Talk of Fame Network
by Ron Borges
As is now obvious, the truth is Aaron Kromer's defense. It was just a long time coming.
That's why Kromer doesn't owe Jay Cutler an apology today. He owes him a thank-you note.
Exactly a week after the embattled Chicago Bears' offensive coordinator made a tearful apology to Cutler and the rest of his teammates for hinting to NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport that the Bears' had buyer's remorse for signing the mercurial Cutler to a seven-year, $126.7 million contract extension, Cutler showed why Kromer was right.
After the way Cutler embarrassed himself and the Bears in a 31-15 loss at home to the New Orleans Saints, if they didn't have buyer's remorse in Chicago they should be put in a straight jacket. Instead, on Wednesday they put Cutler on the bench. What took so long, Kromer is probably asking, (although not out loud)?
It is seldom wise to anonymously rip your quarterback to a reporter and probably less wise to own up to it while in tears as you apologize for breaking the always shaky circle of trust between NFL coach and NFL player. But, to be frank, if you have to coach him why would you trust Cutler?
And why would you apologize to him since he's played in a way guaranteed to get you fired before New Year's? Cutler is the latter-day version of Jeff George, who got more coaches fired than Daniel Snyder.
Publicly, Cutler said he accepted Kromer's apology but privately people close to him say he's still "fuming.'' Over what? Hearing the truth? Maybe that's his problem?
Now he doesn't have to fume. He can just sit on the bench in his stocking cap and sulk, which is something he's good at.
The truth is Cutler leads all NFL quarterbacks with 24 turnovers, including 18 interceptions. He threw three picks and was sacked seven times by the 31st-ranked defense in the NFL on national television and in front of a home crowd Monday night at Soldier Field. He's lucky there weren't any soldiers there, or they might have raided the huddle and removed him.
If he played any other position he would have been benched a long time ago, and the coaches would have had plenty to say about him ... and not in a whisper. The coddling of Cutler has gone on long enough, but, for the moment, it's over. For once, he's paying for his inadequacies, not just his coaches and teammates -- although soon enough so will Kromer and head coach Marc Trestman because in the end the Bears will keep paying Cutler but not them. Why? Because the deal he signed not only handed him $22.5 million this year but guaranteed him $15.5 million whether he plays a down or not next year.
What was that about buyer's remorse again?
Reportedly, while Kromer wept during his mea culpa, Cutler sat in the back of the room shaking his head like Spicoli in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High.'' He was probably thinking about his profession the way Spicoli described surfing: "Surfing's not a sport...It's a way of looking at that wave and saying, 'Hey bud, let's party!'"
It hasn't been a party for Kromer trying to coax (nobody can coach) Cutler, who has a vast storehouse of physical talent. He can make a football sing. He just can't make it sing on key under pressure. When he tries, he makes coaches cry.
When Trestman and Kromer get fired, Cutler will go to work for his third head coach, fifth offensive coordinator and fifth quarterback coach in seven years in Chicago. That doesn't happen to Aaron Rodgers. It happens to quarterbacks who play small when they need to come up big.
It happens when your idea of leadership is coming to the sidelines after tossing another God awful interception and rather than looking at photographs to figure out what happen you sit off by yourself, looking like someone stole your bike and everyone else was to blame. It's difficult to lead with a rattle in your hand.
"You can put anything on paper, but when you show up the game is played on grass,'' Bears' tight end Martellus Bennett said following Monday's embarrassment. "Overall, I just feel like we need passion to come from certain places, and I don't think the passion is always there.''
When asked who he was referring to, he responded, "They know who they are.''
If one of them is Jay Cutler, maybe not. But it looks like he'll be getting some time to think about that the next two weekends. Aaron Kromer won't have to whisper to anyone why.
Jay Cutler has been a winner at every level of football except college and the pros. He was 11-35 at Vanderbilt, including 5-27 against the SEC. In nine NFL seasons, he's taken one team to the playoffs and gotten four head coaches (counting Trestman) and five OCs fired (counting Kromer) fired. He is a master of downsizing, but not down and distance.
Should Aaron Kromer have told a reporter what he should have told Cutler? Of course not. But Monday night Jay Cutler spoke for himself and now he's on the bench.
Somewhere Aaron Kromer is thinking but not saying, "I told you so.''