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Jay Cutler: Why Chicago Bears QB is Primed For Breakout Year

Dan CoulterCorrespondent IJuly 21, 2016

Jay Cutler: Why Chicago Bears QB is Primed For Breakout Year

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    For years, Jay Cutler has been on the cusp of elite status in the NFL, and the time for him to elevate to the next level is now. Cutler has always had the raw physical talents to be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, but he has struggled in other areas on the field which held him back.

    Cutler's Week 1 performance against the Falcons showed the league that he is ready to live up to his potential, and when he plays up to his potential, the league should watch out. Cutler threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns in the season opener.

    Bears fans had to be happy with the production from Cutler on the field on Sunday, and they should get ready to see this more often. Here are five reasons why this is the year that Jay Cutler finally breaks out.

Another Year in Mike Martz Offense

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    For those that watched the Bears on a consistent basis last season know that a Mike Martz led offense takes time. At the beginning of last season Cutler and the Bears offense looked very confused and not ready to run Martz's offense, but a year later and Cutler looks like it is finally starting to click.

    Cutler now looks more comfortable in the quick drops in Martz's offense. Numerous times Cutler dropped off short passes that cut the yardage to a first down in half. Last season, Cutler was trying to do much and would waste many downs on trying to go for it all on one play.

    It appears as if Cutler's rapport and timing with his receivers has improved dramatically. Cutler constantly found receivers on third downs wide open as they found the open spots and seams on the field. Not only does Cutler look more comfortable in the offense, but his receivers do as well.

    Johnny Knox looked very comfotable and came up with some big third-down conversions on Sunday by simply running quality routes and getting where he needs to be. Higher level of play by his wide receivers will make the quarterback position dramatically easier for Cutler.

    While it is a very complex offense to run, Cutler appears ready for the task. If Cutler and the Bears continue to play like they did on Sunday and even improve, who knows? Maybe the Bears might turn into "The Greatest Show on Terrible Grass."

Footwork

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    The big story from Jay Cutler this preseason was the incredible progression of his footwork in the pocket. While the Bears offense requires Cutler to do three, five and even seven step drops, his improved footwork has made this much more comfortable for him.

    Jay loves to throw off his back foot, and that's something that probably will never change, but what was truly incredible about Cutler's play was his willingness and ability to step up in the pocket and deliver strong passes to his receivers.

    In the past few seasons Cutler would back peddle and often times throw a weaker or less accurate pass that did not yield positive results.

    It's astonishing how Cutler has improved his footwork this quickly, especially because he did it without the help of his coaches. It is clear that while the lockout was going on, Cutler still had his mind on football and wanted to be as prepared as he could when the first game came.

    Week 1 showed that Cutler's work has definitely paid off and it could be the beginning of greatness.

Leadership

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    Throughout his career Cutler has been called a "hot head" and has been questioned as to whether he is the right guy to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. Cutler is ready to put this thoughts to rest and show why he is a true leader on this Bears team.

    The day after the lockout ends, there was one man that arrived at the training facilities first thing in the morning to start training. That man was Jay Cutler. Cutler couldn't wait to get back on the field, and this is a clear demonstration of the leadership that Cutler brings to the team.

    In years past after offensive possessions Cutler would go sit by himself of just talk with his coaches, but in Week 1 we saw Cutler rallying up his teammates: both offensive and defensive. After Brian Urlacher's spectacular fumble return for a touchdown, Cutler came over to him to pump him up and let him know that he loves the effort.

    Cutler wears the "C" for captain on his chest for a reason, and we'll finally see why he is the man that gets the Bears going.

He Has a Chip on His Shoulder

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    Even though he never publicly showed emotion after the comments by players such as Darnell Dockett and Maurice Jones-Drew after leaving the NFC Championship due to injury last season, there has to be part of Jay Cutler that is dying to prove his critics wrong.

    Cutler left last season with a level-three knee sprain, which drew a lot of commotion from players and media around the league. What many don't talk about is the fact that a level-three sprain, is indeed a tear. Cutler wanted to go back in the game with a torn ligament in his knee, but the coaches wouldn't let him.

    Now that Cutler has had an offseason to rest and let his knee heal, it is his time to answer back to his critics. Don't expect Cutler to say anything about the guys that called him out, but expect him to do his talking with his play on the field.

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