Quarterback Jay Cutler is nothing if not an antagonist. It’s tough to find a more scrutinized quarterback throughout the entire league (except for maybe Tony Romo) than the Chicago Bears signal caller. The majority of the criticism that Cutler garners, however, is brought on by his own actions or comments.
We can all recall the infamous NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers where the beleaguered Cutler seemingly bowed out early in the third quarter with a knee injury in favor of then backup Caleb Hanie. Despite an MCL tear being reported the day after the game, people lined up to read the quarterback his last rights during and after the contest. Fellow players criticized him via social media and fans were up in arms over the supposed leader of the team tapping out in the most important game of his career.
There is a new era starting with the Bears this season as Marc Trestman was hired to take the much maligned quarterback under his wing. The former CFL quarterback whisperer with the Montreal Allouettes is expected to breathe life into a stagnant offense as well as revitalize a quarterback facing a make or break season.
The QB didn’t waste any time creating a stir with the new regime when he came out recently and said that learning a new offense is a “three-year process”. Unfortunately for him, the NFL is a league of now or never so those three years will have to be condensed into the next three months if he has any hopes of sticking around in Chicago.
Cutler’s main competition coming into training camp is obviously himself. If the nonchalant attitude can take a hike and a motivated leader shows up in late July, the Bears have to be confident about their future. If the typical un-enthused, disinterested man under center returns, however, Cutler’s contract year will be his last in the Windy City.
Optimism is through the roof in one of the league’s largest markets heading into the 2013 season. The argument could be made that the cupboard has been bare for much of Cutler’s time in Chicago, but this season that isn’t the case. Investments were made to fortify a once shoddy offensive line with the addition of Jermon Bushrod and give Cutler a check down target when things down field don’t open up in tight end Martellus Bennett.
Quite frankly, this is it. Cutler is in the quintessential put up or shut up season, and the Bears need to see something to convince them that their once hyped franchise quarterback is worth hanging onto. We saw the motivation of a contract year lead Joe Flacco to big things with the Baltimore Ravens last season. The Bears have to hope a similar situation plays itself out for them in 2013.