When Fran Tarkenton criticizes quarterbacks, people listen, and often get very angry.
This summer, after Fran made negative remarks about Brett Favre, saying he could never accept the former Packer legend as a Viking, certain (unthinking and ungrateful) members of Purple Nation made Tarkenton numero uno on their crazy Kool-Aid drinker shit-list, calling him all sorts of names from “crazy old man” to “bitter jealous hater.”
Since then, Favre has played brilliantly enough to shut up all his critics, including Tarkenton. Meaning Fran has had to find a different NFC North quarterback to train his bitter, hating, jealous, demented sights on.
Luckily for Fran, there is an NFC North quarterback who is both high profile enough to be worthy of his scorn, and is playing badly enough to deserve plenty of bashing. And that quarterback currently plays for the Chicago Bears, a team Fran can rip without fear of Viking fan backlash.
Speaking on ESPN 1000 in Chicago, Fran went off on Mr. Cutler, who leads the league with 17 interceptions (14 more than Mr. Favre).
“I really question whether he can play,” Tarkenton raved. “Quarterbacks need to make their team better. If it’s a bad team, they can even make a bad team better. Somebody may say well, even Peyton Manning couldn’t help the Bears. Yes, he could. Tom Brady could, too. They might not win the championship or get to the playoffs, but they would make that team better. Those wide receivers who are struggling would be better because they would make them better.”
“Great quarterbacks, good quarterbacks, make plays,” Tarkenton continued. “Mechanics is overwrought. Whether they’re strong-armed, weak-armed, throw sidearm, throw overhead, they’re fast, they’re quick, I don’t care. I just want someone to make plays. Peyton Manning doesn’t look beautiful back there.
“Jay Cutler had every opportunity to make plays for his team [Thursday against the 49ers] and every opportunity he didn’t. That’s how I judge a quarterback: Either you make plays or you don’t. I don’t even want to talk about mechanics.”
Tarkenton then said something that probably has every coach and offensive coordinator in the league wanting to strangle him:
“If Jay Cutler is not comfortable with the offense or the way they are calling the plays, he ought to go in there and tell that coach [expletive]. Dan Fouts came into the league and for the first couple of years he was struggling. He said, ‘What do you do?’ I said, ‘Dan, if you’re not willing to go tell your head coach or your coordinator to kiss off, then you can’t play quarterback in this league.’
“I don’t think that will solve the problems of the Chicago Bears. The Chicago Bears need to start over. But for Jay Cutler to be a quarterback and make plays, he’s got to take charge.”
So, basically, Fran’s solution to the Bears’ problems is for Cutler to start screaming at Ron Turner and Lovie Smith.
Maybe the people who called him old and out of it had a point after all. Or, maybe this is all part of some master scheme of Fran’s to further sink the Bears’ ship by fomenting discord between Cutler and the coaching staff.
Luckily for the Bears, though people like me and the Favre-suckers listen to Fran, I doubt Cutler does.