Maybe it's the lackluster playoff run for the Bulls and Blackhawks, or maybe it's the new general manager and all the toys on offense he has brought in, but it seems like the 2012 Bears season can not come fast enough in Chicago.
Quarterback Jay Cutler seems to be anxious to get the season rolling as well. His promising season ended last year with a thumb injury right in the middle of the team's five-game winning streak and 7-3 record overall. Subsequently, they lost five out of their last six games.
Cutler didn't exactly set the world on fire when he got to Chicago. His first season as a Bear saw him throw a career-high 26 interceptions, coupled with a career-low quarterback rating of 76.8. People complained about the QB's body language and inability to connect with his teammates and fans.
During the NFC Championship Game, Cutler's toughness came into question. After exiting the game with a sprained MCL, fellow NFL players, analysts and fans took to social media in a barrage of character attacks unlike anything we have ever seen.
Paparazzi followed and tracked his high-profile relationship with off-again, on-again fiance Kristin Cavallari. Did he walk with a limp when he was seen weeks after the championship game? Did he really need to be at Dancing With the Stars on a Monday during the season?
Cutler was under the microscope.
His first two seasons with the Bears were difficult for Cutler and the fan base. It was a period filled with highs, lows and what could have been. He seemed to be at an apparent crossroads going into last season trying to figure out which road to go down.
Then it seemed to change.
His play on the field was more controlled and concise. He maintained a positive attitude despite getting hit hard every game due to a below-average offensive line and stubborn offensive coordinator.
What about those questions of toughness?
They seemed to go away after Cutler went 28-38 with 249 yards and a touchdown pass despite being sacked three times and hurried and hit many more times. The team had six false-start penalties in the first half in front of the largest crowd ever, at Ford Field, for a Lions game.
After the Monday Night Football game in Detroit, the team went on a run that catapulted them near the top of the NFC elite, and Cutler was the unquestionable leader and main catalyst during that time.
Fast forward to now.
Cutler is a healthy quarterback who is embracing his role as star quarterback in Chicago. Starting soon, he will co-host The Jay Cutler Show once a week, as fans get to hear more from him than ever before.
His personal life is on more stable grounds as he gets set to welcome his first child to the world and plan a wedding.
Most importantly, Cutler has new tools to work with on the field.
Being reunited with All-Pro Brandon Marshall is a move that could bring the franchise its best quarterback/receiver tandem ever. Michael Bush and Alshon Jeffery provide more stability and options on what looks to be a much-improved offense.
It's now up to Cutler.
For years he has been on the verge of being the superstar quarterback many thought was coming out of Vanderbilt. The next franchise quarterback to lead a team to the Superbowl in Denver. The talented cornerstone who is supposed to put a stop to Chicago's revolving door of quarterbacks.
The reason why the season can not come fast enough in Chicago is because Cutler is ready. The 29 year old's seventh season will be a big one.
No longer will the Bears be just a team predicated on defense.
Is this the season Cutler puts it all together?
You better believe it.
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