It's Jay Cutler. We've had him the whole time. Only now he's experienced, and affordable. Get behind him.
I don't know who is next, and I agree we have to start thinking about who might be next. But all this griping & moaning about Cutler has always been, at least to some degree, unjustified, short-sighted, ungrateful, & plain stupid. Yes, he led the league in interceptions at one time. That isn't good. That also is no longer the case. These people don't seem to realize there are certain habits and characteristics of a QB that can be fixed, taught, & focused on. Some can't. Generally speaking, QB's are often only as successful as the players around them and coordinators behind them. QB's DO generally tend to get better with experience. Good ones are extremely hard to find. So, enjoy yours.
QB is about the most difficult job on the field, mentally. It requires a guy with a high football IQ. It's certainly one of the more dangerous jobs on the field, so in addition to a high football IQ, he must be a tough athlete who can think under pressure, not be afraid to take a hit, & if he does, come back as strong or stronger afterward. This worn-out "leadership" angle is so interpretive, it's impossible to quantify. Does the job require a motivational speaker? A guy who looks a certain way? Someone who does a good Knute Rockne imitation? How can a QB be all things to all people? I opine that he can't. As much effusive praise as even a guy like Tom Brady gets, plenty of NFL fans wouldn't mind bashing his head in with a crowbar. (Good QB or not, I can't stand the guy).
In order to be successful on the field, a QB needs a litany of coaches & coordinators working around him and planning successful schemes- to say nothing of strength & conditioning coaches, and the QB coaches themselves- who study QB's tendencies, and hopefully train them out of using bad habits. So, assuming the GM has acquired quality blockers, the line coach has assembled a cohesive unit, and the blockers can be depended upon, the QB can take the field, receive the play call from the sidelines, make a quick assessment of what the defense is showing him, make quick adjustments as needed, and get the play off in 30 seconds. If the blocking isn't up to speed, any living breathing human would (at least subconsciously) shift their focus toward self-preservation. Assuming these requirements have all been met, and those first dozen or so people are legit & all doing their jobs in tandem- then the QB needs a number of players to distribute the ball to, who can be trusted to run their assigned route, and either catch it, or not drop it, or both. How many plays does a QB like Cutler have to memorize? I don't just mean what he's supposed to do- but where every other player on his team on the field is supposed to be at any given point in the play. With the amount of moving parts, individual battles are won and lost. I highly doubt that most plays unfold just as they're drawn up. There is undoubtedly a certain amount of improvisation which takes place, regardless of how well any play is drawn up.
As an example, I give you Aaron Rodgers & the "backyard football" he's been playing lately. This is a guy who is supposedly at the very top of his craft, yet he's failing. He's slinging the ball around to whoever is open. He's getting intercepted frequently. His receivers are not of the A level quality they once were. His running game isn't something he can lean on. Yet- who takes the criticism? You guessed it. He does.
I'm no fan of Aaron Rodgers. But I do acknowledge that he was part of an effective, successful system for quite awhile. For whatever reason or reasons, he no longer has that luxury. The breakdown could be at any point in the chain. Part of it could be that every NFL coaching staff has miles of tape on Rodgers, what his tendencies are, and the best ways to disrupt him. I think it's common knowledge that his receivers are definitely not what they used to be. His accuracy also seems to be leaving something to be desired. What's telling about this? This makes me happy!
But then, I'm not a Packers fan. I'm a Chicago Bears fan. I've seen Jay Cutler take innumerable poundings on my favorite team's behalf. I've seem him come from behind & win on many, many occasions. To all those "fans" who insist "it's never Cutler's fault" (in jest)...I say this: Sometimes it is his fault. I've seen plenty of ill-advised passes he's thrown. I've seen him throw into triple coverage. I've seen him throw the ball inexplicably directly to opposing defensemen. (Luckily, much less so now than in years past) I've felt frustration over this. But in addition, I see the other QBs around the league, realize how long we haven't been looking for one, and despite our postseason drought (which I don't hang on Jay personally), he's our QB. He's great on the move. His field awareness is generally very good. He is as tough as they come. His arm is a guided missile launcher. At this point, Jay is a critical component in the basis of any hope we have to finally reach the postseason, now or in the immediate future. As I wrote in a previous post: "He will knock an opposing DB on his ass. Will you? Will Brock Osweiler?"
So for those of you openly rooting against our QB, I question your fan hood. I understand we need someone as a backup, and someone to take the reigns when Jay finally hangs it up. But, until then- notice how many games we've won without him. I'm a die-hard believer that Jay's day will come. If we, as Bears fans, are lucky- it will happen right here. If Pace gets cute, trades away Cutler's contract, & squanders Jeffery's interest in the process, who benefits?