If there's one person you'd think would understand the inner workings of Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, it would be his teammate, D.J. Moore. Moore went to Vanderbilt, just like Cutler did, and Moore has been on the Bears' roster with Cutler since 2009.
During and after Chicago's 23-10 Thursday night loss to the Green Bay Packers, Cutler seemed to confirm all the worst thoughts about him. He pouted, he was aggressive with teammates in ways most players aren't and he offered no mitigating circumstances for his behavior in a postgame media conference that was an embarrassment.
On Monday, Moore was asked by Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune what he thought of Cutler's actions. The third-year nickel back didn't hold back at all.
"Is it unfair to criticize Jay right now? Shoot, it's unfair for him to be like that toward J'Marcus. In every game in every sport, there's always somebody who has a tough day. For you to come off on the sideline, once you holler at him it makes it seem like [Webb] is the only reason."
Moore is referring to left tackle J'Marcus Webb, who proved to be stunningly incapable of dealing with Green Bay's pass rush. At one point in the game, Cutler shoved Webb aside to get to the sideline. However, even a cursory view of the game tape tells the real story: Webb was just one issue with Chicago's offense. The Packers got their seven sacks from all sorts of angles, and Cutler was just as responsible, holding on to the ball like he had the 1976 Oakland Raiders offensive line in front of him.
Moore was not impressed by Cutler's gesture toward his teammate, and he was asked if he's talked with Cutler about it.
"I don't talk to him. He knows. But if I was J'Marcus, shoot ... it wouldn't have went down like that. You just can't ... then when [Cutler] shoved him stuff, man. I don't know.
"I don't feel for Cut. He knows what he was doing. I don't think you do that. I think if you have a problem with [Webb], maybe do that in the locker room or something.["]
The most interesting thing about this tirade, of course, is that you normally never hear one teammate go after another in the press. Moore alluded to that — to his own detriment, as it turned out — at the end of his rant.
"It's like bad-mouthing someone in the media. It's just weird.''
Fair point, Mr. Moore, but isn't that precisely what you're doing? Deserved or not, Moore's public outing of issues in the Bears' locker room leaves head coach Lovie Smith with a real problem on his hands. If Cutler can't be the type of leader this team needs -- and it appears glaringly obvious that he can't -- someone else had to step up and shoulder that burden.
In the short term, one would expect that Moore will get the standard NFL "What you see here, stays here" lecture from someone in the organization. Not that he's wrong, but as Moore himself implied, there are ways to handle these things.
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