Jay Cutler has suffered four injuries in his last twenty games—five with the Chicago Bears. For those who failed math class, that’s an injury every five games. They haven’t exactly been hangnails either. Cutler missed a week in 2010 with a concussion. Of course, there’s the infamous knee injury in the NFC title game that year also. In 2011 we had the busted thumb, and this season we get bruised ribs and second concussion.
Every player in the NFL gets injured, I know that, but given the pounding Cutler’s taken in recent years, and his seemingly increased propensity for injury, should Bears fans be worried about his future? With the concussion history, I think so. And I am.
You can only endure so many bruises to the brain. Period. Now, before I get started, I am NOT a doctor, nor am I trying to diagnose Jay’s future. If you want to read a good article on concussions, try this one from John Keilman of the Chicago Tribune. It does a great job explaining what concussions are and how the brain heals—or doesn’t heal—from them.
Cutler reportedly had three concussions while at Vanderbilt, according to the Tennessean, and has three on the record in the NFL. Three is a trend. If the reports of three at Vandy are true . . . six is downright scary; especially for someone who is supposed to have a lot of football left. For those not concerned about Cutler’s future as a Bear or an NFL QB in general, you should be.
Take a look at a guy like Steven Young, who was forced to retire from too many concussions. Troy Aikman was another big-name quarterback who couldn't continue to play because of head injuries. It’s a serious issue that the NFL has no clue how to deal with despite all their “research.” If they knew how to help the cause, they wouldn't have had three starting quarterbacks go down last Sunday, all due to concussions.
Rapid acceleration/deceleration is the issue. Brain meets skull. End of story. There’s not a miracle helmet in the world that can stop that from happening.
Some of you might remember that Hunter Hillenmeyer was forced to retire because of his concussion issues. Hunter was not very old—30 when he exited the League. Cutler turns 30 next year and has his second concussion in two seasons.
Cutler will need an extension after next season, and the Bears might be facing a serious decision. Is Jay Cutler worth the investment? One more concussion and then what? It’s a big risk to take, and the reward hasn't been consistent. Cutler still forces terrible passes into double coverage to bums like Kellen Davis (I will never stop taking shots at him). He holds onto the ball too long and hardly looks anywhere that isn't in Brandon Marshall’s direction.
Jay's mechanics, if anything, have taken a step back from this point in the season last year, and that might be the most frustrating thing to watch. Now, I love Jay more than I probably should—just check my track record. I have defended Jay in every single situation possible. Maybe a little bit of my Jay homerism made it onto some stuff. But this is a big thing to think about.
The situation could be TOTALLY overblown. Sure. I might just be a complete idiot. Sure. Jay could come back next week, be totally fine and light it up, leading this Bears’ offense to the promise land. Sure, sure.
But the reality is that if the report of six total concussions is true, it’s still scary. Scary for a guy who is on a team with a garbage offensive line, and a guy who likes to extend plays even if it means taking big hits. But that is what people love about Jay, right, his toughness?
Can Phil Emery get Cutler a real deal line before it’s too late? One that can protect him like Tom Brady? Well, I doubt that just happens out of the clear blue sky.
Jay is, by a mile, the best quarterback the Bears have ever had, and this might just be the last shot for this defense to ever be a real-deal Super Bowl contender. Jay must become elite to make the Bears a complete Super Bowl team. No if, ands or buts about it.
Jason Campbell should be fine. He is NOT Caleb Hanie. But Jay needs to be the guy for this team to do anything. It just seems as if every time the Bears get going and win a lot of games, Jay gets hurt; usually on national television, too.
I repeat, I do not know anything about head injuries, and this is strictly my uneducated opinion looking from the outside in. I am just some permanently concussed angry guy who complains about stuff on a platform. Then again, you don't have to be a doctor to know that six concussions is something to be concerned about.