By Brad Spencer
Would you please stop, Lovie Smith. Stop it right now. Stop telling us that the doctors and the team made a decision to keep Jay Cutler out of the second half of Sunday’s NFC Championship loss to Green Bay.
Cutler had sprained his knee some time in the first half, and played on it. He had gone a series in the third quarter on it. He was only slightly limping off the field after that series, still able to put pressure on it. He was not helped off the field by teammates. He was able to climb up on a stationary bike and pedal a bit. He was standing on the sidelines after Smith made the decision to replace him with Todd Collins, another unwise and unfortunate decision on Smith’s part.
Cutler was obviously injured, but enough so to put a Super Bowl appearance on the shoulders of reserve quarterbacks that hadn’t played much all season long?
If in fact Smith kept Cutler from returning, he should not be coaching the Chicago Bears, a team, an organization, known for its down and dirty mettle and grit. You think George Halas or Mike Ditka would have kept Cutler out of that game? Maybe, if he was immobile or unconscious.
This is what is wrong with the Bears today; they’ve become soft and vulnerable. The offensive line, led by 13-year veteran center Olin Kruetz, was inconsistent all season long. The team did not have a legitimate go-to receiver. Except for Brian Urlacher and Julius Peppers, the defense was severely overrated. (That snow blustery game at home against the Patriots still gives me nightmares.)
Under Smith, this has not been Chicago football. The old school Bears would have given the Patriots at the very least a run for their money in that Snow Bowl. The old school Bears would have knocked the Packers out of the playoffs when they had the chance.
The team needs a change in leadership. It needs back its “brawn is better” mentality. Smith’s contract is up at the end of next season.
Bill Cowher, are you listening?