“I think Chicago did a great job, and Lovie Smith went out there and got Jay Cutler to lead this team, but one thing they don’t have is they don’t have the receiver group,” said Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver. “They have the running back, they have the offensive line, and they have a great defense. But you’re going to have to need receivers to make plays down the field, and they don’t have that right now.”
Those words from Driver are so cold and calloused—but also so true.
Well, sort of.
It’s no shock or surprise to anyone the Bears did a great thing for their franchise this offseason when they acquired Cutler from the Denver Broncos. But was it enough to truly change the direction of where this franchise was/is going?
Let’s take a look at the facts.
Fact: Many people question that the Chicago Bears’ receiving corps has a legitimate chance contending in the National Football League.
Fact: Brandon Marshall, who was Cutler’s favorite target while in Denver, had 309 yards and two touchdowns in 15 games before Cutler took over the team in 2007.
Fact: After Cutler took over the Broncos’ offense, Marshall had 1,325 yards and seven touchdowns in 16 games.
Fact: Cutler’s second-favorite target while in Denver was tight end Tony Scheffler, who had 645 yards with three touchdowns on 40 catches.
Fact: With a mediocre, at best, quarterback in Kyle Orton, Greg Olson, the Bears’ tight end, amassed 574 yards with five touchdowns on 54 catches.
Before Cutler, nobody knew who Marshall and Eddie Royal were, and right now, nobody knows who Earl Bennett, Johnny Knox, Juaquin Iglesias or even Derek Kinder are. But Cutler possesses the ability to make a receiver into something great. Who knows what will happen this year? Maybe the Bears will become a dangerous offensive threat. Maybe Devin Hester will have a breakout year. Maybe one of the five aforementioned receivers will become something special. I believe Jerry Angelo when he says the quarterback makes the receiver, and not vice-versa
Fact: Bears fans have a whole lot to be excited for and, it is hoped, those words from Driver will not be forgotten Sept. 13 when the Bears stroll into Lambeau Field.
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from the July 22-28, 2009, issue