Will Jay Cutler have enough weapons this year?
That is the question Bears fans ask each year since his arrival in 2009. There has never been a question on Cutler's talent, but it's always been will he mature and take that next step? While Cutler's mechanics have been criticized, rightful so, the talent around him hasn't been great. When GM Phil Emery was hired he started to immediately change that. Last year he got a long term deal done with Matt Forte, traded for Brandon Marshall, traded up in the draft for Alshon Jeffery. This year he hired a offensive minded head coach in Marc Trestman. He signed Jermon Bushrod, Matt Slauson, and Martellus Bennett in free agency. He also used his first round pick to draft guard Kyle Long (20th overall). Slowly, Emery is trying to give his quarterback, Jay Cutler, every reason to succeed. So could this be the year the offense steps up and Cutler takes that next step? I would say yes and here's why:
Cutler is back in a West Coast style offense. Trestman's style of offense should play to Jay's strengths. Jay should have the ability to audible at the line, use his legs by moving the pocket, and will have playmakers to his left and right. Also, I think Cutler will take a step in his maturity on the field. Jay knows he is the final year of deal. He knows results will get him paid. While all athletes want to be paid top dollar, Cutler wants to win a Super Bowl as well. Jay is 30 years old and has been in the league since 2006. He's right at the part of his career where he should be attaining his maximum potential. Also, Jay had his first son Camden in 2012 and got married this past June. I believe these new changes in his personal life will help his maturity on the football field. Also, despite not getting a extension, I think Cutler is Emery and Trestman's guy. They are building this team around Cutler and trying to keep him upright.
One of GM Phil Emery's priorities was to fix a porous offensive line. He knew it was a problem and brought in new blood to fix it. In free agency, he signed veterans Jermon Bushrod to play left tackle and Matt Slauson to play left guard. He also changed up the right side of the line with drafting Kyle Long and switching J'Marcus Webb to right side. Roberto Garza will be the only returning starter to the same position from last season. If this line can form a consistent level of cohesiveness and stay healthy, they should be a vast improvement.
Emery also has Cutler covered in the skilled players area in 2013. Matt Forte and Michael Bush return in the backfield. Forte, in this offense, could be poised for a big year. Expect to see him used in all types of fashions. Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, and Earl Bennett are all returning in the receivers area. Last year, Bennett and Jeffery had trouble staying healthy. Cutler too often tried to force the ball to Marshall. A healthy trio should give Cutler options to his left, right, and in the slot. Also, Emery signed tight end Martellus Bennet to give Cutler a real tight end. Martellus is a skilled playmaker who can catch and block. Also, a player to keep a eye on is receiver Joe Anderson. Anderson could be a speed threat used in certain situations to stretch the field.
Emery has brought in the talent and the coaching. Now, it's time for Jay Cutler to maximize his abilities and take that next step. This new offense is expected to fast paced and high scoring. Cutler should be able to use the upgrades on offense to put points on the board. 2013 is a important year for Cutler and I think we finally will see him put everything together.
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