Chicago Bears: This Should Be The Year For Jay Cutler

Jan 3, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) during the game against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 3, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) during the game against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports /

There is no dodging the subject any longer. For quarterback Jay Cutler, this can and by rights should be his best year in a Chicago Bears uniform.

Perhaps a better way to put it is it has to be his best year. Time is no longer on his side. At age 33 Cutler is advancing into the down slope of his career and the window of playing at his peak talent is closing. If he’s going to show his doubters they were wrong, it must be soon. GM Ryan Pace said from the start of the 2016 off-season that the Bears’ goal was to build around the veteran quarterback. Looking back, there is no doubt that he held up his end of the bargain.

This offense, on paper, seems like a match for the best Cutler has ever had during his time in Chicago with even greater upside. Here is a rundown of the potential advantages he’ll have.


  • Alshon Jeffery
  • Kevin White
  • Eddie Royal
  • Zach Miller
  • Jeremy Langford

For the first time Cutler will have a chance to play with the arsenal Ryan Pace envisioned for him since last year. Alshon Jeffery, Kevin White, Eddie Royal and Zach Miller have all received clean bills of health ahead the opener. This gives the passing attack more explosion than its had maybe at any other time in Jay’s tenure with the Bears. That doesn’t even include Jeremy Langford, who showed his versatile prowess as rookie running back in 2015 and looked improved in preseason. His speed out of the backfield offers yet another dimension to exploit.


  • LT – Charles Leno 
  • LG – Josh Sitton
  • C – Cody Whitehair
  • RG – Kyle Long
  • RT – Bobby Massie

The loss of Hroniss Grasu was a tough pill to swallow for this front. Word out of camp was he’d improved by leaps and bounds before tearing his ACL. They tried to find an answer with the pieces they had but the preseason showed something was clearly lacking. So what do they do? They poached a three-time Pro Bowler in Josh Sitton. His insertion at left guard completely flips the script. Suddenly this front has a great mix of youth and experience, not to mention athleticism and power. Depending on the progression of Whitehair, it could become the strength of the offense.

Play Caller:

A fact often harped on was that Jay Cutler had a tendency to get offensive coordinators fired. This assuming the ones who got axed were anything great. Notice that Ron Turner, Mike Martz, Mike Tice, and Aaron Kromer haven’t occupied that job since? Maybe it was simply a fact that Cutler didn’t trust them. After all he did tend to take a beating during most of those days.

Dowell Loggains on the other hand has known Cutler for years. They have an understanding of each other that is evident in how they communicate. It’s like watching the same person in different bodies. Loggains has done a good job of improving Jay’s fundamentals, lowering his mistake-prone tendencies and improving his efficiency. He knows his first job is keeping Jay upright, and that in itself is key.

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In 2015 the Chicago Bears defense ranked 18th in three-and-outs forced, 28th in turnovers forced and 16th in opposing punts forced per game. Those are often the recipe for a team not being productive on offense, especially one trying to learn a new scheme. The best way to help Cutler get better is by giving him more chances with the football. That means getting it back from the opponent, something the defense claims is their mission this season.

It’s a group that is faster, more athletic and more aggressive than a year ago. Their new front seven is the talk of the league right now. Even without Pernell McPhee it showed flashes of being able to create havoc along the line of scrimmage. Who’s to know what will happen when Vic Fangio actually turns them loose. Nothing but good things for Cutler if they live up to the billing.

There is no doubt that Jay has the confidence of his teammates and coaches, but how much will that change if he can’t succeed with this setup? Excuses are all but exhausted at this point. It has to be (it should be) this year.