After the 2008 season, former GM Jerry Angelo made a very bold move and traded the farm to acquire franchise quarterback Jay Cutler. Chicago Bears nation rejoiced as they finally had their best quarterback since Jim McMahon, or so some had thought.
Fast forward to 2013 after one playoff appearance and win in four years, Cutler’s future with the Bears has come into question. The easy resolution to the equation is, produce a year he is capable of, along with a playoff appearance, and he will get paid big bucks to stay in Chicago to finish his highly criticized career.
Much of Cutler’s struggles are not his fault. But as coach Marc Trestman has said, he can improve and help his cause out. With Trestman’s new system coupled with refined mechanics and better decision-making, the league may just see the best Jay Cutler they have ever seen.
With a rebuilt offensive line, better receivers and a West Coast system, Cutler will have all the resources available to not only revive his career, but get a big payday in the process. With all of that being said, lets take a closer look into the “odds” of Cutler producing a career year.
With an offensive mind like Trestman’s at head coach, a revamped line and an underrated receiving core with great potential, it is hard to see Cutler not having a better year. Trestman has been known as a “quarterback whisperer” and the results of his past products are undeniable. Trestman has been working with Cutler to refine his mechanics. So far, so good. Cutler has also been regarded as having a “scary-smart football mind” and a high football IQ. He has yet another favorable attribute on his side. Cutler has good athleticism with a cannon of an arm, with a better offensive system and more time in the pocket. The results could be ground breaking.
It is no secret that Cutler is one of the most disliked players in sports, to put it nicely. Cutler’s attitude, leadership and commitment have all been question many times. Even at 30 years old, his talent is undeniable, but his decision-making has been questionable at best for the majority of his career in Chicago. Whether it was throwing into triple coverage, holding the ball too long, or going head on with a hard-hitting safety for the extra yard, the criticism is valid and understandable.
What he must do:
Cutler must come out of the gate with a chip on his shoulder and make better decisions. He has a cannon for an arm, which sometimes gets to his head and worsens his mechanics. He needs to become a true leader on the field, regardless of winning or losing; he must fight through adversity and put this team on his back. Ultimately, Cutler needs to understand this team was shaped for his success and now it is his turn to produce and be the quarterback that cost the franchise two first-round picks and a second rounder.
Forecast for 2013:
With a new head coach, scheme, offensive line, more weapons and the brunt of the team’s focus shifting to offense, it is hard to imagine Cutler not putting up good numbers. Numbers don’t tell the whole story and won’t guarantee him a new contract. Ultimately, a good year and a playoff appearance is absolutely needed if Cutler wants to end his career in Chicago. Chances are with better protection and a better scheme, Cutler is bound to improve with little effort. His hard work has been publicized this offseason and will truly show, especially when adversity hits with a tough start to the schedule.
Project stat line: 4,093 Yards, 34 TD’s, 15 INT’s, QB Rating 92.7, 300 Rushing Yards, two Rushing TD’s
This is Cutler’s contract year and everyone around the league knows the task is simple: produce good numbers and get the Bears back to the playoffs and to put the cherry on top, bring Chicago a ring.