In the NFL’s culture of secrecy and black ops, answers are difficult to come by and the truth harder still.
Getting to the bottom of why Jay Cutler is finally playing quarterback responsibly and – dare we say it? — well is like getting to the bottom of Bill Belichick.
Why now? We can only surmise. Nobody is saying nuttin.
It appears that offensive coordinator Adam Gase has done what no man has been able to do. But none of the principals involved is saying exactly why Bad Jay has turned into Dependable Jay.
You’re not going to get Gase to say that Cutler’s footwork reminded him of a three-legged dog in minicamp, nor are you going to hear Cutler say, “Those other coaches were idiots; Adam completes me.’’ Maybe head coach John Fox won’t put up with the nonsense from Cutler that previous coaches did, but there’s no way the tight-lipped Fox would ever say that publicly.
Cutler has had better players around him in other seasons than he does this year, so his sudden rise to respectability can’t be attributed to a surge in talent.
His interceptions (five in eight games) are way down from last season, when he finished tied for the NFL lead with 18.
I’ve heard a lot of theories on why Cutler has cut down on the dumb mistakes. I haven’t heard a lot from the Bears.
Part of it, I think, is that NFL teams believe it’s none of your business, regardless of what “it’’ is. The other part could be that the Bears don’t want to insult anyone who had a hand in Cutler’s lack of development. And they don’t dare say anything that might send him into a funk.
This is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league, and right now, Cutler has done enough to make people forget the past and think about a longer future with him, an idea almost unthinkable a year ago.
But the past — it sort of matters, doesn’t it? That Cutler is playing well now is, in a bizarre way, an indictment. It’s an indictment of a physically talented but stubborn quarterback who couldn’t figure out how to play the position until he was 32. And it’s an indictment of all the NFL coaches who couldn’t get him to play better.
Oh, well. The Bears play the Broncos on Sunday, and maybe the thing to do is to stop asking questions. Enjoy the new man, wherever he came from.