Jay Cutler is playing like a Pro Bowl quarterback and he has Adam Gase to thank for it.
In fact, Cutler’s playing at a level that almost made me forget about the bonkers contract erroneously handed to him by the Phil Emery regime.
Though the record may not reflect it, the Chicago Bears offense has looked really good when Cutler has been their quarterback despite being decimated with injury through the team’s first eight games. And the majority of that is because of Adam Gase.
In every game but the season opener – when Alshon Jeffery was hampered and the offensive line featured two starters that have since been cut – Cutler’s passer rating has been between 88.4 and 116.2.
Pretty telling when you consider his career rating is 85.4.
At this point, Cutler will finish his first season under Gase with a career high in passer rating (89.6), boosted by a career-low interception rate (2.0%). He’s also averaging his most pass yards per game since 2008 — when Jay Cutler went to the Pro Bowl for the first and only time.
In the six games Cutler has finished, three have already ended in him leading the Bears to a 4th quarter comeback victory. Which means he’s well on the way to breaking his career-high of four in 2010 – the only season Jay Cutler 1) beat the Packers and 2) won a playoff game.
And if we’re talking solely just about Monday’s comeback win in San Diego, this number is what stands out the most.
Last night, Jay Cutler was 9-of-12 on 3rd down for 126 yards, with 8 of those completions going for 1sts. Passer rating of 108.3.
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) November 10, 2015
Bottom line: Numbers don’t lie, and the numbers say Jay Cutler is playing his best football since he got to Chicago – if not his entire career.
Whatever his method, Adam Gase has convinced Jay Cutler that he’s more lethal making the right throw than when he makes the tough one – which has long been Cutler’s calling card as one of the elite arm talents in the NFL.
Now he’s thriving in Gase’s uptempo offensive scheme, one predicated around making the hot read and getting the ball out as quickly as possible.
Some of the credit has to go to the guy making the throws, but the guy calling the plays is putting his quarterback in a position to succeed.
Hell, even Pessimism Prisco agrees.
Adam Gase has done a great job with Cutler.
— Pete Prisco (@PriscoCBS) November 10, 2015
Gase is a hot commodity in today’s NFL because he has an extensive track record of success at such a young age. The 37-year-old wunderkind has made something out of Tim Tebow, made 36-38-year-old Peyton Manning look a lot younger than 39-year-old Peyton Manning and turned Jay Cutler into the quarterback people always expected him to be.
The latter of which, most certainly, is going to land him a head coaching job with whatever team decides to back up the Brinks truck.
At this point, Adam Gase is the only guy alive who can claim to have harnessed Jay Cutler – despite the fact that both of them could very well be auditioning for a job elsewhere in 2016. Who wouldn’t pay for that kind of genius?
Bob Warja at Chicago Now adds this interesting layer:
In 2006, the Dallas Cowboys made a coaching error they still might be regretting to this day. They allowed a young Sean Payton to bolt to New Orleans to become the head coach. Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells left a year later and Payton went on to make sweet football music with the Saints including a Super Bowl win. Dallas has had success under Jason Garrett but not nearly what Payton has done in New Orleans.
When the offseason rolls around the Chicago Bears are going to have to do everything in their power to keep Adam Gase. But while it’s easy to say “don’t make the same mistake the Cowboys did,” things are little more complicated than that.
Considering most NFL teams don’t deny assistant coaches a chance to interview for head coaching opportunities, that really only leaves one option: The organization declaring Adam Gase as the heir apparent to the 60-year-old John Fox.
It’s a risk, but Gase could be sold on continuing to work with Fox and a guaranteed head gig – and the Bears could ensure they won’t lose the coordinator who finally fixed Cutler.
Because that sounds like a risk not worth taking.