After signing a new seven-year, $126 million contract extension, Jay Cutler has more stability in his professional life than he has ever experienced before. The Chicago Bears QB now has a long-term contract, a Pro Bowl RB, two Pro Bowl receivers, and arguably one of the best offensive lines in the game to protect him. When you combine all of this with the offensive mind of Bears head coach Marc Trestman, it seems that the stars are aligning for Cutler to have his best season yet in the NFL.
Although the Bears failed to make the postseason in 2013, the team did set new franchise marks on offense for total offensive yards (6,109), passing yards (4,281), completion percentage (64.4), passing touchdowns (32) and first downs (344). While backup QB Josh McCown was able to step in and help out considerably on offense, Cutler was the one under center for 11 of the team’s 16 games, and finished the season with a career best 89.2 passer rating.
Now entering the second season under Trestman’s tutelage, the offense is poised to top these high marks once again. With offensive lineman Kyle Long and Jordan Mills entering their second season, there should be even more continuity along the line to keep Cutler upright. Last season the team pulled off the rare feat of starting two rookies on the same side of the line. With both players proving they can handle themselves last season, the offensive line should see a more balanced attack from opponents as teams will stop “testing” the young guys this season.
Perhaps the best asset Cutler has this season is WR Alshon Jeffery. Now even the casual fan can tell you that Brandon Marshall is Cutler’s favorite target, and you can bet that opposing defenses know this also, which is fine if Cutler can spread the wealth and look Jeffery’s way more in 2014. Jeffery did lead the Bears in receiving yards last season and made it to the Pro Bowl as a replacement, though he is still considered the Bears’ No. 2 receiver behind Marshall. With both Jeffery and Marshall on the field, defensive coaches need to decide who to line their best cover guy up against, which should usually lead to one of the Bears’ receivers getting a favorable match-up.
If Cutler can avoid getting bit by the injury bug this season, there should be no reason he can’t turn in a Pro Bowl season while leading this Bears team deep into the playoffs.
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