MORRISSEY: Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall have Bears fans giddy
BY RICK MORRISSEY firstname.lastname@example.org September 12, 2012 10:44PM
Jay Cutler, the most physically gifted quarterback in Bears history, has fans dreaming of glory this year. | Nam Y. Huh~AP
Updated: October 15, 2012 9:41AM
I’m worried about you, little buddy. Yeah, you, the guy who hasn’t been able to wipe the smile off his blue-and-orange-painted face since Sunday.
I’m worried about you because, should the Bears beat the Packers on Thursday night, the part of your brain that controls emotion will not be able to withstand the overload of euphoria. There’s no way it could, not with the Bears soaring to 2-0, Green Bay falling to 0-2 and, in your mind, all the planets aligning to form a celestial exclamation point.
It’s much too early to be this excited about anything or anybody. But this is what happens when the Bears have that rarest of rarities, an exciting offense. A grouchy columnist talking about restraint in this climate is like algae talking about putting down roots in a raging river.
I mentioned on Twitter the other day that it was hard to remember the city being so giddy one game into a season. Several of you directed me to 2006, when the Bears opened with a 26-0 victory in Green Bay. I can see the rationale: a shutout over the sworn enemy on the way to a 13-3 record and a trip to the Super Bowl.
But this time around is different for a very un-Chicago-like reason: The offense looks like it will be doing most of the driving. As much as the city likes to think of itself as a no-frills, punch-’em-in-the-mouth sort of place, it carries inside itself the desire to put the convertible top down and scream, “Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!’’
In other words, Rex Grossman was no Jay Cutler. Some of you might still feel silly about the way you threw yourself at Grossman in 2006. You shouldn’t. You wanted a quarterback. You always wanted a quarterback, the way you always wanted millions of dollars. All it took was a whiff of the QB dream being realized and you were buzzed.
But as much as you might have thought Grossman was the real deal, there was something inside you crying out for temperance. You thought he was going to be a big-time quarterback in a rock-concert offense. But deep down, you knew not to commit without more evidence. Same with the past three seasons with Cutler. That little voice inside you is a smart dude.
There are no such reservations about Cutler, or if there are, they have to do with whether the offensive line can keep the quarterback out of harm’s way.
The current strain of giddiness comes from having the most physically gifted quarterback in Bears history and a No. 1 wide receiver, Brandon Marshall, worthy of that numero uno designation. The Bears simply haven’t had a quarterback-receiver combination like this in living memory. Grossman-Muhsin Muhammad in 2006 looks even more like fool’s gold now, doesn’t it?
All of this civic optimism is predicated on the idea that Marshall has turned over a new leaf. We’ll see.
Here’s how much the town wants to follow Cutler. After the Bears put up 41 points in the opener against the Colts, all anybody could talk about was the way Cutler rebuked the Soldier Field crowd for cheering too loudly with his team a yard from scoring. You could almost see the thought bubbles: Jay’s mad? How can we make this right? Please forgive us!
It’s important to Bears fans that Cutler knows that they know the game. They want him to hold up his throwing arm and allow them to walk through the Red Sea.
Hyperbole? Absolutely. Don’t get me started about Chicago’s years of wandering in the desert without a quarterback. But Cutler’s sway over the fans has to do with the fact that he’s a real, live quarterback. You get the feeling that if Cutler needed to sacrifice seven volunteers to the god of touchdowns, he’d have to turn people away, including radio play-by-play guy Jeff Joniak.
Cutler’s “good-luck’’ bravado about the Packers’ man-to-man coverage is a breath of fresh air. There’s no fear around town that he’s playing with fire. There’s only the feeling that he’ll be able to back it up at Lambeau Field against a team that went 15-1 last season.
“There’s a different energy in the locker room, especially offensively,’’ Cutler said. “There’s a different confidence in this group, but we have to be careful. We’ve only played one game.’’
Careful? Only one game? Nonsense.
The new day the Bears talked about when Cutler arrived is finally here. I’m not sure the city can handle it.