Chicago fans will miss Jay Cutler

Yes, you read that correctly. If Cutler is forced to miss time due to a hamstring injury, Chicago fans shouldn't expect much from backup Jimmy Clausen.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Chicago fans will miss Jay Cutler

Right or wrong, some Bears fans were less-than-heartbroken when watching their high-priced quarterback, Jay Cutler, limp off the field with a hamstring injury on Sunday. Be careful what you wish for, however, if Cutler is forced to miss time.

If Chicago has hopes of winning anytime soon, then expecting back-up Jimmy Clausen to come to the rescue is being a bit naïve.

Not only did Clausen have the third-worst PFF grade (-14.9) for quarterbacks during the 2010 season under current coach John Fox at Carolina, but his team went 1-9 that year with him as the starter. The Bears also lost their only game with Clausen as their starter last season (-0.5 grade in that matchup with the Lions).

This shouldn’t be about Clausen, however. Instead, this is the case for Cutler, as well as pointing out poor O-line choices by general managers Jerry Angelo (2001–2011) and Phil Emery (2012–2014).

Believe it or not, Cutler isn’t a terrible player. He’s graded out as a PFF top 10 quarterback twice in his career, including 2013 (+15.2). His best season was in 2008 with Denver, when he graded as the fourth-best PFF quarterback (+20.1) that year.

So, why is everyone quick to blame him for the Bears’ struggles? In reality, Chicago fans should be blaming Angelo and Emery for never providing the QB with the proper protection; let’s dig into the numbers and prove our case.

Since Cutler became a Bear in 2009, Chicago’s offensive line pass-block grades were as follows:

  • 2009: -26.8
  • 2010: -108.7
  • 2011: -60.0
  • 2012: -41.2
  • 2013: -45.8
  • 2014: -33.4
  • Total: -315.9

Compare those numbers to what his main divisional rival, Aaron Rodgers, has experienced (+93.7 PFF pass block grade) during the same time-frame, and you can see how short-handed Cutler has been from the get-go.

What can Cutler do with solid pass protection? In 2008, Denver just so happened to have the 12th best PFF pass-block protection (+4.7); that was his only season with a positively-graded offensive line in front of him. Again, 2o08 was Cutler’s best season to date.

Bears fans should also be looking for a future replacement when the time comes for Cutler to depart. His name is not Jimmy Clausen—but it could be David Fales.

Fales is currently on the practice squad, but could get a shot to play sooner than expected. I hope the Bears give him one; Fales was one my favorite sleeper quarterback in the 2014 class.

Drafted in the sixth round because of limited arm strength, Fales demonstrated the ability to put up prolific numbers at San Jose State, including his memorable final game against former Fresno State quarterback and current Raider, Derek Carr. Fales went toe-to-toe with Carr in their 62-52 win, posting 547 yards and six TDs.

Fales has also improved nicely from his 2014 rookie preseason grade of -3.9 to this past preseason grade of +1.7.

Is David Fales the answer? I’m not sure, but Chicago will sorely miss Cutler if Clausen is under center next week against Seattle.


  • crosseyedlemon

    The first line in the article should be edited to read most Bears fans. The good news is that we are off to a great start in the quest for the top draft pick next year and should be able to use that for Cutler’s replacement. As bad as Cutler is the defense seems to be trying to play even worse. Expect to see a lot of paper bags worn at Soldiers field by the time the snow starts to fall.

  • Tim Edell

    As a Bears fan i am not in any way, shape, or form looking forward to travelling to an angry 0-2 Seattle especially with Claussen at QB.

    • crosseyedlemon

      Fortunately for Chicago fans the Blackhawks will be starting their season soon.

  • AJ

    Maybe he could be a solid starter for a team like the Browns. For all their problems the past decade plus, their one constant strength in recent years has been their o-line.

    • Jason Williams

      I wouldn’t mind seeing this at all. I’m a Cutler fan and a Browns fan and it’s clear he needs a change in scenery.

      • Blyake Price

        I think that Cutler should go to either the Browns, Texans, or Jets

        • Jason Williams

          you tend to forget that there are other teams in the league with REALLY bad QB’s – those are three REALLY solid examples.

          boy the worst one is the Texans in my eyes. They have the best player in the league just wasting away his days.

          • Blyake Price

            I agree. Andre Johnson’s career was pointless as a Texan as far as winning a super bowl(every players goal) and so far Watt hasn’t gotten to play for a contender either.

    • crosseyedlemon

      I doubt Cutler could be a solid starter in the Lingerie League and at this point the Bears would have to eat an immense share of his contract just to make him appealing to teams desperate for a QB….and that ain’t gonna happen.

  • John Hyde

    David Fales will be the answer…..I am unfortunate to be in the Detroit area and really wanted the Lions to draft him…..but they are the Lions and whatever decision is made is the wrong one….