The NFL thinks Jay Cutler is mediocre — now why would that be?

SHARE The NFL thinks Jay Cutler is mediocre — now why would that be?

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

If you don’t think that Jay Cutler is God’s gift to quarterbacking and have been public about it, there’s a good chance you’ve heard from his supporters. They’re the people in the “Jay For President’’ T-shirts, the people awaiting the delivery of matching Speedo briefs.

There are metronomes that aren’t as regular as these folks are with their defense of the Bears quarterback. Jay is ultra-talented. Jay is much better than his statistics show. Jay has been surrounded by mediocre talent. Jay is misunderstood. And you’re an idiot for not understanding this.

So it always amuses me when someone – usually from outside the parochial borders of Chicago – sees Cutler in a different, non-rosy light than his backers do.

Or 42 someones.

ESPN’s Mike Sando polled NFL general managers, head coaches, coordinators and scouts, among others, and asked them to put 33 quarterbacks in one of five tiers. Cutler finished in the third tier, defined as “Legit starter but needs heavy run game/defense to win.’’ He was ranked 21st, one spot ahead of Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles.

What this tells me is that the league didn’t totally buy Cutler’s 2015 season, when he had a career-best 92.3 passer rating. It took into consideration the body of his work, a 10-year career that has been defined by more mistakes than successes.

Some of those polled had kind things to say about him, with one saying that if Cutler continues playing the way he did last season, he can move solidly into Tier 2, defined as “Can carry team sometimes but not … consistently.’’

But even the compliments have an edge to them.

“Cutler needs guys around him who are his guys and who play their asses off for him,” a veteran offensive coordinator told Sando. “He has not had that. And unlike some other quarterbacks, Jay does not have the personality to make it right. He needs it to be right already.”

That doesn’t bode well for this season, as the Bears try to build a respectable offense and deal with training-camp injuries. There’s a decent chance Cutler and his teammates are going to be faced with more than a few frustrating challenges.

He’s a Tier 3 quarterback. Sounds about right.

The Latest
After a memorable five-plus-year run for our “Sports Saturday” editions, we’re shifting the best, thickest sports section in town back a day. Get ready for “Sports Sunday.”
Paul Vriend’s photograph of a lively fawn at Rosehill Cemetery and Todd Carp explaining cicada-imitating flies working on Salt Creek are among the notes from around Chicago outdoors and beyond.
After the Sharks take Macklin Celebrini at No. 1 overall, the order gets a lot murkier. Here’s a rough guess for how all 32 first-round picks will play out, including the Hawks’ No. 2 and No. 18 selections.
Bet on it: Following in the footsteps of her father and grandfather, she has become a handicapper to watch
Council members made a forward-thinking move by approving bonds to create apartments in four LaSalle Street corridor buildings. We urge the council to move forward on a plan to bring back coach houses and other accessory dwelling units.