On the surface, one might be tempted to think that the former Bears’ special teams coach, Dave Toub, was crying sour grapes when he recently said that QB Jay Cutler needs to improve on his leadership skills. After all, it was the failure on offense that led to Lovie Smith's dismissal, and Toub certainly was aligned with the former Bears’ head coach.
But Toub seems to me to be a man of character, and he was a successful, hardworking coach, so I tend to buy what he is selling. To some, his comments may not be a surprise, since Jay gets criticized by the national media all the time. But to me, I saw demonstrated improvement from Cutler regarding his leadership—the occasional shove to J'Marcus Webb aside—so Toub's comments got my attention.
On the field, Cutler's season was very disappointing. Following the arrival of Brandon Marshall, many of us expected Cutler to turn in a Pro Bowl season. Yet he ranked 20th in the NFL with an 81.3 passer rating. Still, the obvious flaws on the offensive line, as well as the inability from anyone other than Marshall to perform consistently at the wide receiver position, were contributing factors outside of Cutler's control.
Add to that the uncertain play calling by Mike Tice and it's no wonder that Jay had another rough year. But even Toub can't deny Cutler's physical talents, so with a hopefully improved line and the coaching of Marc Trestman, this could be the year that Jay finally lives up to the lofty expectations.
To be clear, my message is this: don't dismiss Toub's comments, but also do not give up hope on the Bears’ QB. After all, his teammates or the national media don't have to love him. Heck, Hall of Famer Joe Montana was supposedly despised by some of his teammates and he seemed to do just fine.