LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Aaron Kromer broke locker room code and breached the trust of quarterback Jay Cutler, but in the wake of this latest demonstration of dysfunction at Halas Hall, it’s worth pondering what the Chicago Bears brass would actually accomplish now by firing the offensive coordinator. Not that it's been discussed.
While Kromer likely brought about at least a small amount of distrust within the locker room by criticizing Cutler on background to an NFL Network reporter last week, on the flip side, there are players in that locker room who believe the offensive coordinator simply said what needed to be said. According to the Chicago Tribune, Kromer, during a meeting on Monday, made a tearful apology for criticizing Cutler, which led to a report by the network Sunday that the organization is feeling “buyer’s remorse” after signing the signal-caller to a seven-year, $126.7 million contract.
Kromer apologized again during a news conference Friday and Cutler said he respected that and the relationship is good.
Kromer's sentiment shouldn’t come as a surprise. If you buy a Ferrari and it handles like a bobsled, wouldn’t you have buyer’s remorse, too?
“It doesn’t always fall on (Cutler),” Bears receiver Brandon Marshall said Monday during “The Brandon Marshall Show” on ESPN 1000. “I guess that's why those guys are the highest paid players out there because when you win and everything is going good, they get all the glory. When it's bad, they take more than what they should take. But I can understand that. As far as a businessman, I would have buyer's remorse, too."
That’s only natural for a team coming into the season with high hopes hinging on a quarterback the organization believed had finally turned the corner and was poised to finally live up to the promise of his immense physical gifts.
The Bears acquired Cutler from the Denver Broncos in a 2009 trade, and since the quarterback's arrival in Chicago, the team has advanced to the postseason only once (2010). In five-plus seasons with the Bears, Cutler has played in four offensive systems for four coordinators, and it seemed possible the latest revelation could result in the club bringing in No. 5.
But what would that accomplish at this point?
After all, Kromer doesn’t call plays or make important personnel decisions. That’s all on head coach Marc Trestman. Kromer is this team’s offensive coordinator in title only.
Cutler, 31, leads the league in turnovers (a league-high 15 interceptions and six fumbles), but currently owns the highest passer rating (91.7) of his nine-year NFL career.
Trestman on Monday remained committed to Cutler as the club's starting quarterback.
Perhaps he should, considering Cutler was actually involved in the interview process that brought Trestman to Chicago. Let’s also remember the Bears chose Trestman over current Arizona head coach Bruce Arians.
Was it because Cutler preferred the subdued Trestman over the demonstrative, take-charge Arians?
Regardless of what the answer to that question is, the fact is Cutler has been coddled for way too long in Chicago. Some players in the locker room know that. They also probably know that firing Kromer won’t change anything as the man who calls the plays, makes the decisions, and seems to struggle to hold Cutler accountable will still be in place.
Make no mistake, what Kromer said wasn’t wrong. It was just the manner in which he did it.
Ultimately though, while firing Kromer now might restore a little of the trust in the locker room, the truth is such a move would only do what the organization has done all along, and that’s to bend over backwards for a quarterback who isn’t providing real return on investment.