It’s like Jay Cutler never even left our NFL lives.
Well, for practical purposes we probably never noticed he was gone. He retired over the offseason, then came back when the Miami Dolphins needed a quarterback. He missed last week’s preseason opener because he had only been practicing a couple days, but that’s about it. Cutler will be back on the field Thursday night, as he makes his Dolphins debut at home against the Baltimore Ravens.
There has been a lot of optimism about Cutler, who hasn’t made a Pro Bowl since 2008 and whose only career playoff appearance was 2010, and now the Dolphins get a first look on how he might fit in.
Cutler was needed after quarterback Ryan Tannehill aggravated his ACL injury, knocking him out for the season. That’s one of a few key injuries the Dolphins have dealt with this preseason. Cutler brings with him a big arm and a comfort level with Dolphins coach Adam Gase’s offense. Gase was Cutler’s offensive coordinator with the Chicago Bears in 2015. But we also remember Cutler’s inconsistency and the turnovers, which were good reasons Cutler never made a Pro Bowl in his eight Bears seasons. There is also the injury risk. Cutler hasn’t played all 16 games in a season since 2009. Spending a few months in retirement preparing for a job announcing games on Fox probably doesn’t lessen that risk.
While Cutler knows most of Gase’s offense, he needs time to get acclimated to his Dolphins teammates. He didn’t have OTA practices or the first part of training camp to do that. So the preseason, starting with his debut tonight, will be a little more important to Cutler and the Dolphins offensive players than it is for most teams. Dolphins fans just want some positive news to come out of this preseason.
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