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The 10 Most Important Bears of 2014 - #1 Jay Cutler

For the 6th straight year, I'm bringing you whom I believe will be the ten most important Chicago Bears for the upcoming season. And for the 6th straight year it's the most anti-climatic choice of all, quarterback Jay Cutler.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

I think even the staunchest Jay Cutler supporter would say his run with the Chicago Bears has been a disappointment.

Forget about the peripheral stuff surrounding his time as a Bear and think back to when he was first acquired.

He was coming off an appearance in the Pro Bowl, he had just thrown for 4,526 yards in the 2008 season, and his break up with the Broncos made him a highly sought after trade target for many teams. He was a 25 year old with more natural talent than any other quarterback in the history of the Bears franchise.

I expected multiple Pro Bowls, NFC North Championships, playoff runs and Super Bowls.

During his five years in Chicago, the Bears have won a lone NFC North Championship and a single playoff game, both in 2010.

If that doesn't scream disappointment then I don't know what does.

To be fair, that's not all on Jay. He's had horrendous offensive lines, bad wide outs and nonexistent tight ends. He's run four different offenses in five years. His first head coach was defensive minded and his first general manager thought that by acquiring Jay, his work on the offense was done.

All that is different now. His head coach understands offense and his GM has upgraded the entire offensive unit. He's in the same system, a system he's very comfortable operating in, and he's ready for a break out at 31 years of age.

Jay Cutler isn't in the same class as Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers. His presence alone isn't enough to elevate his team to win after win, and post season after post season.

But that's OK. Jay doesn't need to be an all time great in order for the Bears to win, he just needs to continue his improvement under Marc Trestman and run the offense.

Then again, Trestman did take a good quarterback and make him an MVP. He's not called the quarterback whisperer because it looks good on a résumé. If Jay Cutler can continue working in the TCO, if he can keep on running the same system year in and year out -- much like those four great QBs I mentioned above -- then who's to say he can't become an all time great?

What are your expectations for Jay Cutler in 2014?

If you missed 1-9 on my list you can click here for the full story stream.

And starting next week I'll kick off my 11 part series, Chicago Bears 2014 Position Battles.