Jones

Green-Ellis quietly finished tied with Rashard Mendenhall for second in the NFL in rushing scores this season, and now that Arian Foster is out of the picture he’s the odds-on favorite to lead the postseason in scores with home field advantage throughout. Despite standing in one another’s way en route to the Super Bowl, the Steelers and Pats might have the clearest path right now. The NFC picture is a complete mess … Ray Rice is coming on at the right time, and I think the Ravens will handle the Chiefs and be a tough matchup for anyone else they might face … Michael Turner has a bye round one, but his consistent production can be banked on and he’s home all the way … Reggie Bush vaults up the rankings with news that both Ivory and Pierre Thomas have been placed on IR. It also makes Julius Jones a worth late pick … Jamaal Charles is far and away the best RB still standing and could have a big game this weekend, but the Chiefs are going to have a hard time surviving the Wild Card round … I think the Jets are poised to lean on Shonn Greene heavily this weekend just as they did last year in the playoffs. The Peytons don’t have a rush defense and if the Jets can knock off Indy he’ll be one of the bigger bargains on the board … I want nothing to do with any of the Seahawks skill players. They’re as surefire a one-and-done as I can recall.

See Also:
Quarterback Rankings
Wide Receiver Rankings
Tight End Rankings

Shonn Greene photo credit: Icon SMI

No CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Jan. 5, 2011 at 10:55pm in Fantasy Rankings, NFL, NFL Fantasy News

2011 NFL Playoffs Fantasy Football Rankings – Quarterbacks

January 5, 2011

By Andrew Thell

Drew Brees 2011 NFL Playoffs

1. Tom Brady
2. Drew Brees
3. Michael Vick
4. Ben Roethlisberger
5. Peyton Manning
6. Aaron Rodgers
7. Matt Ryan
8. Jay Cutler
9. Joe Flacco
10. Matt Cassel
11. Mark Sanchez

The league may have never had a QB humming along at home like Brady is right now, and he’ll be there till the Super Bowl. Brady is the top pick overall, but Drew Brees is a close second. He gets an extra game in the Wild Card round, and the Saints are my pick to represent the NFC this season … Michael Vick is a question mark with the balky leg, teams blitzing the living hell out of him and a tough matchup with the Pack in the first round, but the fantasy potential is too much to pass on … Don’t sleep on the Steelers passing game. They now have three dangerous deep threats in rookie receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown along with Mike Wallace and red zone threats in Ward and Miller. If any team is going to knock off the Pats, I think it’s Pittsburgh … Peyton Manning responds well to the Rex Ryan blitz and I think he gets at least two games after beating a Jets team not doing anything well right now … Rodgers is a boom-or-bust pick, I don’t have a hard time seeing the Pack lose this weekend or going all the way … Matt Ryan is a model of consistency, but I have a gut feeling the young Falcons aren’t ready for prime time … I don’t buy the Bears and Cutler is as inconsistent as they come … The Chiefs struggle against good teams. The Ravens passing game is sputtering, but I think Flacco is good for at least two games … Cassel and Sanchez are no more than weak one-shot options for this weekend.

See Also:
Running Back Rankings
Wide Receiver Rankings
Tight End Rankings

Drew Brees photo credit: Icon SMI

No CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Jan. 5, 2011 at 10:32pm in Fantasy Rankings, NFL, NFL Fantasy News


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