The Chicago Bears finished with an abysmal 6-10 record, landing them to the bottom of the NFC North last season. Although, this did not deter head coach John Fox from heaping on the praises of quarterback Jay Cutler.
“I thought Jay had an outstanding year,” Fox said, per Peter King of MMQB.”
To Cutler’s credit, he didn’t have a lot to work with considering Alshon Jeffery was sidelined for seven games and rookie first-round pick Kevin White missed the entire season.
Plus, in what some consider a head-scratching move, the Bears shipped Brandon Marshall away to the New York Jets in exchange for a late-round draft pick. We all know who came out on top with that deal.
Fox did acknowledge that Cutler was at a deficit in his receiving corps last season while attempting to not throw shade at the second and third stringers who picked up the slack.
“It wasn’t ideal. Alshon (Jeffery) wasn’t healthy the whole season. Kevin White did not play. I’m not knocking any of the guys that did play, but a lot is always made of the quarterback, and his supporting cast is critical. I don’t care what it is-defense, offense, wideouts, ability to run the ball … there’s a lot that goes into it besides one guy, although that guy gets a lot of the magnified glass. So if you saw what Jay did last year, I’m expecting good things again.”
Hopefully, Cutler will have his top two receivers back and in healthy form this season. Although, he will be without his handy pass-catching running back Matt Forte, who will be joining Marshall this fall as a member of the Jets.
Regarding Fox’s critique of Cutler, his 2015 season offered a mixed bag. Cutler achieved a career-high 92.3 quarterback rating, but his completion rate dropped from 66.0 to 64.4 compared to 2014. Furthermore, Cutler threw for 21 touchdowns versus the 28 he scored the year before. Though, he reduced his interceptions from 18 to 11, which is quite notable.
Fox’s primary focus remains on Cutler.
“It was critical to keep Jay comfortable. Everything comes through the quarterback, so keeping Jay in the same system is best for us.”
Playing within a competitive division which houses the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings, it is of the utmost necessity that Cutler doesn’t fall back to his old ways.
Perhaps we will be seeing less of this considering the Bears have the second-easiest schedule in the league this year, according to the report.
For Bears fans, it sure would be a refreshing change to see one of the NFL teams that constantly takes a beating turn up the heat this fall.