Last year, Jay Cutler got a Pro Bowl receiver in Brandon Marshall and a newly signed Pro Bowl running back in Matt Forte.
This year, the Bears quarterback got an offensive-minded head coach known as a quarterback whisperer in Marc Trestman, and before dinner on the first day of free agency Tuesday, Cutler was presented with a Pro Bowl left tackle in Jermon Bushrod and a new tight end in Martellus Bennett who, imagine that, can catch the ball.
Good thing Cutler isn’t one to make excuses, because he would be pretty much out of them right now.
If Cutler flashes that famous pouty face next season, it’ll be over his own mistake and it might be on his way out of town.
Bears general manager Phil Emery not only saw the same sinkholes in the offense that we saw, but he did something about it before Cutler and his potential were killed. I didn’t think the Bears would be able to land both a left tackle and a tight end in free agency. I figured the salary cap would force them to choose one one.
Emery chose both.
I love the Bushrod signing. He became a Pro Bowler under new Bears offensive coordinator/line coach Aaron Kromer. Now a stud is protecting Cutler’s blind side, not J’Marcus Weed.
Bennett, meanwhile, fills a position the Bears seemingly forfeited. Bennett’s 55 catches last season alone are more than Kellen Davis has managed in his career. See what happens when you stand up, Kellen?
Emery has made early moves that seemed big and smart at the time. Marshall worked out, so the expectation is that Bennett and Bushrod will, too. Oh, and Trestman. Trestman has to work out, or forget this whole administration.
Point is, Emery's actions have set up Cutler to fly or die on his own. It will be on him, not his supporting cast. Or at least, not as conveniently as it was.
When in doubt, blame the offensive line. Failing that, point to the spot where actual tight ends used to be. Next, call out the lame wideout corps that included an over-promoted kick returner who still doesn’t know where to line up.
I did it. You did it. Because it was right. The Bears roster didn’t help a quarterback the way the Packers roster helped Aaron Rodgers. Worse, the Bears quarterback wasn’t close to the Packers quarterback when it mattered.
Plus, the Bears offensive coaches still had no clue how to block Green Bay’s blitzing defense. It was a running joke that finally got Lovie Smith and his staff run out of town.
It appears that many offensive players will follow Smith. Everyone line up behind Davis.
The Bears offense has changed dramatically since Emery and his eyeglasses lanyard first stepped to the podium last year. It’s as if Emery has been the guy who goes to Home Depot and points to each of the massive warehouse aisles while saying, “Got it, need it, got it, got it, need it.’’
Emery needs a lot less these days. Another offensive lineman and one of those speed receivers from the scouting combine that seemed to multiply like wasted Bears timeouts.
Emery has given Cutler more chances to make plays than the quarterback has had since pouting his way out of Denver. That means Emery has given Cutler fewer excuses than ever. That means it’s on Cutler. Period.
Prove it. Show us. Get paid.
The more moves that Emery makes, the easier it will be for Emery to decide whether to spend $15 million a year on Cutler after this season.
It’s about winning Super Bowls. Emery said so, and every Bears McWonk above him has backed that talk. Cutler has won one playoff game in his career, and that came against the most embarrassing playoff team in NFL history. Cutler, meanwhile, has suffered two season-ending injuries. Just to clarify: not a good thing.
Neither is the scouting report that Cutler’s head explodes when things get tight. J’Marcus Weed might tell you that. The Packers certainly would. In fact, they did. Departed Packers defensive back Charles Woodson declared that the plan was to sit back and Cutler would “throw you the ball.’’
Cutler did. Cutler always did. Cutler has to cut that out because Emery has cut out almost every excuse.
Phil Emery, your table is ready.
Jay Cutler, your plane might not be boarding right now, but it is being de-iced.Copyright © 2015, RedEye