It felt like Ron Hasquet just attacked a member of my family.
Hasquet is the former assistant football coach at Montana Tech who does color commentary on the radio broadcasts of Oredigger games on KBOW.
He is also a guy whose football opinion I value more than just about anybody.
Until he went after my guy Jay Cutler while we rode home from the Montana Tech-Montana Western football Saturday night in Dillon, that is.
Cutler, Hasquet said, is the worst leader he’s ever seen. He’s a whiner, a pouter and he has horrible body language.
“You listen to too much ESPN Radio,” I countered.
Then Hasquet questioned Cutler’s toughness for not finishing the NFC Championship game against the Packers a couple seasons ago.
“He had a torn MCL,” I argued. “Plus, he didn’t ‘take himself out of the game,’ he was pulled by coaches because he wasn’t effective because he couldn’t plant his leg to throw the football.”
“Brent Huntsman played a game with a broken leg,” Hasquet shot back, referring to a former Oredigger player and assistant.
“He didn’t play quarterback in the NFC Championship game with a broken leg,” I said.
Then we changed the subject before the conversation came to blows.
I just don’t get the beating Cutler takes, and I get too worked up when I feel I have to defend him.
It’s fair to criticize a guy for throwing four picks — actually three because the fourth-down pass at the end of the game skipped and the scab refs blew the call — against the Packers last week.
You can criticize his throwing off his back foot or into triple coverage. You can criticize him for the way he forced his way out of Denver. You can criticize him for that Beatles hairdo.
There’s a lot of areas that Cutler is open to criticism that not even the biggest Cutler apologists like myself can defend.
Most of the criticism the Chicago Bears quarterback takes, however, is just baffling. I find myself defending him against such misguided attacks so passionately that I have to change the subject when discussing it with friends who insist on spouting what they just heard Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s husband say on ESPN.
The unwarranted attacks on Culter are almost 100 percent the fault of ESPN, the network that thinks Keyshawn Johnson, Cris Carter and Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s husband are is worth watching or listening to. By the way, I’d rather listen to that bubblehead Elisabeth Hasselbeck discus nuclear fusion than hear Tim Hasselbeck explain the Cover 2 defense. She’s probably a better quarterback, too.
The network, and the NFL for that matter, constantly glorifies a double murder — allegedly — like Ray Lewis while constantly blasting a guy like Cutler.
Rick Reilly of ESPN once criticized Cutler for not wanting to talk about his charitable gifts he gave to the children at a hospital like it’s a bad thing that the quarterback doesn’t want credit for committing such a Godly act.
The latest attack on Cutler comes because the quarterback was seen yelling at and pushing left tackle J’Marcus Webb on the sideline of the game.
Tedy Bruschi, a guy who doesn’t know how to spell Teddy, says Cutler owes Webb an apology, assuming he knew exactly what the quarterback was saying to the lineman responsible for three and a half sacks and about 17 other hits in that game alone.
Former lineman Lomas Brown said that he would have fought Cutler on the sideline if he were Webb.
If I were Webb I wouldn’t fight Cutler. I’d be too busy laughing at the bank while I cashed a check that accuses me of being an NFL offensive lineman.
If I were Cutler, I’d refuse to play until the Bears employed a left tackle capable of at least yelling “look out” after he missed yet another block.
Think about it as if you’re, say, a carpenter. You’re trying to hammer a couple of boards together, but you can’t because every 35 seconds the guy next to you smacks you in the back of the head with a 2×4. You’d probably yell at the guy to do his job right, too.
That’s all Cutler was doing. If anything, he should be praised for taking so long to finally call out the worst left tackle the league has ever seen. That the blowup didn’t come until the second half shows that Cutler has the patience of a monk.
Mother Theresa would have blown up by the middle of the second quarter.
The thing that irritates me the most is the hypocrisy of the attacks on Cutler.
The Bears quarterback is being trashed for yelling at a teammate on the sideline where the camera men had to go out of their way to find the “confrontation.”
In the very same game, Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay’s quarterback and the reigning Breast Cancer Awareness Man of the Year, threw an interception that he blamed on his receiver. Right in the middle of the field, Rodgers berated that receiver for all the world to see.
Still, not one word about Mr. Discount Doublecheck.
Brett Favre, another ESPN darling, never threw an interception that wasn’t the fault of one of his linemen or receivers. Same goes for Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.
Yelling at teammates is part of the game, unless you’re Jay Cutler.
“There’s a difference,” Hasquet said of Rodgers belittling a receiver on the field and Cutler doing the same to a lineman off it. “Rodgers has a track record.”
That track record is that Rodgers didn’t get taken out of the NFC Championship game by a cheap shot by a Packers lineman so Rodgers was able to win two more games that year?
That track record is that Rodgers actually got to play the last couple of years with offensive linemen who know how to block, receivers who can catch and run routs and an offensive coordinator who shouldn’t be wearing a straightjacket?
That track record is that Cutler actually stops to sign autographs for breast cancer patients he sees at the airport?
That track record is that Cutler focuses on the game instead of making elevendy billion commercials each season for everything from auto insurance to feminine hygiene products?
That track record is that Cutler doesn’t have bug eyes like Rodgers?
That track record is that …
I’m getting all worked up again.
I need to settle down.
Time to change the subject.
Our trip to the next Orediggers game will go much more smoothly if Hasquet simply attacks one of my family members.