Jay Cutler has some words of wisdom for Justin Fields — and he also has some advice for his former team. The ex-Chicago Bears quarterback went on ESPN Chicago’s Waddle & Silvy Show May 25 and discussed a number of things, including how the Bears should handle their rookie signal-caller.
“I wouldn’t play the kid to start,” Cutler said when asked whether the Bears should start Fields right away or wait a bit. “I’d let him watch. I think it’s just a tough spot to just throw someone out there, especially in Chicago. And I think Andy (Dalton) is more than serviceable. I think they can win games with Andy and kind of pull the ship along until he is ready.”
Cutler was quick to praise Fields, while also recalling his own learning curve as an NFL quarterback. “I think he’s obviously talented. He can move. He can throw. He won a lot at Ohio State. He seems to have a little chip in his shoulder which I don’t think is a bad thing. But … when you’re playing quarterback, there are a lot of moving parts,” Cutler said, adding:
“I didn’t take the reps so I wasn’t ready to play. But I also feel like it benefited me tremendously watching it. Seeing the ups and downs. Seeing us lose games. Seeing us win games.”
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Cutler: Bears Need to Make Sure Everything Around Fields is Solid First
Cutler, who spent eight seasons with the Bears, brought up the rookie season of a legendary quarterback in order to drive his point about Fields home.
“No one knows if he’s ready or not,” Cutler said. “You don’t know. Look at Peyton Manning. Didn’t he set the rookie record for interceptions? Now, he went out there and did it. But it wasn’t pretty. Obviously, he figured it out and he figured it out quickly. But at the quarterback position, especially (getting) drafted in the first round and especially with a team that’s struggled a little bit, I think it’s going to be hard to say: ‘He’s 100 percent ready. We’re good to go with him.’ But I hope I’m wrong.”
The retired quarterback also noted that the conditions around Fields should be ideal when he enters the fray as the starter. “They have to get the (offensive) line (in order). They have to get some weapons,” he said.
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‘This Isn’t Ohio State’
What advice does Cutler, who understands better than most what it’s like to play in the city of Chicago, have for Fields? “He came from Ohio State. He has played in big games before. So I don’t think he’s going to mind it much,” Cutler said, before getting real:
“I will say, this isn’t Ohio State. This isn’t college football. The playing field gets leveled really quickly in the NFL, so you’re gonna get humbled. Bad things are gonna happen. You’re just going to have to deal with it. So then you have to go back and look at the film and say, ‘Hey, my bad.’ You just want to kind of limit your mistakes as you get older and as you see things. And hopefully the organization builds around him and gives him a chance to win.”
Bears fans hope so too, Jay.