Monday, September 14, 2009

An Open Letter to Rashard Mendenhall

Note/Callout to Steelers' Running Back Rashard Mendenhall: We're calling you out, Rashard. Time to step up. You're going home next weekend.

So-o-o-o ... Set aside a few hours to watch videotape of Matt Forte, whom the Bears took in the second round with the 44th overall pick in the same 2008 NFL draft in which you were drafted by the Steelers with the 23rd overall pick in the first round.

Rashard, you not only played -- you starred -- at the University of Illinois, where the eyes of Chicago and Illini faithful were upon you.
In your final season with the Illini, you rushed for a school-record 1,681 yards and 17 touchdowns. It's time now to show that form in black 'n gold.

Granted, Forte had only 55 yards rushing Sunday night in Green Bay, but as a rookie last season he accumulated 1,238 yards rushing (third-best in the NFL) and 1,715 yards from scrimmage (rushing and receiving). Rashard, you haven't shown anything, nothing, but tentativeness and a lack of confidence, both before and after going on injured reserve last year.

The point is, Forte runs with an authority and deciveness that you, Rashard, that you have not shown in your professional career. Come to think of it, the Steelers' own Isaac Redman, currently on the practice squad as an undrafted, unheralded street free agent, runs with more resolve, authority and decisiveness than you've shown. Time to step up, Rashard.

You're going back to Illinois, and the eyes of Chicago and Illini faithful will be watching with interest next Sunday, as will the critical eyes of Steelers' fans and NFL fans across the nation.

Are you ready to deliver?

Jay Cutler's a Punk

The Chicago Bears, next up on the schedule for the Steelers, have a good team. Sure, they have flaws (wide receiver), but they have a stout defense, polished special teams and a strong running game.

Too bad they still don't have the "Franchise Quarterback" their fine team, great city and fervent fans deserve.

We've all seen franchise quarterbacks: Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Ben Rothlisberger, Drew Brees, Dan Marino, Johnny Unitas, etc. They're great. We know 'em when we see 'em.

And Jay Cutler ain't a franchise quarterback. He's a punk.

Last night, on prime-time TV, Cutler threw four (four!) interceptions against division rival Green Bay. For the Packers, Aaron Rogers looks like he could be on the way to becoming a franchise quarterback. Ditto for the Jets, by the way, with Mark Sanchez -- you wanna re-think trading that draft choice, Cleveland, last April? Brady Quinn a franchise quarterback? Eh, not so much.

Anyway, Cutler looked shaky last night, to say the least, and the glare of the spotlight will get only harsher next Sunday when the Steelers visit Chicagoland.

The great city of Chicago deserves better than Cutler. He's a punk. He's a whiner. He's a loser -- career won-lost record at Vanderbilt: 11-34; career won-lost record as a pro: 17-21.

Finally, as the Chicago Sun-Times noted in today's edition...

"So what are we to make of Jay Cutler's four-interception Bears debut Sunday in a 21-15 loss at Green Bay? Well, the picks certainly weren't all his fault. ... A bigger concern in some corners was Cutler's apparent lack of poise. His growing frustration became painfully obvious throughout the night as he ranted at officals and railed at teammates for not running proper pass routes. Does this illustrate a lack of maturity that has been cited by the likes of Tony Dungy and Mike Ditka?"

Probably. Bears' fans deserve better.

Too bad about Brian Urlacher's season-ending injury, too. He's a marquee player, and as Steelers' fans, we would have liked to have seen him on the field next Sunday.

Anyway, as for Cutler, well, as the Chicago Sun-Times's Rick Telander wrote ...

"We're left with the multiple images of Cutler throwing the ball all over the place, flinging it up like a messenger pigeon at times, hoping for something good. Just hoping."

Bad News, Bears.


More Links:

Gridiron Godess: The Second Coming of Rex Grossman

ESPN: Long-awaited regiular-season debut of Jay Cutler a flop

Chicago Tribune:
Jay Cutler's hot head, cold hand hurt Bears

Chicago Tribune: Jay Cutler's miserable 1st half: You had to see it to believe it

Chicago Sun-Times: Lots of Flings and Misses From Cutler

Pro Football Talk: Bobby Wade says Urlacher thinks Cutler's a "pussy"

K.C. Joyner: Sorry, Bears Fans, Cutler Isn't the Answer


And, finally -- just because we can -- Joey Porter's Pit Bulls offer up the following paragraph from yesterday's post that, yes, we wrote before Cutler's debacle last night ...

"Speaking of bears, of particular interest to Steelers' fans will be tonight's Bears-Packers game, since the Steelers play at Chicago next Sunday. We shall see if the much-ballyhooed arrival of wunderkind Jay Cutler will pan out as hoped in Chicagoland. Yeah, we know: Cutler has a big arm. The punk, however, has never won anything. His career record at Vanderbilt and in Denver is well below .500. And Chicago still doesn't have any wide receivers who are accomplished, polished or much of a threat. We shall see."

Photo credit: Chicago Sun-Times