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After what was a highly anticipated, and at times poorly executed, debut season with the Chicago Bears, the importance of Jay Cutler to the Chicago Bears offense and overall success has never been higher.
Sometimes compared to Brett Favre for maintaining the gunslinger mentality (but not for his past success on the field), Cutler will face his toughest NFL challenge yet. He has the arm, but does he have the fortitude to carry the explosive Martzfense, and execute it with a precision that he lacked in 2009?
My answer would be "Sure, why can't he?"
There's no question that, now more than ever, things will fall on Jay Cutler's shoulders. Things are looking up for him, though. The whole offense is learning the package together. The playbook was defined by an offensive mastermind (and probably doesn't include a FB Dive). He's got two solid running backs in the backfield. The offensive line still has some question marks, but seems to be coming together a lot better under the tutelage of new Offensive Line Coach Mike Tice.
In the end it comes down to Cutler. Minimizing the mistakes, especially in the red zone, will be key to the Bears scoring points, getting leads, and letting the defense fly. He showed during the 2008 season that he can put the offense on his shoulders, and threw for over 4500 yards. His career high interceptions don't really showcase his history, which is around 8-10 less per season. If he can keep it to those numbers, the sky is truly the limit for Cutler - who I confidently predict will return to the Pro Bowl in 2010. More importantly, he should carry the Bears to a Division Championship, and back into the playoffs. From there, anything can happen...