Jay Feely spent about four weeks on the Chicago Bears in 2014, but that was plenty of time for him to formulate an opinion on the leadership, or lack thereof, from the head coach and quarterback.
Earlier today on Sirius XM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio, ex-Chicago Bears’ kicker Jay Feely called out quarterback Jay Cutler and former head coach Marc Trestman for a lack of leadership. He also claimed that Trestman failed to hold his team accountable.
From the Chicago Sun Times:
“Your job as a head coach is to inspire your team,” Feely said. “To galvanize them, to have a message, to bring them together and have those guys believe what you’re saying. I think that was the disconnect, because I do think he’s a very smart offensive coach and his track record proves that as an offensive coordinator.
“There’s a big difference between being a smart coach and a coordinator and being a head coach. Rex Ryan, for everything New York said about him, when he gets in front of a team, that team believes in him. … With Trestman, it was a little awkward when he spoke. And he didn’t really connect with guys. You can have that as a coach if you have a strong locker room and you have leaders in the locker room. If you don’t have leaders in the locker room, you don’t have a coach who inspires, then you have a losing season.”
When the Bears signed Feely on December 3rd, 2014, they were in the midst of a losing season at 5-7. They went on to drop their next 4 games to finish the season 5-11.
The entire 2014 season seemed to spiral out of control and it got worse just about every week.
Lack of leadership and accountability was a prevailing theme through most of the year. With reports of Trestman addressing the team with his back to the players, assistant coach Aarom Kromer complaining to the media, locker room shouting matches, no one taking the fall for back to back games of 50 points allowed, Brandon Marshall challenging to fight a Lions fan, Lance Briggs getting a personal day to open a restaurant and various instances of organizational finger pointing all led to one of the most disappointing seasons in Chicago Bears history.
With Trestman failing to lead, Feely felt that Jay Cutler should taken on more of a leadership role.
“When you have a quarterback who doesn’t like to lead, it leaves a hole in that team. Other guys can fill that role, like Baltimore with Ray Lewis … but when a quarterback is not a leader, there’s gonna be a vacuum there.
“Jay Cutler can win on the field. But he would be so much better and the team would be so much better if you’re a leader off the field as well. I never saw him lead verbally. If he doesn’t want to be that person, if it’s not in his DNA, then you’re always gonna have a vacuum there that somebody else needs to step into and fill.”
With the quarterback not making a verbal effort to lead, Feely believes it’s up to the franchise to fill the locker room with leaders. Early in Cutler’s Bears’ career he had a head coach that could command a locker room in Lovie Smith, a verbal leader on offense in Olin Kreutz, and the face of the franchise was clearly Brian Urlacher.
For what it’s worth, Feely is on board with Chicago’s hiring of John Fox to lead the Bears.
What are your thoughts on Jay Feely’s comments?