Monday, August 7, 2017

The great experiment

Or, you know, not so great.

Which is to say, this is either some wild fling of the dice Dolphins coach Adam Gase is up to down there in Miami, or it is further proof that he is a genius in embryo. Certainly it's reasonable to question if he's stripped a mental gear, bringing in a man with Jay Cutler's taint simply because Gase once got along with him in Chicago. But it's also reasonable to question if some of the questioning is happening because so many people simply don't like Cutler personally.

The Blob's verdict: It's a little bit of both.

To be sure, this looks like a wackadoodle move on the surface. Bringing in any new quarterback at the last minute like this -- especially when you've rebuilt a positive locker room chemistry the way Gase did last year -- would raise an eyebrow. But to bring in someone with Cutler's sour rep as a player who doesn't care enough and can't lead? If he couldn't unite the guys who knew him in Chicago, how's he going to do it with a bunch of strangers?

Especially when there's already a backup QB in Miami (Matt Moore) who's enormously popular in the locker room, precisely because he's apparently Cutler's polar opposite?

This would seem to be asking for XXL trouble, but Gase thinks it's worth that trouble, and Gase is an up-and-coming coaching talent who got 10 wins out of the Dolphins last year. So maybe he believes the newly minted Dolphins Way will enable Cutler to fit in the way, say, Randy Moss did with the Patriots.

If so ... and if Cutler can stay healthy ... this could work.

It could work not only because the Gase-Cutler collaboration worked two years ago in Chicago, but because Cutler does have some considerable skills. In that aforementioned 2015 season, he completed 64 percent of his passes for 3,659 yards and 21 touchdowns, against just 11 interceptions. The year before, he completed 66 percent of his throws for 3,812 yards, 28 TDs and 18 picks.

Of course, Cutler played in 15 games both those seasons. He played in only five in 2016 because he got hurt (again!). And that is another problem: Cutler hasn't played a full 16-game season since 2009, when he threw 27 TDs and 26 interceptions.

Which of course is yet another problem.

Yes, he throws too many picks. Of course, he's not the only quarterback who's ever done that. Brett Favre threw too many. Jim McMahon, the quarterback of those fabled '85 Bears, threw too many as well -- was, in fact, more careless with the football than Cutler.

The difference, of course, is that Favre and McMahon were incomparable leaders, and Cutler is not. And so their pick-throwing was portrayed as a go-for-broke desire to win, while Cutler's is portrayed as simple recklessness.

Truth is, the man's got skills. And in the right environment, he could light it up. Gase is clearly betting he can provide the right environment, as he once did before.

We shall see.

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