Why do so many Bears fans hate Jay Cutler?
Yes, you could fit the talented quarterback's personality in your back pocket. Yes, his press conferences are dull and uninformative. Yes, his relationship with the media is based on tolerance, though he has warmed up a bit.
But is that enough to hate anyone?
If so, hate Julius Peppers for disappearing in games.
Hate Michael Bush for repeatedly getting stuffed on short-yardage situations.
Hate coordinator Mel Tucker for having the worst rush defense in the league, allowing 157 yards per game.
Hate free safety Chris Conte for not being able to tackle.
Jay Cutler is a victim of his own persona, I fear.
When he was acquired from Denver in a 2009 trade, all of Chicago rejoiced. And then reports of his "attitude" and "indifference" began popping up.
WLS-TV lead sports anchor Mark Giangreco, a closet comic, was a guest on ESPN radio and said reports from ABC affiliates in Denver had sounded a warning: "Good riddance! Jay Cutler is now your headache."
The word quickly circulated, highly critical but credible?
Cutler was disliked by teammates, coaches, his own media and had worn out his welcome. That's what we were being spoon fed in Chicago.
There was talk of Cutler blowing off autograph seekers one afternoon at Wrigley Field. Not being accessible at training camp, where he spoke only on designated days, didn't help one's perception.
Sports talk radio has not been kind to the native Hoosier, one station continually referring to his "jerk-face" nature. Cutler has an engaging smile, but too often seems disinterested during interviews.
He has never cursed at fans or media, stormed out of a press conference, been arrested or suspended. His sideline demeanor is a work in progress, but he's making an effort.
The block of ice Cutler came to us in seems to have melted a bit. He talks about the family he's raising and is excited by the challenge. And he is now sharing the blame for sub-par performances, and has become more of a vocal leader in the huddle.
But the haters continue piling on.
The worst thing that happened to Jay Cutler -- other than another injury -- was the emergence of Josh McCown, the Bears' unbelievable backup who became an immediate fan favorite with his record-setting, productive play and humble nature.
Cutler missed the last four games with a high ankle sprain but has been cleared to play and will start today's game in Cleveland, sending McCown back to the bench despite his 109.8 QB rating, highest in Bears history.
O-o-o-o-o-h. The haters didn't like that.
They wanted McCown to start, though the NFL doesn't work that way. Starters don't lose their jobs to injury, especially franchise quarterbacks.
Forget that McCown averages 258.4 yards passing per game to Cutler's 238.5, or that he may be more accurate and has just one interception to Jay's eight.
Coach Marc Trestman said Cutler gives the Bears their best chance of winning, so live with it.
Sadly, the Cutler haters want him to fail, to stink it up today, and force Trestman to summon McCown.
But the skipper won't.
The black hearts will then hate Trestman as well.