I understand why NFL experts were suggesting last week that the Jay Cutler trade had set the Broncos back five years (several months after other NFL experts, including ESPN's Adam Schefter, had argued that the Broncos had gotten the better of the Bears in the deal). But given yesterday's 21-14 Bears loss to the Packers, I'm one Broncos fan glad to be rid of the guy no matter what.
Cutler looked ineffective, inconsistent and confused even before halftime, when word filtered out that he'd suffered a knee injury from a mysterious hit that escaped the notice of Football Nation. And afterward, his body language was the opposite of inspirational. During the one third-quarter series he played, he seemed to be laboring less with his knee than his head. Then, once he left the field, he sat on a bench, pouting, in an image that begged for a caption reading, "They were supposed to let me win!"
Bears fans reacted to Cutler's display with predictable venom on Twitter, and commentators such as Yahoo! Sports' Les Carpenter were no kinder. In his take, Carpenter wrote, "Next time he should at least try to limp."
At this writing, there are reports that Cutler may have torn his MCL, which would make the decision to pull him from the game legit. But no matter how serious the injury was and is, Cutler showed absolutely zero leadership in the sideline shots broadcast of him by the Fox game crew. Instead of seeing him fight to stay in the game, he meekly accepted the sit-down decision, looking almost relieved that he was out of the mayhem. And while he laughed and smiled when the Bears scored, we didn't catch a glimpse of him pumping up his teammates and rooting them on from alongside Lovie Smith or Mike Martz, despite the squad's dire predicament. Guess he felt that was someone else's job.
At least there was one Bears quarterback with past ties to Colorado who impressed: Caleb Hanie, former signal caller for the CSU Rams. He walked into an impossible situation, and even though he made his fair share of mistakes -- how could he not have seen B.J. Raji, who's roughly as wide as a semi-truck? -- he displayed a quality Cutler appears to lack: heart.
Yeah, the Broncos are a mess right now, and no one really knows if Tim Tebow will develop into the sort of quarterback capable of leading Denver back to the Super Bowl. But he's unquestionably a true leader -- someone with plenty of fight in him. And Cutler? After yesterday's game, one of my daughters called him a pussy, just like Brian Urlacher may or may not have done a couple of years ago. And it's hard to disagree.
More from our Sports archive: "Adventures in Censorship: How to call Jay Cutler a 'pussy' without pissing off your readers."