For the Chicago Bears, 2013 is a big season of change. Between a new coach and his staff as well as the absence of team leader linebacker Brian Urlacher, this is a new team. There are many questions, including how will they fare, but perhaps most importantly is, “Can new Bears coach Marc Trestman turn Cutler into an elite quarterback?
No pressure here but Cutler is playing in a contract year. Can you say no pain, no gain? He is a position to show he’s worth a long-term deal, but can he get it done?
Supposedly an extension has not been discussed since a new sheriff has come to town. When discussions will ensue, sources have said, will likely be at the end of the season.
Questions have swirled about Cutler, including the fact that has neither thrown at the 4,000-yard mark nor has he ever thrown that well. In his four year with the Bears, he’s only completed 59.6 percent of his passes and has an 82:63 touchdown-to-interception ratio according to NFL.com.
Then there’s all he sacks he’s suffered (148 sacks), the numerous hits Cutler has incurred as well as the offensive coordinator roulette. Many would say Cutler’s play has been underwhelming and not up to his potential.
Trestman is known as a quarterback whisperer and has brought out the best in former quarterbacks such as Steve Young who become a Pro Bowler in 1996, and Rich Gannon, who grabbed a 2002 NFL MVP nod. And more recently in the CFL, Trestman took veteran Anthony Calvillo to the next level of play.
He uses a “quick-rhythm” passing game with his quarterbacks that utilizes a number of playmakers. His quarterbacks don’t get beat up in the pocket and they use a passing game to get the job done.
In the offseason, the Bears got Cutler a nice tight end, Martellus Bennett, as a new weapon and again, he’ll rely on wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. Running back Matt Forte’s game should change and Cutler should get better protection thanks to rookie Kyle Long and the currently injured left tackle Jermon Bushrod.
The Bears aren’t known as a quarterback team. The holder of the best single-season is quarterback Erik Kramer. Back in 1995, this Bears player passed for 3,838 yards with 29 scores and 10 picks.
Cutler has a killer arm and finally a coach that is offensive-minded but will it finally bring out the best of him?
Already, there’s been optimism for change.
Recently in training camp, Cutler’s mechanics seem to be improving and one key part has been communication between the player and his coach. Trestman recently said of whether his latest project will be a success via ESPN, “Is there a guarantee? We don’t know. Nobody knows. But we’ve made a commitment to try to get this done. It’s not only myself, it’s Matt Cavanaugh. We’ll work together to try to focus on the things that we think we can change, but to not inhibit him from playing at a loose and free level to where he can do his job.”
Expectations are high for Trestman but maybe the biggest question is how high are Cutler’s?