I remember the day the Chicago Bears traded for Jay Cutler like it was yesterday. My father had just gotten done with a chemotherapy appointment, when I heard him in another room all of the sudden screaming bloody murder. Due to his then-recent health issues, I had thought something happened to him. Low and behold, he was just fine.
The Bears had finally gotten their quarterback. He was a tad bit overjoyed with the move. I then began to celebrate with him, instantly thinking like any die-hard fan would think — Super Bowl.
Boy, was I wrong.
I have found myself at times loathing Cutler and dying for just about anyone else under center than him. Other moments, I have seen him as a top-10 quarterback after some brilliant performances. You can only imagine what these types of extremes do to a fan.
Personally, I like Cutler. I think he truthfully wants to win and cares about winning. Heck, I would be a little distraught on the sideline every once and a while if I had to put up with such a horrendous offensive line for so long, not to mention a new offensive coordinator what felt like every month.
Ron Turner, Mike Martz and Mike Tice have all been terrible candidates for the offensive coordinator position in Chicago and none of them have been able to take Cutler where his potential should lead him. This season, Chicago has a new coach who happens to specialize in quarterback development — Marc Trestman.
Under Trestman’s coaching and play-calling, Cutler ideally should develop into a much better overall quarterback. Hopefully, the one thing he improves the most is decision making. He can make all the throws in the world — you’ve heard this before countless ties. He’s smart, but makes bad decisions at times which have proved costly.
The good news is, the Bears have improved the team in excellent fashion this offseason. They have given Cutler an offensive line that will be a whole lot better than he has been used to. Bringing in Pro Bowl tackle Jermon Bushrod and guard Matt Slauson — who didn’t give up a sack all last season — will surely help. On top of those guys, the team drafted versatile lineman Kyle Long out of Oregon.
With a guy like Brandon Marshall and the young talent of Alshon Jeffrey, the Bears have two big and tall targets to help Cutler out — Marshall being one of the top guys in the league. Bringing in Martellus Bennett was a great addition to the offense and again, will help Cutler immensely. If running back Matt Forte is healthy all year, Cutler will have all the weapons he needs to succeed.
But, what happens if he doesn’t? His contract is up after this season and the Bears could let him go, thus directing the team down a new avenue.
If Cutler fails to live up to expectations in 2013, as a fan, I fully expect to see him wearing another uniform. He must have his best year as a Bear in 2013 if he wants to stay. It’s pretty plain and simple. Quite frankly, if he fails to improve this season, he’s a lost cause.
Do I believe this will happen? Of course not. I like Trestman a lot and according to coaches and GM’s around the league he is one of the most prepared and thorough coaches in the game. If he can’t get Cutler to where he’s supposed to be, nobody can. I know that’s quite a bit of faith in a brand new head coach, but as most fans, I don’t have any other choice but to hope.
If my hope is proven ill and Cutler puts up another inconsistent season, don’t expect to see him in blue and orange next year. Phil Emery has no more time for inconsistency. You can count on that.