3:58 PM CDT, September 16, 2012
When push comes to shove, Jay Cutler and J'Marcus Webb should settle their differences away from the prying eyes of a national television audience.
Cutler's most recent public display of dissatisfaction has Bears fans and the rest of the NFL talking like gossiping neighbors.
Cutler was sacked seven times and threw four interceptions in Thursday night's horror show at Lambeau Field. This has been an alarming drill for the Bears in big games the last few years.
We all have observed Cutler gesture wildly, refuse to allow a teammate to help him up from the ground after a sack and criticize the quality and readiness of his line of protection in the past.
But many believe he crossed the line Thursday when, in addition to chastising his left tackle along the sideline, he made physical contact with the 6-foot-7, 330-pounder.
Cutler apparently shouted to Webb something along the lines of "Get your head in the (bleeping) game" before shoving him. In contrast, Cutler calmly sat down next to his friend Brandon Marshall and gave him a consoling pat on the shoulder after the wide receiver failed to catch a potential touchdown pass in the 23-10 debacle.
Webb, a seventh-round draft pick who probably feels he is in a no-win situation when it comes to retaliating against franchise-leader Cutler, released the following statement regarding the incident Friday evening:
"Yesterday wasn't just a loss for me, it was a loss for our whole team. I don't want the fans, media, or any of our teammates to become distracted with the interaction between what happens on the sidelines. We will handle any disagreements as a team. The concern I have remains the same: to protect our quarterback and win. This is my focus and no one needs to identify this for me or question my desire to win. We win together and we lose together. Bear down."
Cutler admitted his frustration after the loss, saying:
"I care about this. This isn't a hobby for me; I am not doing this for my health. I am trying to win football games and trying to get first downs. When we are not doing the little things, doing things the right way consistently, I am going to say something. If they want a quarterback that doesn't care, they can find someone else."
Coach Lovie Smith was asked after the game to pinpoint the main reason for the offense's ineptness.
"It's hard to get to that next step until you have enough time to see if you are making the right decision," Smith said of Cutler. "He didn't have a lot of time tonight; I think it's safe to say that."
It seems to me that the Bears' locker room culture and dynamics need to be examined as coaches try to get the most out of young, inconsistent players such as Webb. No doubt, heated sideline spats in the NFL are quite common among players and coaches. In fact, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers yelled at receiver James Jones on Thursday night, but not in a physically intimidating or demeaning manner.
The Bears need to keep the focus on improving their play collectively on the field, not the sideline show.
The Bears collectively made enough mistakes to go around without singling out just one culprit.
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