Smart man, Tom Thayer.
As the Bears radio analyst, he’s football Steve Stone with the way he diagnoses plays before the snap and breaks them down later. He’s also football Ron Santo, grunting his dismay at his former team’s failure, audibly disheartened when the team stinks.
Oh, and nobody yells "Ball!" like Thayer.
"Ball!" Sometimes I like screaming it during a gathering of friends. "Ball!" See who dives on the onion dip.
Anyway, in Wednesday’s Tribune, our Beat Monster Brad Biggs sat down with Thayer to talk about a variety of subjects just days before training camp opens. Thayer was asked what quarterback Jay Cutler has to work on personally.
Thayer could’ve focused on Cutler’s mechanics. Everybody knows they need work, especially when Cutler is pressured or the game is tight late. That’s when he’s back on the playground, throwing off his back foot and throwing jump balls.
Sometimes he’s the guy that former Packers cornerback Charles Woodson said will throw you the ball if you just stand back there, and against Green Bay, that’s usually what Cutler has done. Bad mechanics, bad plays, bad, bad, bad against the best team in the division.
But no. Thayer didn’t cite Cutler’s mechanics. Instead, he said this:
“He has to be the ultimate teammate because Jay is going to require more patience than anybody on the field offensively. Everybody is not going to learn at the same pace so some guys are going to have struggles. (Regarding timing,) that is when Jay is going to have to pacify his frustrations (at the learning pace). Jay has to learn his position and everybody else's so the difficulty to master (it) is a great deal more complex than anybody else out there.’’
Reading between the lines, Thayer is calling out Cutler’s leadership. Arguably, Thayer stuck his foot up Cutler’s leadership backside. In my world, “be the ultimate teammate’’ is code for stop acting like a brat and start taking responsibility for your offense.
Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Dan Marino acted out on the field. At times, they animatedly dressed down teammates when plays went wrong. They can do that. They’re Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Dan Marino, all-time top 10 quarterbacks.
Cutler, though, is Cutler, a guy outside the active top 10 at his position -- forget all-time anything -- and without portfolio to shove teammates and show up offensive coordinators like a Pop Warner brat.
If Thayer is saying something like this in so many words, then you have to believe that people who will decide Cutler’s future at Halas Hall have been far more graphic. You'd hope so, anyway.
But how lame is that? Having to explain to a 30-year-old quarterback heading into his eighth season that he has to be a leader at the game’s most important position.
Your ball, Marc Trestman.