Our Chicago Bears depth chart projection series continues with a look at the most important position in the NFL and perhaps all of sports, the quarterback.
Starting QB: Jay Cutler
For the last two off-seasons, Phil Emery has catered to Jay Cutler’s needs. He brought in Brandon Marshall; one of the more talented WRs in the league, who developed a great rapport with Cutler during their few years together in Denver. And, Emery used a fifth-round pick to move up in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft to get South Carolina’s prolific WR Alshon Jeffery.
Additionally, the Bears have been TE starved for the past few seasons, but Emery has seemingly fixed that this year, providing Cutler with a big, athletic TE in Martellus Bennett, who can threaten the middle of the field. Last but certainly not least, Emery finally made a big effort to revamping the offensive line with the additions of two-time Pro Bowl LT Jermon Bushrod and former Jets’ starting LG Matt Slausen, and by using his first-round draft pick on, arguably, the second most athletic OG prospect available, selecting Kyle Long.
Emery has done a great job of setting Cutler up, and the QB is now fresh out of excuses with an offensive mind and QB guru as head coach, a revamped OL, a top-three WR, a top-10 RB, and a returning top-five defense. The supporting cast at Cutler’s disposal is more than enough for him to have a successful 2013.
So far this off-season, Marc Trestman has worked with Cutler on his mechanics and on speeding up his release. Those two aspects of Cutler’s game, along with his decision-making, have kept him back from being one of the top-tier QBs in the league. Fans can only hope that HC Trestman, QB coach Matt Cavanaugh, and OC Aaron Kromer are the set of offensive minds that finally get him to the next level.
In a contract year, all eyes will be on Cutler. Plain and simple: if he succeeds in 2013, he gets the big contract, similar to what Tony Romo and Joe Flacco got this off-season. If Cutler fails, however, he won’t be brought back, and the Bears will be searching for a new franchise QB in 2014.
Backup QB: Josh McCown
The Bears brought back veteran Josh McCown and second-year man Matt Blanchard to compete for the backup QB spot. I only see the Bears keeping two active QBs on the roster this year like last, and as much as I want to go with the younger player with more potential, I think Blanchard could use another year on the practice squad before he’s ready to be an NFL back-up.
While McCown is nothing special talent-wise, he’s a crafty veteran who has the capability to come in and win a game or two if Cutler has to miss a couple. McCown is regarded as a sharp football mind, and he should be valuable as another set of eyes on the sideline.
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