Jon Gruden: Given Jay Cutler's contract, Bears need a young QB

CHICAGO -- ESPN NFL analyst and former Super Bowl winning head coach Jon Gruden called for the Chicago Bears to bench quarterback Jay Cutler during a "Monday Night Football" telecast at Soldier Field on Dec. 15.

In front of a national audience, Cutler (pictured) tossed three interceptions in a 31-15 defeat to the New Orleans Saints, prompting ex-Bears head coach Marc Trestman to start Jimmy Clausen in Week 16.

Five months later, Gruden still feels the Bears need to actively search for an alternative at quarterback.

"I think Chicago, given the contract that Jay Cutler has, should consider looking for a young arm that has a bright future as a Bear," Gruden said Tuesday on a national conference call.

"The body language of the Bears football team wasn't good last year. Often times that is a direct reflection of the quarterback. For a man of that type of talent, that type of experience, it was shocking to me."

Cutler finished 2014 ranked eighth in completion percentage (66.0) and tied for 10th in touchdowns (28), but Chicago missed the playoffs for the fifth time since Cutler's arrival in 2009.

"I want him to turn it around now," Gruden said. "But I just am somewhat surprised he's been unable to get it in the gear that the Chicago Bears need him to get it to, because he's had a pretty good supporting cast.

"Jay Cutler has been there for a number of different offensive coaches. He's had the Bears on the brink of the playoffs but he really hasn't been able to sustain 16-to-20 weeks of great play, in my opinion. With all that talent, it just hasn't come together for him."

Gruden mentioned Oregon's Marcus Mariota and Colorado State's Garrett Grayson as two of the quarterbacks he's particularly fond of in the 2015 draft class.