Then a broken thumb against the San Diego Chargers in Week 11 ended Cutler’s season. He had the Bears on a five-game winning streak.
The No. 6 scoring offense was succeeding under the simplification of Mike Martz’s offense. A lot of the credit for the success has to go Mike Tice, who was the offensive line coach last season.
Martz wasn’t brought back this offseason. Tice was promoted to offensive coordinator and formerBroncos quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates was added as the quarterbacks coach.
Cutler’s familiarity with Bates and offseason acquisition WR Brandon Marshall certainly helps. It’s not an instant solution just yet.
The offensive line still has some issues, Matt Forte‘s absence could loom far into training camp and Mike Tice is taking over the offensive reigns for the first time in his career.
With all that being said, the Bears have certainly improved their offense drastically since last season ended.
QB Jason Campbell was brought in to back up Cutler, RB Michael Bush was signed to provide a solid goal-line option.
WRs Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Devin Thomas offer plenty of height to a corps that was among the shortest in the league a year ago.
TE/halfback Evan Rodriguez was drafted in the fourth round of this year’s draft. He could provide an intriguing option for Cutler and Tice.
Cutler was sacked 23 times during his 10 starts, but only in Week 1 (five sacks) and Week 2 (six sacks) did the offensive line really struggle to protect him.
Tice will still have plenty of say with the offensive line. The Bears believe they have plenty of depth on the offensive line—it’s just a matter of putting the pieces in the right place.
QB coach Jeremy Bates has a lot of familiarity with Cutler. He knows his strengths and weaknesses very well. Cutler, Marshall and Bates being on the same team once again will only help the Bears’ chances.
The Cutler-Marshall duo was almost unstoppable at times in Denver, and with the potential one-two punch looming with Matt Forte and Michael Bush, this team could shine. Jeffery, Bennett, Hester and Thomas will see lots of time on offense behind Marshall. Kellen Davis and Evan Rodriguez are more offensive weapons Cutler will have in his arsenal.
Cutler has to be excited with the talent around him for the upcoming season. It all comes down to putting it all together. It won’t come together overnight, but with familiarity with many players and coaches, it could come quickly.
The Bears defense has played at a high level for a while now. With the addition of Shea McClellin to the defensive line, it could propel them to the elite.
This team certainly has what it takes to make it to the Super Bowl in New Orleans this upcoming season. The offense will be the spotlight, considering all the moves that have been made this offseason.
Lovie Smith and Rod Marinelli continue to do a solid job with the defense. It’s up to Tice and Bates to put Cutler in the best situations week in and week out on offense
Cutler doesn’t seem to be worried with the absence of Matt Forte. He thinks he will be back sooner than later, and I completely agree.
Chicago Bears fans should be excited with these improvements. Many of them are constantly down on the team until the season starts, and then they change their tune.
With all the bad luck that has struck Chicago sports this past season, Chicago fans are certainly upset. But they should be looking forward to what could be a historic 2012 Bears run.
It’s a make-or-break year for the Chicago Bears this upcoming season. GM Phil Emery has made the right moves to better the club. Now it’s time to make it all work.
Can Cutler lead the 2012 Chicago Bears to the Super Bowl under Mike Tice’s lead this upcoming season? Thoughts?