And while I share much of the elation of many Bear fans about his arrival, I have to be the realist and point out what many of us don’t want to hear. Major success in the Cutler era may take time.
There are undeniable benefits that will have an instantaneous impact. The primary one is that he simply is a better quarterback than Kyle Orton. I will go on record and admit to being an Orton supporter but I was nowhere near 100 percent sold that he was a long-term solution at quarterback. Cutler is without question the real deal.
With a better quarterback comes accelerated play from your better players. Greg Olsen is on the brink of exploding, and his Tight End counterpart Desmond Clark has a few serviceable years left. This move will only improve their already solid play.
I will admit that I think the Bears have much too high beliefs in Devin Hester’s ability as a No. 1 wideout. However, teaming him with a rocket armed QB like Cutler will much better serve his burner abilities than the dink-and-dunk approach of Orton.
Lastly, he’s got a great running back in Matt Forte who not only takes more pressure off of him than any of the back by committee players he had in Denver, but is also dynamic enough to make a huge impact in the passing game.
Sadly after that, the Bears offense is pretty much a crap shoot. Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith have both expressed their belief that Earl Bennett will establish himself as the teams No. 2 wideout immediately.
I think it’s safe to say the number of people who believe that to be true is equal to the number of receptions Bennett accumulated in his rookie season.
After that, it gets even worse.
Cutler throws much too hard to assume Rashied Davis could handle any of his passes, Brandon Rideau is a practice squad player and D.J. Hackett (though he’s not officially signed yet, it will happen, mark my words) isn’t durable enough to handle the violence of an intramural flag league season, let alone the NFL.
Another knock some people have on Cutler is his unimpressive 17-20 record as a starter. This is not a concern for me as he was playing on a team with a defense that featured a future hall of fame corner and 10 other guys whose abilities peaked in high school.
I know the Bears' defense isn’t great, but they could play with six guys and be an upgrade from Denver.
Cutler is an undeniably solid quarterback and I do applaud Jerry Angelo for doing what everyone said he would be too cowardly to do and actually go full throttle after a hot commodity player.
But while I think he will find a groove, he is no doubt playing with a more shallow talent pool than he was with the likes of Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal. This is why I think it’s much too soon to elevate the Bears as anything higher than a postseason possibility.
Even with the steep price of giving up two first round picks, I do think for the sake of the future of this team, Angelo did the right thing here. But to say this shoots the Bears into another stratosphere is no doubt premature.
There are still questions at safety, defensive and offensive line (though they have at least made the need for the o-line less immediate).
Most notably, there is a big issue at receiver. If you have a good quarterback in place that takes a lot of pressure off and allows you time to make sure you get the proper pieces around him.
The Bears have the quarterback, but the search for the right pieces is still ongoing. Cutler may no doubt have the talent to take the Bears deep in the playoffs. But for the next year or two, I think we may have to be happy just getting there.