By S.C. Zuba
Last week, Jay Cutler made his debut at Soldier Field and played as though he had something to prove to the city of Chicago.
April 2, Jerry Angelo and the Chicago Bears pulled off the greatest trade the Chicago Bears organization has ever been a part of when they traded Kyle Orton and two first-round draft picks for Cutler and a third-round draft pick.
Expectations come with a trade of that caliber, and in the city of Chicago, possibly unreal expectations. Cutler has every Chicagoan breathing down his neck to perform this season, and Saturday night, Aug. 22, he sent a message to the city of Chicago saying he is the quarterback we hoped he would be.
Cutler was flawless in his first home start. Granted, it was a preseason game, but Cutler displayed all of the attributes of a successful quarterback. He scrambled, he passed, he ran, and he led the team to a 17-3 victory over the 2007 Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
Cutler completed 8 of 13 passes for 121 yards and a touchdown for a passer rating of 117.8. It is almost difficult to believe a quarterback wearing a Bears uniform achieved those stats.
Of all the great things Cutler did that game, none stands out like the perfectly-placed ball he threw to Devin Aromashodu that split two defenders while placing the football where only Aromashodu could make a play on it. Not to mention that this pass set up Cutler’s first touchdown pass as a Bear to Desmond Clark.
After watching Cutler perform at Soldier Field, it is very apparent things have changed in the city of Chicago. The Bears are not the team they once were. The Bears are a legitimate contender in not only the NFC North, but also the NFC in general.
And as for the group of wide receivers that few thought could form into a real wide receiving corps, critics can think again. Angelo said from day one that the quarterback makes the receiver and not the other way around, and it seems as though those words are actually true. I’m not saying this group of receivers is an elite group, but they are definitely improving. Devin Hester, Earl Bennett, Brandon Rideau and Aromashodu all made impressive strides in Saturday night’s win.
The Bears have two more weeks of preseason football to fine-tune this team, but if the Bears come out to Lambeau Field with the same intensity they did on Saturday night, that will be one great night for the city of Chicago.
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from the Aug. 26-Sept. 1, 2009 issue