Did Jay Cutler quit on his team today in Chicago?
As much as I hate Cutler, I want to say yes. But the truth is, we really don't know. Cutler had the same poor mechanics when he came out injured during the third quarter as he had on the first series. So it's hard to tell from his play.
The early story coming out of Chicago is that Cutler has torn ligaments in his knee; it was Lovie Smith's decision to keep him out of the game.
You'd think that might stop the fans dead in their tracks and give them some measured perspective.
For the most part, it has (outside of some Bears fans burning Cutler's jerseys). One can't say the same for current and former NFL players, though.
Cutler isn't just being criticized by players, he's being crucified.
At this point, there are so many players hitting their Twitter accounts to essentially call Cutler a weenie, it could crash Fat Man's servers. You can see most of them here and here. The list includes Mark Schlereth, Maurice Jones-Drew, Derrick Brooks, Lance Moore, Kirk Morrison, and even lightweights like Deion Sanders.
Here are two of the more interesting tweets. The first one comes from Bruce Gradkowski, who has played in games with torn ligaments himself:
ya definatly doesn't look like he'd play with a torn mcl.. Looks like he's already tappin out
The next comes from Gerald Alexander:
The thing that pisses me off about Cutler is that I've never played in a playoff game. This guy was one game away and he quit! That's BS!
Again, we just don't know the extent of Cutler's injury. So I think it's hard for any of us to question his toughness. I want to make that clear.
But this really isn't the point. What I find fascinating is the number and variety of attacks from guys who have actually played the game. You'd think Cutler was the most hated player in the league. Many of them reference--like Gradkowski--that players like Phil Rivers (and Kyle Orton, for that matter) have played with torn ligaments. The implication is that Cutler is the exact opposite of tough.
As Doug Farrar (Yahoo Sports) has said, this is really unprecedented. We've never seen anything like it. The speed and depth with which Cutler is being criticized by NFL players is overwhelming.
I'm used to criticizing Cutler for his boneheaded throws, his aloofness, and his lack of respect for guys like John Lynch and John Elway.
But after seeing this, I'm at a loss for words. Maybe Bus Cook could come up with something. I sure can't.
Was it the sight of Cutler riding a bike on the sidelines with a lack of intensity the thing that drove everyone into rage?
Perhaps we expect all of our athletes to act like Matthew Stafford did here (fast forward to 3:31) after he hurt his shoulder and defied coaches and medical staff to come into the game--just for the opportunity to win: