Jay Cutler Needs To Embrace His Gunslinger Mentality

Leon Halip

Cutler exudes a certain amount of charm when he scrambles away from a collapsing pocket and makes a great throw when he had no right to do so. It's a recklessness that sets him apart from other quarterbacks, and it's something the Bears and Cutler need to embrace.

But why shouldn't we like it, I hear you ask, and of course, you have every right to enjoy and celebrate the fact that the Bears quarterback has bundles of talent and he gives his team a good chance of winning every game.

But just like Chicago's (and Cutler's) over reliance of Brandon Marshall, it's a knife edge situation when the fate of the team hangs on just one or two players.

Now, before I get accused of turning this into another anti-Cutler rant, let me assure you I am slowly coming over to the side of those who constantly sing Jay's praises. I won't be scrutinizing any of his off field antics or his body language this time; let's save that for another day. For now, why don't we take a look at why the Bears need Jay Cutler so badly if they want any chance of winning the Super Bowl.

Several of the throws that Cutler made in last Sunday's win over the Vikings were outstanding. In case anyone needed reminding what a great arm Cutler has, he duly obliged in jogging our memories. He zipped the ball in with accuracy and velocity, something which can't be said for backup QB Jason Campbell.

Something that has driven me crazy has been Cutler's inability to 'feel' the pressure and in turn hang on to the ball for too long. But it was a different case against Minnesota. He showed great awareness of when his line had let him down again, and he used his feet to buy an extra few seconds, which proved vital.

Which brings me nicely onto this - For the rest of the season, the Bears need Jay Cutler to be a gunslinger.

It's a role that suits him best, and one that seems to be the most comfortable fit for him. Cutler excels when forced to make moves with his feet, buying himself enough time to seek out a target and torpedo the ball in there. He exudes a certain amount of charm when he scrambles away from a collapsing pocket and makes a great throw when he had no right to do so. It's a recklessness that sets him apart from other quarterbacks, and it's something the Bears and Cutler need to embrace.

While clearly capable of making plays from within the pocket, this doesn't fully utilize all of Cutler's potential. He's grossly underrated in terms of his footwork and scrambling ability, and we have seen several times this year that he is not afraid to run with the ball if he needs to, and can be very effective while doing so.

The Bears just need to turn him lose out there. Brandon Marshall has shown time and again that he will catch nearly anything that is thrown his way, and if Chicago can somehow manage to get other receivers more involved, this offense could still be consistently dangerous.

And that's the key - consistency. Right now, if Marshall and/or Cutler have a bad day or succumb to injury, then, in my book, the Bears chances of winning games drops dramatically. And that's what still worries me and should worry all Bears fans. Running back Matt Forte has been, quite honestly, a disappointment, and after suffering another ankle injury against Minnesota, his status is up in the air, although reports suggest he should play against the Seahawks this week.

The Bears can win the remaining games on their schedule, with just Green Bay as a potential stumbling block. Barring any disasters, they look set to make the playoffs. And let's not forget the Bears defense. They are still playing at a high level and are good enough to stay competitive in most games. But like we have mentioned before, Chicago can't rely on the defense to dig themselves out of a hole.

It's Cutler's time. He needs to play more like he did against the Vikings. Lovie Smith and Mike Tice should just tell Cutler to go out there and do his thing. Make plays. He has the arm strength to throw the ball from anywhere, on the run, off his back foot, whatever.

Cutler really is a quarterback that can make a play out of nothing. When it looks like all hope is lost, he'll find a way to get the ball to an outstretched Brandon Marshall. And yes, this gunslinger approach brings an element of risk to proceedings. But it's a risk the Bears will have to be willing to take if they want to go all the way. It's time to let Jay Cutler do what he does best.

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