Entering his second season under the current head coach, Marc Trestman, Jay Cutler is expected to build on the improvement the Chicago Bears saw from him last year, expecting from their franchise and often criticized quarterback to deliver more than what they’ve gotten from him so far.
A lot of times, ability isn’t the issue with Cutler but his health. He missed six games in 2011 and five last season. In both cases, a healthier dose and in other words simply playing more might have meant making the playoffs, with the Bears missing out on the postseason for three consecutive years despite going 8-8, 10-6 and 8-8 in 2011-2013, with Lovie Smith leaving before the 2012 season and Trestman taking over.
Cutler showed some signs of changing last season. He had a better offensive line which was good start, but he also managed to improve his accuracy to 63.1%, the best he’s had since 2007 when he was still playing for the Denver Broncos. However, his interception ratio, 3.4%, is still very similar to his previous efforts. He was sacked a lot less, the ratio dropping to only 5.1%, the lowest he has had since his 2008 Pro Bowl season with the Broncos.
So is it just the usual summer optimism that’s guiding the Bears to have big expectations of Cutler? Quarterback coach Matt Cavanaugh thinks that Cutler has grown and improved under Trestman, a trends that is obvious in the offseason and will be evident during the 2014 NFL season, as the Bears try to make the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
I’ve seen incredible progress.When we got in here last year and evaluated him we had a real good conversation with him about certain things that every quarterback should do. We said, ‘Jay it might not be natural, but we want you to try it.’ And he did. To his credit, he’s taken every suggestion we’ve given and he’s embraced it. From how he holds the ball to how he lines up in the ‘gun pre-snap to how he drops back, to his throwing base to his follow-through. Every little fundamental we’ve talked to him about, he’s embraced, and it’s like night and day. seen incredible progress.
On January 2014 the Bears showed their faith in Cutler by signing him to a seven year contract.