MORRISSEY: Jay Cutler’s dissing of Mike Tice a real downer
BY RICK MORRISSEY firstname.lastname@example.org
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 01: Henry Melton #69 of the Chicago Bears sacks quarterback Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys in the first quarter at Cowboys Stadium on October 1, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, Texas — Let’s call it the Dallas Dis for now, though I’m willing to consider the Big Blow-off or the simple-yet-elegant Cutler Cold Shoulder.
A Monday night national TV audience got a glimpse of the Jay Cutler whom Chicago has seen on numerous occasions, the pouty Cutler who sometimes looks on the verge of taking his football and going home.
This time, possibly upset about communication issues with the Bears’ sideline during a 34-18 victory over the Cowboys, Cutler abruptly walked away from offensive coordinator Mike Tice in the second quarter.
Tice had sat down on the bench to talk with his quarterback, but Cutler immediately saddled up, moved on and took a swig from a plastic bottle. Tice looked somewhere between stunned and offended beneath his pink Breast Cancer Awareness Month cap.
It was a dismissal of huge proportions. What set Cutler off? The Bears had to burn a timeout in the second quarter. That was followed by a false-start penalty on tight end Matt Spaeth. It was a double dose of ineptitude Cutler had seen too many times before. That might have been it. All we know for sure is that he sulked.
“It was about anything,’’ Cutler said. “I don’t have to sit by him the whole game, do I?’’
The same attitude that went into the brush-off of Tice had gone into his shoulder bump of left tackle J’Marcus Webb against the Packers. Cutler doesn’t seem to think his mistakes are as bad as everyone else’s mistakes.
A little later, Cutler and Tice were seen talking.
“We can’t blow up every headline,’’ Cutler said. “Things happen in a football game. Just because I walk off to get water doesn’t mean much.’’
The camera doesn’t lie, though I won’t be surprised if the Bears eventually say that’s exactly what the camera was doing. That it was a big misunderstanding. That Cutler and Tice are so close, they often have dinner together to discuss Plato and Aristotle.
Or we’ll hear that these things happen in the heat of battle, which is true. It just seems to happen to Cutler more than any human being in shoulder pads. He went into similar snits when Mike Martz was calling the plays for the Bears.
“Jay frustrated? No. Jay’s never frustrated,’’ wide receiver Brandon Marshall said with a smile. “That’s part of a football game. We wanted to have a lot of rhythm. It took a quarter.’’
At some point — now would be good — we’re going to have to give up on the idea that Cutler can be rehabilitated. Personality transplants are not on the medical horizon. The name is Jay, not Joy, Cutler.
Victories are good enough, and if he delivered those with more frequency, his snit fits wouldn’t be such a deal. He and the Bears got a big victory thanks to a ridiculously good defensive effort.
The talk-show fodder Tuesday surely will be: Would you rather have the petulant Cutler or the star-crossed Tony Romo, who threw five interceptions. Answer: I’d like to have Tom Brady.
But the Bears’ offense did show up, especially after Cutler’s snub of Tice. Maybe that’s no coincidence. He connected with Devin Hester on a 34-yard touchdown play after Hester’s route completely fooled rookie cornerback Morris Claiborne. For the quarter, Cutler was 8-for-8 for 133 yards with a perfect passer rating of 158.3.
He added a 31-yard touchdown pass to Marshall in the fourth quarter. Cutler and Tice were all smiley after that.
Cutler finished 18-for-24 for 275 yards, with a rating of 140.1.
“He pushed us [Monday night],’’ Marshall said of Cutler. “He challenged us.’’
Cutler eventually found his groove inside Cowboys Stadium, in his own special way. A silver lining in the Cutler-Tice incident: It’s comforting to know it’s not just the media that tick him off.
It’s beyond me why Cutler thought it was a good idea to have his own radio show in Chicago this season. It can’t be for the money. But I’ll be listening, in weary resignation, hoping to get more insight into why he is what he is.