Roughing the Passer: If it walks like a duck, sounds like a duck and lays eggs like a duck, then it’s probably a duck

It’s the most important position in sports and also perhaps the most difficult to play, but that doesn’t mean we should go easy on them when it all goes wrong. Dave Usher takes a look at how things are going for an old flame…

Full disclosure: I’m a long suffering Chicago Bears fan who spent the best part of eight years sticking up for Jay Cutler and making excuses for him. “The o-line isn’t protecting him” “He’s not got any weapons” “The offensive co-ordinator is terrible” etc. I wasn’t entirely blind to his faults but I always felt the deck was never stacked in his favour.

So when he ended up in Miami I was curious as to what would happen. I wouldn’t say I wished him well (his public support for Donald Trump ended any lingering affection I may have had for him), but I wasn’t rooting for him to fail either. Indifferent but intrigued would be the best way of putting it. Is he the liability that his critics say he is, or did he just need the right environment to thrive?

The Dolphins looked to be a perfect landing spot for Cutler and it was easy to see why he postponed his new career in the commentary booth to give it another crack on the field. Cutler in the booth would have been fascinating, but Cutler in another team’s uniform was even more interesting from a Bears fan point of view. Was it him, or was it us? It looks like it was both, as Cutler has been just as bad as the Bears so far this year.

The Fins have a reasonable o-line, a star running back, nice playmakers on the outside and a head coach who has a great rapport with Cutler and who is regarded as one of the best offensive minds in the NFL. Cutler’s most consistent year in Chicago came under Adam Gase so it looked like a match made in heaven. And yet they have the worst offense in the league through their first three games.

In the last two weeks the only points the Miami offense has scored is a garbage time TD against the Jets in a blowout loss. They are averaging one point in the first half this year. Yes, you read that correctly, it’s not a typo. One point in the first half. Overall they’re averaging a paltry 8.3 points per game.

Even I can see that stinks and I watch the Bears offense every week. Cutler hasn’t turned the ball over as much as usual but perhaps that’s the problem? Are the Dolphins being too conservative because they’re worried about “same old Jay” having one of his four pick explosions?

In London last weekend the Dolphins were shut out by the Saints and Cutler threw a red zone INT. It’s difficult to get shut out in the NFL but the Dolphins have almost managed it two weeks in a row. They went scoreless against the Jets until the final play of the game when Cutler hit DaVonte Parker to ward off the duck egg (well, for a week anyway).

You’ve got Jay Ajayi, Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills and Parker, and all you can manage is one garbage time TD in two weeks? To be fair, it’s not all on Cutler and… actually there I go again, making excuses for him. Old habits die hard and all that.

Sometimes though, if it walks like a duck and sounds like a duck and it’s laying eggs like a duck, then maybe it is actually a duck.

The enduring image of the Fins embarrassing showing at Wembley was Cutler stood with his hands on his hips during a wildcat play.

Tom Brady or Peyton Manning could do that and people will just laugh, but if you’re Jay Cutler and your team is stinking it up, at least look like you’re taking it seriously. Instead he’s stood there like me in Primark while my wife is trying on her fifteenth different outfit.

It won’t always be like this though, Dolphins fans. Cutler isn’t some bum who can’t play. It’s only a matter of time before ‘Good Jay’ shows up and wows you with the arm talent everyone talks about. Just don’t expect it every week, as that’s how you’ll get your heart broken. Take it from one who knows.

My Bears have a lot of problems, but at least Smokin’ Jay isn’t one of them anymore.

Dave Usher

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David Usher
Site Editor / Bears, Bulls & NFL Correspondant
Day job is writing about footy for 'the Liverpool Way' and ESPN FC. Love the Bears and Bulls too though, which is why I'm here.
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