The Chicago Bears made many moves this off-season to improve their team, but when it comes to winning in 2014, it always comes back to Jay Cutler. Is the veteran starter poised for his best season yet?
Marc Trestman sees physical development in Cutler
One of the more refreshing things going around Halas Hall the past couple years for Bears fans and media is the open honesty coming from both the top. None exemplify that more than head coach Marc Trestman. When asked what were the most essential requirements for improving the offense in Year 2 of his system, Trestman did not beat around the bush. He stated quite plainly that the health of quarterback Jay Cutler was paramount. Since 2010, Cutler has missed at least one game every season and more often than not it has hurt Chicago both on the scoreboard and in the standings. Last year was another example as he missed five games with a combination of groin and ankle injuries. This is something Cutler himself has also understood and set about using this off-season to improve his durability. Trestman said in an interview that Jay is “bigger, he’s stronger than a year ago, and he has really focused on staying physically well for the entire season.” Some of the credit can go to teammate and friend Brandon Marshall, who hosted Cutler and a number of other Chicago Bears personnel at his workout facility in Florida. After seeing the impact it had on Alshon Jeffery, such a commitment to physical improvement is almost certain to help Jay as well.
Bears hope Jordan Palmer and backup race is a preseason sideshow
Ultimately, the goal is obvious. Keeping Jay Cutler upright and on the field will increase the chances of winning. The priority for the Bears is to ensure that the pending battle between Jordan Palmer, David Fales and Jimmy Clausen for the backup job vacated by Josh McCown is nothing more than a mildly entertaining preseason storyline. What McCown accomplished last season was not the norm. It’s rare for backup quarterbacks to have a winning record when the starter is out for any length of time. Marc Trestman knows this, which is why his priority was and remains keeping Cutler healthy. Aside from being the most talented quarterback by far on the roster, he is now firmly entrenched as a team leader. Having him in the huddle for 16 games will create rhythm, stability and above all production. Those are all keys to winning football games in the NFL.