The season opener is just a few days away, but expectations for the Bears — and particularly Jay Cutler — have been sky high for months now. The Bears quarterback seemed to turn a corner during the 2011 campaign, throwing for 2319 yards and 13 touchdowns despite only playing in 10 games.
Now fully healthy, a new father and reunited with Brandon Marshall, Cutler will look to capitalize on his 2011 success and attempt to establish himself as an “elite” quarterback. Cutler’s health will once again be a determining factor in his potential success, as will Mike Tice’s capabilities as an offensive coordinator and the strength of the Bears’ offensive line.
With that said, let’s take a look at some of the potential success that Cutler may enjoy this season, over/under style.
Throws for 3500 yards — OVER – Tice and the Bears offense will keep their focus on the running game this season. There’s no doubt about that. But with Marshall and Alshon Jeffery now a part of the offense, the Bears should find more success deep down the field. This one should (hopefully) be easy for Cutler, especially considering he threw for 3,666 yards his first season with the Bears.
Throws 25 touchdowns — UNDER – While Cutler does have some added weapons on offense this year, there’s no denying the effect that Michael Bush will have on this team. I believe the Bears finally have the short yardage/red zone back that they have longed for, thus Cutler’s red zone throws will be kept to a minimum. Expect closer to 20 touchdowns from Cutler, barring any sort of injury to either Matt Forte or Bush along the way.
Throws 10 interceptions — OVER – Cutler is a notorious gun-slinging quarterback who is not afraid to try and fit a square peg into a round hole at times. He’s come a long way since his first season in Chicago, but I expect that with a very mediocre offensive line, Cutler will make several rushed throws a game, leading to plenty of turnovers. Expect closer to 13 interceptions this season from him.
Tallies a 60% completion rate — UNDER — If Cutler only threw the ball to Earl Bennett and Forte, this might be attainable. But with Marshall, one of the league leaders in drops, and the inconsistent Devin Hester, this one is likely just out of reach. The key for Cutler though will be keeping his completion percentage closer to 80% on shorter passes, particularly on 3rd down.
The “Tell Martz I say ‘F*** you‘” incident repeats at least once — UNDER – Cutler already has a solid relationship with Tice and obviously a terrific history with Jeremy Bates. There should be no repeat of the ugly — yet hilarious — incident that took place on national television. If anything Cutler may have some heated exchanges with Marshall if the oft-troubled receiver can’t keep his head in games.
So what do you guys think? Let the Cutler critique begin.