I'm trying to figure out Jay Cutler. I really am.
I can see the talent, the arm strength and the underrated athleticism Cutler shows with his ability to extend plays outside the pocket. He's physical. He's tough. And there isn't a route in the playbook Cutler can't throw.
But can I truly call him the leader of this Bears team?
I stood up for the quarterback when he spoke out about his offensive line in the spring. Those guys up front are collecting checks and they should be held accountable.
Protect your quarterback. Do your job. Earn that money.
I remember writing those words for the Tribune because in this league the quarterback is the natural — and expected — leader of the team. You don't question that as a teammate and you play hard for your guy under center.
However, where is the accountability for Cutler after the 23-10 whipping his offense took from the Packers on Thursday night?
Body language? You can have that. It's not the issue I'm talking about. Instead, I'm looking at the pure leadership skills on the field — where it counts.
He displayed a lack of respect toward a young teammate and a negative attitude that was obvious to anyone watching. He showed sloppy footwork, poor decisions in the pocket and questionable throws that seemed, well, somewhat expected of Cutler in that situation.
Haven't we seen this before? Or is that just "Jay being Jay?"
"I care about this,'' Cutler said after the loss on Thursday. "This isn't just a hobby for me. I am not doing this for my health. I'm trying to win football games."
Everyone is trying to win, Jay. That doesn't make you unique to the game because it hasn't changed since George Halas played. It's the same.
Maybe it was easy for Cutler to show up a young and inexperienced J'Marcus Webb on the field while giving his buddy Brandon Marshall a pass after a crucial end zone drop, but I guarantee that wouldn't fly with a veteran tackle who has seven, eight or nine years in the league.
In fact, I played with some nasty left tackles who would have spun around and hit Cutler right in the mouth if he embarrassed them like that in front of a national TV audience.
And don't count out a tackle pulling a "Bull Durham" on the next series. "Here comes the fastball Mr. Matthews." Now go ahead and blast my quarterback. I will just sit back and watch.
You want to find out if your team is full of true pros? Check them out in adverse situations. It's easy to dish out high-fives when you are running the score up on a bad Colts team.
"It's the same old Jay,'' Woodson said. "We don't need luck, Jay will throw us the ball."
I know Cutler is frustrated, and operating behind a suspect offensive line doesn't help. Webb is a liability. I get it. That's no fun.
But I played with quarterbacks who were true pros — such as Brett Favre, Kurt Warner and Mark Brunell. I can't remember ever seeing this type of attitude when times got a little rough on the field. They were guys you would do anything for during a ballgame precisely because you believed in them.
That's called respect, or in the NFL, leadership.
I don't know what Brian Urlacher or Julius Peppers or Charles Tillman is thinking. I can't get in their heads and they are too professional to throw their quarterback under the bus after only two games. But I find it hard to believe they approve of what they saw.
I know I wouldn't as a Bears defensive player.
Something has to give here. These Bears have talent, but they played like dogs in Green Bay. Nothing went right, the game plan fell apart and they found themselves in an brutal situation on the road for everyone to see.
And that is the exact time when you need your quarterback — your leader — to act like a pro, make a play and bring you back.
So, where ya at, Jay? This team needs you.
Special contributor Matt Bowen, who played at Glenbard West and Iowa, spent seven seasons in the NFL as a strong safety. You also can find his work at nationalfootballpost.com.