Without solid line, Cutler little more than a $50 million doormat

By S.C. Zuba

Sports Columnist

Jay Cutler, if you’re reading this, grab a shield and bring it to Soldier Field from now on.

The Chicago Bears may have beaten the Cleveland Browns 30-6, but the Browns’ defense certainly did a number on Cutler.

Every time Cutler dropped back to pass, he was either hurried out of the pocket, or thrown to the ground by the opposing defense. After this win, one thing is certain—if Jerry Angelo and the Bears organization don’t do something to bolster their offensive line, their newly-acquired franchise quarterback will become nothing more than a $50 million doormat.

Cutler was sacked four times for 26 yards, and the Bears are lucky their quarterback could walk off the field.

Sunday’s victory showed a great deal about the Bears:

Offensive line—The Bears’ offensive line is torn apart continually by weak defenses. Teams consistently bring a four-man rush and somehow apply pressure on the quarterback. It amazes me that defenses can drop eight men into coverage and still sack Cutler. Frank Omiyale has been replaced with Josh Beekman, and Orlando Pace seems like the next to go. It is sad to say, but Pace is old and slow, and it is time for him to retire and begin preparing his Hall of Fame induction speech.

Wide receivers—Arguably the shakiest position at the start of the season has proven to be one of the most solid on the offense. The Bears have no Andre Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald, but they do have Devin Hester and Johnny Knox—two receivers who are developing quite nicely as complement receivers. Hester seems to be developing into an elite receiver, and deserves credit for the transformation.

Quarterback—If one thing can be taken from the win over the Browns, it is the passion, effort and resilience Cutler puts into every single play. Rarely does he have time in the pocket, but he consistently gets up from the ground and leads his team. If he needs to run for the first down, he runs. If he needs to dive headfirst for the touchdown, he dives. If he needs to place the ball in a 6-inch target to complete the pass, he does. He is not perfect, but he gives everything he has on every play. And that is something that is not often seen.

Cutler has proven he will give everything to this organization. Now, it is time for the organization to protect him.

Share your thoughts with S.C. Zuba via e-mail at samuelczuba@yahoo.com.

From the November 4-10, 2009 issue

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