The Chicago Bears held their season-ending press conference on Monday, and Ryan Pace, who has just completed his first year as an NFL general manager, spoke very highly of his team's quarterback.
"I think Jay knows that we have extreme confidence in him, and we're going to continue to build the offense around him," Pace said. "I think he knows that. I think he also knows that, 'Hey, we're always going to draft [the] best player available too and acquire as much talent as we can.' So we've been very open and honest with all our players.
"But we have a ton of confidence in him and, guys, he played well this year. I think you guys saw that. The turnovers were down, and he was athletic and extended plays with his feet and did a lot with a lot of injuries at all our skill positions."
Pace hits a key point in that last sentence-- when you think about the bevy of injuries that the offense had to deal with this season, from the offensive line to the wide receivers, to the running back and tight end-- Cutler still managed to play well with what boils down to back-ups and third stringers most of the season.
Both Pace and head coach John Fox responded to questions around continuity should offensive coordinator Adam Gace get promomoted out as head coach to another team.
Fox: "Let me make this clear: Our systems are our systems. They're not any individual's systems; they are our systems. Our systems aren't changing -- offense, defense or special teams. You tweak, and you grow, and you adjust. You have to do that in this league because it's a fluid league. There are trends and things that happen and things that you have to react to regardless of what they are. That's all part of coaching. One of the hard things about being a new staff is introducing those systems, and they won't change."
We touched on the possibility of the Bears staying in-house should Gase leave, and Cutler has repeatedly expressed support of quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains.
So if the system isn't changing, and the quarterback isn't changing, then Pace clearly needs to make some upgrades on the offensive side of the ball. And with free agency and the Draft around the corner, he'll have plenty of work to do.