If you’re just waking up from a 24 hour nap, have been “indisposed” since Saturday evening for tantric reasons or if you’re just now regaining power from some weather-related event, you might not have heard the news which spurred this round table discussion, so let me catch you up.

During yesterday’s NFC Championship game, Jay Cutler hurt his knee.  Despite the fact that he was competing for an opportunity to go to the Super Bowl and he didn’t need to be carted off the field, nor was he on crutches after being removed from the game, Jay Cutler stayed on the sidelines for the second half.

Despite not knowing the extent of Cutler’s injury (which is reportedly a MCL Sprain), NFL players and analysts are taking to Twitter and any media outlet which will let them voice their opinion to call into question Cutler’s toughness and loyalty to the Bears for not reinserting himself back into the game.

It’s easy for football players who have been sitting in their living rooms for weeks, bearing heavy hearts as they are forced to watch the post season progress without them, criticize a player for not doing EVERYTHING in their power to help push the tilt in their team’s favor.  As I see Jay Cutler’s Chicago Bears teammates standing up for him, I decided to take to the GuysNation round table to find out what our other authors thought about the decision to go with Caleb Hanie instead of trying to get Cutler back on the field in whatever capacity he was still capable.

Gools: I think this Jay Cutler-not-playing-from-the-3rd-quarter-on controversy is being overblown.  The guy was injured.  Not just hurt – injured.  Players know their bodies, and he attempted to come back and play after halftime but he couldn’t plant and throw.  And the trainers and doctors made the decision to sit him.  His arm and overall ability are better than Todd Collins and Caleb Hanie, but if he’s injured then he’s not going to lead a comeback.  The Bears made the right decision for the player and the team.  Not that Hanie or Collins were going to lead comebacks, but at least both had stable knees and could make throws.  Chances of Collins or Hanie bringing the Bears back was close to nil, but I’d be okay as a teammate with what happened.

Olin Kreutz, the Bears’s center, said that Cutler’s leg was violently shaking in the huddle after the 2nd quarter hits that he took.  And the Bears weren’t protecting him.  His guys knew he was INJURED.  Maurice Jones-Drew and Dockett (Cardinals) can chirp all the want on Twitter, but neither were asked to plant and throw with a knee that possibly tore a ligament (we’ll see from the MRI today or tomorrow) – arm-chair quarterbacks sitting home in their manisions.

I’m the opposite of a Jay Cutler fan.  Don’t like him at all – personality or skills (great arm but not the mind or reads to win long-term in my opinion) – but I don’t fault him at all for this.  He was injured.  Non-issue being made into a meaningless stink.

JMB:  As far as I’m concerned the players attacking Cutler are out of line, and I’m proud of Urlacher’s seemingly genuine and defiant defense of Cutler.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of Jay Culter.  I think he has great physical skills, but I do question whether his personality is one that can give you the kind of leader you need at the QB position.  However, you can’t question Cutler’s toughness.  He has been DESTROYED by horrendous line play this year, and each and every time he’s dusted himself off and got back up and into the huddle.  Does anyone remember the 9 sack game against the Giants?  I believe he was jacked up over fifty times in 15 games (if my memory serves me).  In this game he’s already being hit, and bleeding and no one knew why
concerning that injury.  He comes back out after the knee injury and tries to throw, and comes up way short.  The guy can’t plant to make throws, and from what I’ve picked up, the joint didn’t have stability.  The medical staff pulled him.  That’s the end of the story for me.  If the guy physically can’t throw well, and the medical staff says this could be a real issue, who are we to judge?  Especially, those on Twitter and the like who really don’t know what is going on even if they do have playing experience.  This isn’t “Manny being Manny” as the baseball pundits are so fond of referring to MR’s lack of effort, this is a situation where a QB who has gutted it out time and time
again simply maybe not have had one more in him.

SirHayes:  I think this has gotten really out of hand.  I don’t know if Cutler was hurt, or to what extent.  If I did?  I’d have a much higher paying gig working the sideline of a professional sport’s team.  Here is what ANY of us know.  He played the first half.  He came out and played the first series of the second half.  The rest of the game he stood on the sideline and showed an ability to walk.  According to him and his team?  He was too hurt to play.  I don’t understand where the media gets off destroying this guy, or anyone of the dozens of players (current and ex) get off calling Cutler out.  They don’t know  how that knee felt.  They didn’t take a 5 step drop and try to throw pushing off that leg.  Yes.  Its a big game, and a big situation and it is noble to “gut it out” if you’re injured, but we’re forgetting one key thing.  Its also stupid.  Say he has a slight tear in his ACL, MCL, or PCL?  How does him making that a complete tear help himself or his team?  Bottom line, is he didn’t think he could continue.  His team agreed.  Unless a doctor comes out  and says “oh, he was fine to play”?  I’m going to assume he made the right choice, not just for himself, but for his team.  Do you want a quarterback who can’t step into throws, or get away from an aggressive pass rush?  He was looking pedestrian before the injury… What’s he gonna look like after?

4thStooge:  I’m not a Jake Cutler fan. I don’t know what it is about him that annoys me, but something does. That being said, he has done well in Chicago and I think he is the right person for the job there.

Yesterday’s performance was questionable. Wasn’t it a Chicago athlete that took money to throw a game in baseball? I won’t lie and say the thought didn’t cross my mind. However, Cutler is too cocky to do that, and too rich. I never saw the play in which he hurt his knee, nor did they ever show it. But, I’ll have to say that I stand by the choice the Bears made.

In a scenario of if’s…IF Cutler did hurt his knee, he should have stayed out. If the Bears would have won, they would need Cutler at peak performance for a good chance at winning against either Sanchez or Big Ben. IF the Bear’s would have put him back in, they might have won…but it could have also been the end of Cutler’s career. I just don’t see Cutler as the type that will sit out a championship game b/c he has a minor ache.

I am a big fan of Urlacher though, and have heard on many occasions that he’s one of the nicest, most sincere guys out there. If he’s standing behind Cutler, then I will too.

Todd Collins should have never been put in the game. What has he done in his career? All I can think of is his recent past with the Redskins and he sucked, with few exceptions. I was very impressed with the 3rd string QB though. He had more desire and grit than Cutler did yesterday…as if he was actually playing for a chance to go to the Super Bowl.

From everything I’ve heard, Jay Cutler isn’t a cry-baby.  He gets sacked more than almost every other quarterback in the league, and it’s not until the second half of the NFC Championship game, with a knee he can’t put pressure on due to a sprained MCL, that he finally has to throw in the towel?  Maybe it’s just me, but I’d say it’s courageous for him to want to give his team the best chances possible to win that game with a quarterback who wasn’t physically limited than to go back in and not only give the Bears a sub-par quarterback on that given Sunday, but also potentially do something to risk the health of his leg.  An additional injury yesterday could mean that the Bears would have to get someone else to play Quarterback for them the entirety of next season.  For Bears fans who are already burning his jersey in the street, maybe that’s what they’re hoping for anyway.