Jay Cutler must adopt Robbie Gould-like attitude vs. Packers
BY MARK POTASH Staff Reporter December 28, 2013 12:06AM
The Bears are an unseemly 1-8 against the Packers with Jay Cutler as their starting quarterback. | Matt Rourke/AP
Coming two days before the biggest game of Jay Cutler’s career, the timing of Robbie Gould’s contract extension was more fitting than you might think. Gould is a kicker, but he thinks like a quarterback. Or like a quarterback should.
‘‘I’ve always come in here [thinking] I’m going to be the best that’s ever played the game, and I’m going to leave the best that’s ever played the game,’’ Gould said after agreeing to a four-year extension Friday. ‘‘If you have that kind of attitude, you’re going to be successful, and hopefully that rubs off on some of the younger guys.’’
That’s kind of how it’s supposed to work with quarterbacks. Robbie Gould thinks he’s great because he’s Robbie Gould. He acknowledges a helping hand from long snapper Patrick Mannelly, holder Adam Podlesh and his offensive line, but Gould knows that, ultimately, he makes the kick. He makes the difference.
Cutler still thinks he’s one of 11 guys out there. He’s not 1-8 against the Packers in his career; the Bears are 1-8 against the Packers when he’s the starting quarterback. The biggest problem the Bears have in contemplating Cutler’s own long-term contract is that Cutler thinks he’s 9 percent of the Bears’ offense when he takes up 26.7 percent of its salary cap.
‘‘It’s going to take all of us to win this game,’’ Cutler said when asked if it was a chance for personal vindication against the Packers. ‘‘This isn’t a personal game for anybody in that locker room. It’s all of us together.’’
This is one of those moments where Cutler needs to take it personally. For four seasons, Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers has kicked your butt, Jay. His defenses have intercepted you 17 times and sacked you 30 times. What are you going to do about it?
I know what Gould would do about it. It’s one thing to move on from failure, but it’s another to act as though it never happened. Gould’s failures inspire him. Take the 47-yard field goal he missed in overtime against the Vikings that likely would have rendered the game Sunday against the Packers meaningless. He’s still ruing that.
‘‘If anything, it’s fueled my fire,’’ Gould said. ‘‘It still upsets me. I didn’t come through for my teammates in the clutch. That one kick could possibly keep us out of the playoffs. By not doing my job, [if that] keeps us out of the playoffs, that would really bother me. I get paid to make field goals.’’
Cutler doesn’t quite control his fate like Gould does, but it’s an accepted part of football that he gets paid not only to play quarterback but to win games.
And not just because he’s in a good offense. There are a lot of quarterbacks who can excel in a well-conceived offense. Josh McCown’s 108.9 passer rating in place of Cutler proves it. The Bears traded two first-round draft picks to acquire Cutler and are paying him $10 million a year to win games the McCowns of the world can’t.
Every so often, whether it’s a big game or a big moment in a big game, a quarterback must put a team on his shoulders, make things happen and will it to victory. Sometimes you have to find a way to score 38 points when your defense gives up 35, even when you’re running for your life. That’s why NFL quarterbacks get the big bucks.