Yesterday, Pro Football Talk posted a roundup of former coaches complaining about Jay Cutler. If this seems like a weird premise for a post, it gets even weirder: Those coaches weren't complaining about Cutler's play on the field, necessarily; they were complaining about his demeanor off it. Specifically, during Sunday night's postgame press conference.
"[Cutler] just doesn't get it,'' Martz said. "He doesn't understand that he represents a great head coach and the rest of those players on that team ... somebody needs to talk to him." Jim Mora also slammed Cutler for "acting like he didn't even care."
Having not heard Jay Cutler's press conference after the game, we thought, hey, maybe Cutler was acting like a jerk. Maybe he was being petulant. Maybe he blamed his receivers for the picks, or something. Then we watched the video, and we can confidently say that we have no idea what Mike Martz and Jim Mora are talking about.
Those are the same exact quotes that every player gives after bad losses. They're not sexy, or exciting, or particularly meaningful in any way. They're just boilerplate. It's part of the reason covering sports can be occasionally depressing: Because athletes have figured out how to talk without saying anything, and they have no interest in making sure you get a good quote for your story.
But there's a major difference between doing the standard postgame routine and "not caring," as Jim Mora said, or not representing his coach well, which Mike Martz seems to believe. That's out of left field. Really, what they have Cutler do? Punch the podium? Throw his hat into the media? Rip his shirt off? Do a Tim Tebow-esque promise after one loss in 16-game season? Get real.
Naturally, this all led to the Tribune's ever-righteous Rick Morrissey claiming that Cutler needs to be reeled in, that no one in the Bears organization has the guts to say anything to him. But if we're reading the situation right, nothing needs to be said. Cutler just needs to play better. So do the rest of the Bears.
The rest of us need to stop trying to parse minor gestures from an athlete whose only real job is to complete passes on Sunday afternoons. Or this season is going to be brutal, and it won't be Jay Cutler's fault.
Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.