Before we talk about Jay Cutler, let’s rewind back to Week 14 of the 2016 season
During the teams matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins Starting Quarterback Ryan Tannehill went down with a knee injury after an awkward tackle by Calais Campbell.
That knee injury, a partially torn ACL, would keep him out through the remainder of the season and the teams lone postseason game in the last 14 years. The team went with backup quarterback Matt Moore for those four games who filled in admirably (2-1 regular season).
As for treatment, Tannehill opted for stem-cell therapy and rehab over surgery on his ACL to minimize the amount of time he would miss from the game he loved. However, he would fully tear that same ACL in training camp the following season.
Would the team go with Matt Moore for a full year or would they take a peek behind door number 2?
As Will Smith once said, Bienvenidos a Miami
Adam Gase, as most coaches do, had a propensity for bringing in players he was familiar with. This practice enables any offensive-minded head coach and QB tandem to hit the ground running as there is, minimally, a foundational understanding of the offense.
With their history in Chicago, albeit only a year, Adam Gase and Jay Cutler formed a strong relationship. That very relationship would bring them back together when Miami found themselves in need of a starting quarterback for 2017. They would go on to sign Cutler to a 1 year, $10 million deal.
During his introductory press conference, Jay Cutler said “There weren’t a lot of opportunities or jobs out there that if they were to came up I would have taken but this has got to be top of the list.” That was certainly high praise for the organization and his head coach.
Adam Gase being the head man, and the way he operated, really was a deciding factor here with Cutler. In that same press conference, Cutler said of Gase that “He’s really good. He’s really good at his job. He takes care of quarterbacks.”
With a contract that size, and with Cutler coming out of retirement to play, Miami had signaled to the team that they had their new starting quarterback with Matt Moore set to resume his role as the primary backup.
So, how did it go?
With Jay Cutler signing onto the team on August 7th, he had some catching up to do as the team had already begun training camp.
Luckily for the Dolphins, “[He] remembers basically everything with the offense,” Gase said at the time. Getting up to speed wouldn’t be as challenging as it normally is in this situation.
That season, Jay Cutler would go on to complete 62% of his passes for 2,666 yards, 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions en route to a 6-8 record as a starter. Cutler would finish the year with 6.2 yards per attempt (career low) and 5.6 air yards per attempt. It’s safe to say that this season as a whole didn’t go the way that Jay or the team would have hoped.
However, there were some really great moments – none greater than his performance against the New England Patriots in Week 14. Cutler was magnificent in this one, going 25-38 passing for 263 yards and 3 touchdowns en route to a 27-20 victory. That victory was certainly a balanced one, with Kenyan Drake adding 114 yards on the ground, but this one would really be remembered for the performance of Cutler.
Signing Jay Cutler was good process
While that season wouldn’t go the way the team or Cutler would have wanted, I still feel that signing Jay was good process.
The team clearly felt, after going 10-6 and making the playoffs the year prior, that they were ready to compete. I think most fans would have agreed – I know I did.
They wasted little time in signing Jay upon the re-injury to Ryan Tannehill even with RT17 still being undecided on how he’d approach this new injury. By going with Cutler, they were choosing a quarterback who had shown he could play at a high level and had experience in the offense over the career backup. While fans loved Matt Moore, this signing did make sense.
We didn’t know how it would go but the signs indicated at the time that this was what the team needed. Minimally, we upset the Patriots in Week 14 – I’ll always remember that game.
What do you remember most about the year of Jay Cutler? Let me know in the comments below!