Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase is one of the hotter NFL head coaching candidates at the moment, but teams might now try poaching Gloria Balague, the Bears' sports psychologist to whom Jay Cutler credited a lot of his 2015 success.
In an interview with the Chicago Tribune's David Haugh published Tuesday, the quarterback discussed how getting in the right frame of mind off the field helped his performance on it:
We have somebody on staff here. Kristin and I have done couples therapy also. I've never met with a quarterback guy or any (mental coach) in that regard. But just couples therapy and meeting with Gloria (Balague), who's our in-house sports psychologist, you start getting insight on some things. You start seeing things differently. That definitely has helped me deal with stuff.
David Kaplan of CSN Chicago was among many pleasantly surprised to hear how the Bears quarterback has matured:
For most of his career, Cutler at times cut a forlorn figure on the sideline. His seemingly aloof demeanor led some critics to question his passion for the game. In 2013, Forbes listed him among the 10 most hated athletes in the United States.
However, that version of Cutler looks to be gone, per Haugh:
I'm more thankful I've gotten to that point. I'm not surprised. You look at your 2006 self when (I) came into the league and it's a drastic change. But if you're not trying to get better in certain aspects of your life, you're just going to stay the same. I think we can all improve. Things at home, things in your life away from work, if they're not in order, it's definitely going to affect your professional business.
In 2015, Cutler had arguably his best individual season since joining the Bears, throwing for 3,659 yards, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. It was an encouraging development for the team since it is paying the 32-year-old $93.7 million through 2020. The franchise's fortunes will hinge on its starting quarterback.
Given how happy Cutler appears to be and how it positively affected his play, fans should be optimistic this year wasn't an aberration. If he can repeat that production, Chicago might be in the playoff discussion in 2016.