To categorize past Chicago Bears quarterbacks as mediocre would be a severe understatement. Since Jim McMahon walked off into the sunset, establishing the quarterback position has proven difficult for Chicago.
Watching Jay Cutler in favor of Kyle "Neckbeard" Orton this upcoming season has put my nerves at ease. Acquiring Jay Cutler from Denver in a trade this offseason is Chicago's first step in transitioning away from mediocrity
After the planets aligned, the Bears were able to trade for Pro-Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler. In exchange, Chicago had to give up a couple of draft picks and a homeless guy who occasionally stepped in to hand the ball off to Matt Forte.
Jay Cutler will be the first true QB the Bears have had on their roster since Jim McMahon. I will give Bear fans a spoiler alert, I am going to list some former Bear quarterbacks, if you wish to look away from the screen, please do so now.
Rick Mirer. Jim Kramer. Steve Stenstrom. Moses Moreno. Shane Mathews. Cade McNown. Chris Chandler. Henry Burris. Kordell Stewart. Rex Grossman. Johnathon Quinn. Craig Krenzel. Chad Hutchinson. Brian Griese. Kyle Orton. Oh dear lord... Rex Grossman again.
A strong negative stigma has been attached to the quarterback position in Chicago for many years. Many less than stellar performances, bobbled snaps, errant passes, and interceptions have long frustrated Bear fans. After a brief flash of success in 1995 which included a trip to the Pro Bowl, Eric Kramer's talent seemed to fizzle out.
Fast forward to September 2006, Rex Grossman is named the NFC Offensive Player of the Month. For the first time in many years, we had some hope. Rex Grossman seemed to be coming into his own, however, down the stretch his play would become highly questionable.
The Bears defense led them to the Super Bowl against the Indianapolis Colts. Rex Grossman decided that he would hand over the game to the Colts as if it were a plate of cookies to a new neighbor.
In his defense, Grossman boasts one very important statistic for Bear fans to remember. He was the first quarterback for Chicago to start all 16 games. The last quarterback to do that was Eric Kramer in 1995.
Inconsistency seemed to be Rex's middle name. Actually, upon further research it is Daniel. Thank Google for that seemingly unimportant piece of information.
I am not going to lie, I became a fan of Kyle "Neckbeard" Orton this past season. He showed me more than any recent Chicago quarterback has.
For once we had a quarterback competent enough to actually make reads and throw the intermediate pass. He put up good stats that included nearly 3,000 yards passing, 58% completion percentage, 18 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions.
Orton led them to a 9-7 record and just missed out on the playoffs. He was starting to show glimpses of becoming a leader but was a couple of steps away still. I was content with Orton.
I was only content because I knew Jerry Angelo and the front office wouldn't bring anybody good in. After signings in the past that included Chad Hutchinson, Jonathan Quinn, and Brian Griese, I had to be a Neckbeard fan.
It was very uncharacteristic of the Bears to make a big move in the offseason. Acquiring Jay Cutler, makes me smile ear to ear to this very day. He threw for 4,500+ yards and 25 touchdowns, and he is going to be playing for my Bears?
I know he had a rough finish to last year with Denver down the stretch. However, he had no defense, and Denver had to pull guys off the street to carry the ball. I am not sure what list would be longer, the Broncos' injured reserve list, or the swine flu scares at your local hospital.
Signing offensive linemen Orlando Pace, Kevin Schaffer, and Frank Omiyale definitely makes Cutler's signing that much more sweet. Improving our offense line has been a very important task for us this offseason. First round pick last year, Chris Williams from Vanderbilt, should be healthy and ready to take the field.
Another area for improvement that wasn't properly addressed was wide receiver. Chicago's WR corps includes Devin Hester, Rashied Davis, Jauqin Iglesias, and Earl Bennett. Cutler doesn't have a plethora of options to throw to.
Tight ends Desmond Clark and Greg Olson will more then likely be his security blanket. Forte will be reliable coming out of the backfield since he led the team in receptions last season with 63. He can credit captain check down, aka Kyle Orton for those catches.
I am just one of many Chicago fans expecting Jay Cutler to be the next Dan Marino. Maybe our expectations are a little high. Maybe he will just be another name on the long list of atrocious Bear quarterbacks.
Cutler isn't going to have Brandon Marshall in Denver anymore, so he'll have to make the best of his options. In workouts, the Bears wide receivers noticed how hard he throws the ball and have needed some time getting used to just how much velocity he throws with. Once they get the timing and chemistry going, this could be the start of something very nice in the windy city.
I am very optimistic about this upcoming season. Jay Cutsizzle will be coming to a highlight reel near you!
For any Denver fans that made it past the injured reserve joke, enjoy Kyle Orton in Denver. Make sure to keep a half-full bottle of Jack Daniels in the locker room at all times or things may get ugly!
Rush - VSN Writer