Can Jay Cutler Be a Pro Bowl Quarerback for Chicago Bears in 2013?
Based off what we've seen from the Bears so far this offseason, he very well may be.
Back when Cutler was the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos, he enjoyed quite a bit of success, throwing for 9,024 yards, 54 touchdowns and 37 interceptions with a passer rating of 87.1. He earned a spot in the Pro Bowl in 2008 after completing 62.3 percent of his passes for 4,526 yards and 25 touchdowns with 18 picks.
During his time with the Bears, however, he's not enjoyed that level of success.
The passer rating for Cutler has dropped since his time in Denver. In his first three seasons, he had a rating of 87.1, but while with the Bears, his rating has gone to 81.9.
Those numbers aren't huge, but the other numbers are a bit more concerning.
First off, the sack numbers have hurt him quite a bit, literally. As you can see from the graph, Cutler has taken quite a beating since heading to Chicago.
The 2010 season was particularly bad, when he was sacked 52 times. He was sacked 23 times in 2011, but it could have been much worse, since he played in only 10 games.
The injuries while in Chicago have been an issue. The offensive line has been unable to keep Cutler upright, and he's missed eight games over the past three seasons while playing through multiple bumps and bruises.
The protection issues have been the thing that's kept Cutler from reaching the top tier of quarterback hierarchy, but this season could be different.
The Bears understood that the offensive line needed help. They drafted Kyle Long, the offensive guard out of Oregon, in the first round, and Jordan Mills, the offensive tackle out of Louisiana Tech, in the fifth.
The Long pick may have been a reach, but he filled a huge need for the team. Mills is only a fifth-rounder, but with how badly that this team needs depth on the line, it was a smart pickup.
Oh, and then there was the signing of Jermon Bushrod, giving the Bears another offensive tackle to start along with J'Marcus Webb.
As far as offensive weapons go, they could be better, but they aren't as bad as perceived.
Brandon Marshall is arguably one of the best receivers in the NFL, but at the same time, it felt like he was essentially the only target for Cutler last year. He had 118 catches last season, with Earl Bennett and Alshon Jeffery in second and third as receivers with 29 and 24 receptions, respectively.
The good news for Cutler on this end is that Marshall will still be there, and Jeffery has the potential to be a breakout player in 2013. He had only 24 receptions for 367 yards, but injuries kept him sidelined for six games.
An entire season healthy could make Jeffery another reliable option for Cutler. He has nice size at 6'3'' and enough upside to become a big name at the receiver position down the road.
All in all, the pieces are in place for Cutler to have a big year. If he can stay healthy without getting knocked around as often as he did the past few seasons, he has the opportunity to be a Pro Bowl quarterback this season.
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