If you’re like me, this time of the year is really when the blood begins to boil. The competitive beast that had to be tamed for the doldrums of summer begins to rise and the fire within starts to burn bright.
Why this time of the year?
Well unless you didn’t bother to read the article forecasting the article, then it’s obvious. NFL training camp opens up this week for most NFL teams and Daaaaa Bears get to end their hibernation. With a brand new coaching staff under the Phil Emery regime, the 2013-2014 NFL season’s expectations are set as high as they always are as a brand new sun rises under Emery/Trestman.
In the spirit of the 2013 NFL season kicking off, each week we are going to preview all of the key topics and forecast the season for the Chicago Bears.
Unless you have lived under a rock all offseason, this season will revolve around Jay Cutler and because of that he is the focal point of today’s article.
Jay Cutler will be under the tightest microscope as he ever has been this year…
And he’s going to F*@#ing dominate 2013! Well at least when you compare his performance to the last four years as the Bears offensive leader.
Jay has been under much scrutiny for his entire meal as the Bears QB for reasons such as lack of leadership, making questionable decisions, poor body language, and for any other reason that the public can find to poke at him. Calling a spade a spade, Jay will never have the public appeal as Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees have because he doesn’t try to be Mr. All American like them. Jay has always carried himself as a gunslining cowboy that just doesn’t give a F$@# what you think of him (seriously, look right).
Although his public appeal will never be at the top of the league, one thing is true… winning fixes all. While it’s uncertain on whether the Bears are structured to be a Super Bowl contender, the pieces are all in place for him to dominate this year.
Why? Let’s take a quick look:
1) Jay has had his best offseason yet as the Bears leader – Old Jay was perceived to be non-existent with truly getting to know his teammates. Old Jay didn’t seem to care about being in great shape. Old Jay didn’t care about his public appeal to the media or to his fans.
But this offseason has been different. Just ask Phil Emery when he said “I see a guy that was fully dialed in; no one worked harder during the strength and conditioning aspect of our offseason. So I see a guy that’s very committed to improving his individual skills and to interact with the (younger) players on the team and to provide leadership and help us attain our goals”. It has been uncharacteristic to hear about Jay being fully engaged with his team, the fans and the media. It has also been a new story to my ears to hear about him being the leader in offseason conditioning and getting in shape.
Not only does this tell me that he’s taking this season more seriously than in years past but that he is…
2. Finally excited about playing football at an elite level with the Bears – How can one draw this conclusion? It’s easy if you peel away the layers.
Jay is going to be operating his fourth different offense in the last five years. An overlooked variable in a quarterback’s success is having consistency in the system you are running and the coordinator/QB coach you work with. Guys like Rodgers, Brady, Manning & Brees have all operated with only a small handful of new offenses to learn and coaches to get used to. Naturally the learning curve to get over the hump with both factors is one that takes more learning and time before it becomes natural.
The good news is that Jay appears to be the most excited about this relationship. One of the biggest decisions to bring in Trestman was because of his history in developing quarterbacks and the reputation he has in the league with quarterbacks.
When asked about Trestman, Jay had this to say about him, “he’s very smart. He knows offense, defense. He knows the direction he wants to go in. I think with him being in the NFL for so long and being out of the NFL for the past five years, when he got his chance and he definitely wanted to do it his way and head in the direction he thought was right”. I think it’s very possible to say that the two of them will live together and die together. So far it appears that Trestman’s magic has worked with getting Jay excited.
The other contributing factor to Jay’s success is that for his last four years he’s never really had it his way. Constant complaints in personnel lead to an easy scapegoat in his lack of superior performance. Well this year there is no excuse as the personnel around Cutler has never been stronger. He finally has his full receiving core lead by Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Marshall’s second best friend (besides Cutty), in the Black Unicorn, Martellus Bennett.
Last year they had some receiving… but no offensive line. Now this year they added veterans Jermond Bushrod & Matt Slauson while using their first round draft pick on Kyle Long.
With a west coast system dedicated to efficiency, an offensive line that will allow Jay to make his drops with confidence and a receiving core that can “go up and get everything”, Jay has the perfect support he needs to succeed.
3. Jay’s looking for a contract extension – If you were waiting for this point, here it is and I’ll be short and sweet. History shows us that when premier talent is looking for an extension and that player’s management wants to put their upcoming performance on that decision, it’s usually a safe bet that the player’s performance will only be stronger than in previous years. Don’t believe me? Look at Joe Flacco last year.
I’m not saying the Bears will win the Super Bowl this year. Nor am I suggesting there is tension between the Bears brass and Cutler. I think that both Cutler and the Bears are in agreement that Jay is worth the big bucks and it’s up to Jay to truly show us that he’s capable of being the elite player he’s been pegged to be his entire career.
It should be a fun year for the Jay Cutler fan club…