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A Closer Look at Jay Cutler's Debut

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A Closer Look at Jay Cutler's Debut
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

When Jay Cutler came to Chicago, the entire city regarded him as their savior. They seemed blind to his previous attitude problems because they finally had a quarterback worth mentioning.

People can talk about the lack of a receiving corps, or the defense, or whatever they want. The receivers are better than perceived, and the defensive line showed they are capable of getting pressure on a quarterback. I'm going to take a closer look at Jay Cutler's individual performance.

The stat line from Sunday night against the Packers reads like this: 17-36 for 277 yards, 1 TD and 4 INT. That's good for a passer rating of 43.2.

Needless to say, his performance wasn't very good.

To not even complete 50% of your passes is a Rex Grossman-like occurrence.

One could attribute that to the receivers. Well guess what? As I mentioned earlier, I think the Bears' receivers are better than they are perceived to be. Devin Hester caught all 4 passes thrown his way, and he actually didn't look out of place. Earl Bennett continued to be Cutler's go-to receiver, and Johnny Knox proved he can be another deep threat.

So why was Cutler so bad?

Well, one reason was the running game. The Bears couldn't get ANYTHING consistent going on the ground all night long, especially on first down. Chicago put themselves in 2nd and 8 or longer 14 times during the course of the game. Part of that was the running game's inability to do anything, and some of that was incomplete passes.

Matt Forte rushed for just 55 yards and the Bears managed just 86 on the ground altogether. One could blame the running backs, but in reality, I think the blame should fall on the offensive line. They couldn't open any holes, and the Packers new 3-4 defense had them confused all night.

The line's confusion and the Bears' lack of a running game really hurt the passing game. The Packers only managed a couple of sacks and a couple more hits on Cutler, but there's no doubt in my mind that the pressure forced Cutler to do things he didn't want to do. He was forced to throw off of his back foot, and move out of the pocket before he wanted to. When you're in 2nd or 3rd and long, the routes and reads take a little bit longer to develop. So when he has to scramble, the reads get thrown off and it's up to Cutler to make something happen.

The Bears face another 3-4 defense this week when the take on the Steelers. One factor they will have going for them of course is the lack of Troy Polamalu.

It's going to be a tough task, and I think its more feasible than Bears fans want to admit that their beloved team will start 0-2.

 

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