Jay Cutler has always had that “He’s got the tools but…” tag on him. He has a rocket arm. He is fearless. He can run out of the pocket. He just hasn’t been able to put it all together on a championship run. He came close once but…well, you know how that went.
Cutler is unfairly thought of as a quarterback who just flings it and will throw too many interceptions. Yes, in his first season as a Bear Cutler threw 26 interceptions. He did, however, throw more touchdowns (27).
That ugly interceptions number was Cutler’s only real bad season throwing the ball. He’s never had a season where he threw more interceptions than touchdowns.
Considering the fact that he has played behind some terrible offensive lines and sub par receivers with the Bears, Cutler’s numbers are not bad. He has completed over 60% of his passes and has almost 15,000 yards passing with 101 touchdowns thrown.
Cutler has been given the keys to the kingdom now. In coach Marc Trestman, Cutler has someone who believes in him and has the capability to find the right way to use all his abilities.
In his first season under Trestman, Cutler was on his way to having a career year before he suffered first a groin then an ankle injury. He missed five full games and half of another, yet he completed 63% of his passes, threw 19 touchdowns and averaged 238.3 yards per game.
Trestman has said that even though the offense ranked second in points scored, there were a lot of points left on the table. A healthy Cutler feeling more comfortable in this offense can be a scary thought for opponents.
Gone are the days of a shoddy Bears offensive line. Last season, general manager Phil Emery overhauled the line. He picked up Jermon Bushrod to protect Cutler’s blindside, and Matt Slauson to play left guard. He then drafted Kyle Long to play right tackle and Jordan Mills to play right tackle. Long became a Pro Bowler, and together with Roberto Garza (the only returning lineman from the previous season), played all 16 games of the season. The line went from constantly being on the bottom in sacks allowed to fourth last season.
This offseason, Cutler has been able to work out with his receivers. Last year, Brandon Marshall was recovering from hip surgery so he could not get together with his buddy. This year, he went down to Florida and has worked with Marshall and Jeffery, as well as Marquess Wilson, who is expected to be the slot receiver in the offense this season.
After the end of last season, the Bears gave Cutler a 7-year, $126.7 million, putting their faith in him.
Another one who has faith in Cutler is newcomer Jared Allen. Cutler was one of the reasons he came to Chicago. “Chicago was always in my top-5 short list because they have a quarterback. They have an offense.”
After remaking the defense, the time is now for Cutler. He has all the tools now to shut his critics up. He has matured as a player and a leader. He will be looking to reward Emery, Trestman, and all of Bears Nation for their faith in him.