If that terrible moment for the Miami Dolphins comes that Jay Cutler throws an interception and the defensive player with the ball is returning it, and now all the offensive players are chasing, and everyone is trying to keep from giving up a pick six, you will not see the Dolphins quarterback chasing to make that tackle.
It will not happen.
And it will look like Cutler is disinterested. And someone will turn it into yet another Cutler meme, most of which are intended to make him seem as if he’d rather be somewhere else, enjoying a smoke and a good bourbon.
That’s the reputation Cutler had long before he arrived in Miami. That’s how the world views Cutler.
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What you don’t know is that if that moment ever comes, Cutler is under orders to not chase the defender. Even if it means the play becomes a pick six, Adam Gase has told Cutler to not risk injury in trying to make the tackle because the coach knows someone would love to block Cutler into next week. And that’s how quarterbacks get hurt.
But the truth behind how Cutler sometimes acts under such duress is not the point of this post. The point is not how Cutler looked two weeks ago when during a Wildcat play against New Orleans when he stood at wide receiver, hands on hips, not moving. Within hours many were talking about how disinterested Cutler is and using that moment as proof.
The point of this post is not that Cutler was ordered to do exactly what he did because otherwise he could get hit by the defensive back and injured, but rather what people thought when they saw the play.
The world view of Jay Cutler.
That world view is often unfair and ignorant as I just demonstrated. But it exists for a reason. And my guess is because Cutler carries himself in a certain way that makes people who don’t really know him think he’s bored or doesn’t care.
And that’s kind of how the Dolphins offense has played at times the past few weeks. It has at times taken on the Jay Cutler meme personality.
The unit’s lax approach at times has been bothersome. The inattention to detail has been obvious. And this:
It has seemed this offense is collectively bothered by not succeeding, but not so terribly bothered as to fix what’s wrong.
So, fair or not, I’ve also wondered if this is because Cutler gives off that vibe of being just way too chill.
It should be said now that I’ve asked multiple people within the Dolphins organization if this is the case. I’ve asked players and others. And everyone says there is no such offensive demeanor that suggests people are simply shrugging their shoulders at failure.
So I am trying to accept that because these people are behind the scenes. They see things in Cutler I don’t see. They see how he interacts with teammates and they with him. I’m told teammates get upset when he’s hit. I’m told teammates have great respect for Cutler.
I’m told everything is all good.
Except ... I don’t see everything being all good.
From way outside the organization I see a different personality in this year’s offense than last year’s. I see this year’s offense at times play like a Jay Cutler meme.
So here’s my question: Is part of the Dolphins offensive problems linked to the change in quarterback not because of the new guy’s abilities to read defenses or throw down field or anything tangible having to do with football? But, rather, is it linked to Cutler’s inability to inspire and rally teammates?
I asked Cutler on Thursday if he’s been rallying the offense following three consecutive uninspiring performances.
“I think we did a good job today,” he said. “I think (head coach) Adam (Gase) did a job talking to the team the last couple of days. We’ve just got to go back to work. I mean that’s all we can do. We can’t magically think that this is just going to turn around just because we come in and we practice and we play games. There’s got to be a focus there. There’s got to be energy. There’s got to be a sense of urgency for us offensively, to do things the way we’re coached to do, and go out there and get better each day.”
And that’s good. I buy that.
But just once when a receiver runs a wrong route and Cutler sees that the play is blown up, I’d like to see him not throw the ball in the dirt in apparent disgust. I know that’s probably the smart play -- live to play another down and not force the ball downfield.
But the surrender ball in the dirt bugs me when it happens two or three times in one game.
(Maybe Cutler is under orders to do that, too).
We’re dealing with an intangible here. Everyone should accept that.
But I know that I’ve seen teams take on the personality of their head coach. These teams become an extension of their head coach. Remember Joe Philbin’s Dolphins never started fast, didn’t often play with a sense of urgency until somebody knocked them in the face mask first and the issue lasted year after year?
Well, that’s because Philbin was kind of a laid back fellow who never wanted to be too high or too low. He was kind of an organizer. And his team took on his personality.
Similarly, units can take on the personality of their leaders. The Ryan Tannehill offense kept coming back and fighting and getting up when knocked down because that’s very much what Tannehill often did and how he played.
This offense hasn’t shown a lot of fight overall this year. Jarvis Landry, the heartbeat of the unit in the past, hasn’t been the same guy he’s been in the past in that he hasn’t taken the mantle of setting the tone. And I believe I’ve seen that void at least partially filled by ....
...Some Jay Cutler meme personality.
I cannot prove it. No one is admitting it. I’m going on mostly gut here -- and uninformed gut at that. But I’ve seen teams and units fall in line behind a guy. I’ve seen leaders step up and impose their will over whole units. I’ve seen personalities dominate a team or a unit, sometimes for good and sometimes not.
And at times this season I’ve seen the Dolphins offense adopt the Cutler meme personality.
Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero