Musick: For Cutler, plot thickens as new season approaches

Published: Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013 5:27 p.m.CDT
Caption
(AP photo)
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler passes against the Oakland Raiders during the first quarter Friday in Oakland, Calif.

By TOM MUSICK - tmusick@shawmedia.com

It’s time to roll the credits on another installment of "The Jay Cutler Files: Preseason Edition."

Next week, while Cutler takes a hiatus to prepare for his role in the fast-approaching regular season, Bears fans can tune in to "The Jordan Palmer Show" and "The Trent Edwards Experience."

But let’s get back to Cutler.

By now, we all know the main character well. Cutler, who stars as himself, is a veteran football player who plays the most important position on the most beloved team in a sports-crazed city.

These are exciting times for Cutler and his castmates. The show is set in Chicago for its fifth season, and several supporting actors (Matt Forte, Roberto Garza, Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman and so on) have been with Cutler throughout his journey. Other characters (Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Phil Emery, etc.) have been around for a couple of years, while several fresh faces (Marc Trestman, Kyle Long, Jermon Bushrod, Martellus Bennett) are in their first season on the set.

The ratings should be terrific, mostly because nobody has any idea how this season will end.

The preseason produced mixed results but ended happily for Cutler, who looked sharp Friday against the Oakland Raiders in his most extensive action of the summer. Relying on a variety of receivers, Cutler posted an impressive 93.8 passer rating while helping the Bears to build a 27-3 halftime lead.

Like all great characters, Cutler is a study in contradictions.

On one hand, Cutler has so much natural ability that it seems unfair. You could say that he was born with a million-dollar arm, but you would be off by about a hundred million (give or take). In a flash, he can zip a football into an opening the size of a coffee can 30 yards away. Incredible stuff, really.

Oh, and Cutler can do all of this while massive, muscle-bound defenders stomp toward him in hopes of burying him into whatever surface happens to be beneath his feet. Cutler is pretty fearless, though – audiences love this –and he often absorbs physical punishment in the name of helping his team.

Don’t get us wrong. Cutler is not perfect. Nobody is.

Oftentimes, Cutler can be more stubborn than a toddler at bedtime. That booming right arm, which is Cutler’s greatest physical blessing, also can be a curse because it lures the confident quarterback into taking foolish risks that other, less talented players would never dare take.

When mistakes do happen, Cutler makes no effort to hide his disdain. He has cursed out coaches, bumped teammates and barked at referees for perceived injustices. He has trash-talked opponents and rolled his eyes at reporters (side note: reporters, by far, are the ugliest characters on this show).

Maybe you’ve heard about the rise of the TV anti-hero. They’re characters – think Tony Soprano (“The Sopranos”) or Jack Bauer (“24”) or Walter White (“Breaking Bad”) –whose actions tend to be questionable, but we root for them anyway. Forget about the clear-cut battle between good and evil. They exist in that gray area just like the rest of us.

Cutler fits perfectly into this mold.

Yes, he makes mistakes. Yes, he can be a jerk. Yes, he can drive you crazy.

Ultimately, though, he is driven to succeed. He wants to win. And you want him to win.

But will he win?

That’s the thing. Nobody really knows.

Like I said, the ratings should be terrific.

•Northwest Herald sports columnist Tom Musick can be reached at tmusick@shawmedia.com and on Twitter @tcmusick.

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