When you have a mercurial talent at quarterback like Jay Cutler and you introduce him to an anointed guru like new Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman, the results have a tendency to lean in one of two directions: it goes outstandingly or ends disastrously. There’s not much room in the middle to settle for mediocrity.
And while two weeks is hardly enough to pass judgment in regards to whether or not the Cutler/Trestman experience will end in bliss or despair, there was something in Jay Cutler’s back-shoulder throw to tight end Martellus Bennett to win Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings that leads us to believe that this experiment just might work out. Cutler uncorked a laser on a perfectly designed play, and, in a way, it was a small parcel of exactly what Phil Emery envisioned when he paired Jay Cutler and Marc Trestman in the first place.
Brandon Marshall jokingly called Cutler “Mr. Fourth Quarter” after the game, which elicited a reaction from Cutler, but in a way the Pro Bowl wide receiver is right. Through two games, Cutler has lead a pair of come-from-behind wins over teams that made the playoffs last season, and something finally seems to have clicked.
Sure, the gunslinger’s mentality hasn’t completely subsided, and he’s thrown three interceptions through two weeks and gave up a costly fumble that was returned for a touchdown on Sunday, but the flashes of brilliance have far outweighed the bad thus far, which has always been the expectation of Cutler. Which is why the flash of greatness on the game-winning touchdown to Bennett seems so significant.
This is a contract year for Jay Cutler, and while it’s not exactly championship or bust for the uber-talented but often brash signal-caller, there is an expectation of excellence pervading Halas Hall. If Jay Cutler hopes to ink an extension that puts him into that rarefied air of great quarterbacks, he’s going to have to have a huge year and the Bears are likely going to have to win something of importance.
A playoff berth will certainly earn him a little leeway, but if he hopes to get the kind of money he seems to be seeking, it will likely have to be something even bigger than that. An NFC North title, a trip to the conference championship or even the Super Bowl, and perhaps even hardware might be required for Cutler to sign the nine-figure deal that seems to define so many quarterbacks these days.
Whether or not any of that happens depends heavily upon the relationship between Jay Cutler and Marc Trestman. Early signs are certainly encouraging, which is why Chicago is so emboldened by a pair of early season victories.
Sure, this thing could still wind up in a raging dumpster fire, but the fact that Trestman seems so grounded and Cutler seems so content makes it feel different. Being able to survive the hot and cold spells of a guy like Cutler is essentially half the battle.
Jay Cutler is off to a blistering start and has a career year in his sights, but it will be interesting to see the dynamic of this relationship once they face some real adversity, specifically in the face of a loss. The two come-from-behind victories give reason to be hopeful that Marc Trestman and Cutler will be able to handle it, but time will ultimately tell.
In the meantime, the Chicago Bears have finally given Jay Cutler the necessary resources to be successful, now it just comes down to whether or not Jay can utilize them. A perfectly thrown ball to one of those new offensive additions to win a football game is certainly a good start. And if it ends the way the folks in Chicago are hoping, we may look back on this as a signature win.