I admit it. I was absolutely convinced that Jay Cutler was the foundation on which the Broncos needed to build their future -- and when he threw the epic hissy-fit that preceded his trade to Chicago, I anticipated disaster. As the season has gone on, however, I've come to realize that while Cutler's skills are considerable, they tend to mask the fact that he's missing that essential, mysterious element that turns a talented quarterback into a winner.
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The Arizona Cardinals' 41-21 win over the Bears yesterday demonstrated why so many of us have given Sweet Baby Jay the benefit of the doubt over the years. He put up hefty numbers without them translating into points -- which explains why he topped the 300-yard mark before the Bears scored their second touchdown. And then, when he managed to narrow the gap to 34-21, threatening to turn a blowout into a real contest, he promptly threw an interception that ended the game once and for all.
Cutler apologists are blaming his difficulties thus far this season on a weak offensive line and a subpar receiving squad, just as Broncos fans found ways to excuse away his lapses, inconsistencies and inability to step up at crucial moments on too many occasions for a myriad of other reasons. It's understandable. He's got a great arm, and he can make throws plenty of other quarterbacks can't, including the Broncos' Kyle Orton. But the more I watch him play, the more two words echo in my mind: Jeff George.