Commentary

Mr. Grumpy pants comes to Chicago

He rants and pouts, but Jay Cutler may get the Bears back to the Super Bowl

Updated: August 27, 2009, 10:31 AM ET
By David Fleming | ESPN The Magazine
Ross DettmanJay Cutler's demeanor has been questioned, but his arm strength never has been.

This article appears in the September 7 issue (Peyton Manning/Jeff Saturday cover) of ESPN The Magazine.

During Jay Cutler's first week of practice as the Bears' new quarterback, a rookie wide receiver dared to shag a few of his passes with just one hand. And even though this rookie, third-round pick Juaquin Iglesias, had been lectured a few times by coaches about the importance of proper technique, he was slow to break his annoying little habit. So when it happened again one afternoon, Cutler followed his pass upfield, darted toward Iglesias and screamed into his face mask: "If you ever do that again I will never throw another f--ing pass to you. EVER!"

Now, it's not exactly a secret that Cutler can be a first-class a-hole. This is a guy who didn't let his under-.500 record as Broncos starter stop him from claiming to have a stronger arm than John Elway; who made a public show of dressing down rookie receiver Eddie Royal late last season, yet took little responsibility for the team's 0-3 finish that cost it a playoff spot; who threw a breath-holding grocery-store hissy fit to force his way out of Denver when new coach Josh McDaniels dared to dangle him as trade bait. Still, Iglesias wondered, was Cutler really going ballistic over a couple of lazy catches during OTAs -- in May?

Iglesias checked his shorts. Then the rookie looked at his teammates and back to the equally stunned coaches to see if Cutler was putting him on. He was not, and just to be clear, the quarterback shot Iglesias one more look. It was the raging, flushed visage of utter disdain. When Cutler gets this way, and he gets this way often, he looks a bit like an annoyed viper -- with a frat boy haircut and a slight double chin. Of course, it's also a look that gets results. "All I know is that receiver hasn't used anything less than two hands since," says Bears offensive coordinator Ron Turner. "Look, Jay can be an intense person, a fierce competitor and a good guy, too. All the great ones have that mix. I see that in Jay, I really do. He better have it."

He better have it, indeed. What is Chicago feeling on Cutler right now? What's the best case and worst case here? To continue reading this feature for those answers, you must be an ESPN Insider. Insider

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