Bears have franchise QB, but offensive line needs to step up

September 22, 2010

By S.C. Zuba
Sports Columnist

This just in: Jay Cutler is as good as advertised.

Remember when the Bears traded for Cutler on April 2, 2009? I’m sure most Bears fans can pinpoint exactly where they were when they found out the news. I remember the day like it was yesterday—how could you not?

For the first time since Sid Luckman, the Bears were going to have a quarterback under center with the ability to change a game. The Bears finally had a franchise quarterback.

When Cutler first arrived in Chicago, he definitely changed a few games, just not the way the Bears would have liked. Remember the league-leading 26 interceptions? But that was then, and this is now. Something changed in Cutler’s performance from last year to this year. He is a different player, playing with a fire that has been virtually unstoppable by opposing defenses.

Anyone who watched the Bears defeat the Cowboys Sunday, Sept. 19, in Dallas should have seen one thing—a desire to win from Cutler. He didn’t back down, not for one second, to the Cowboys’ defense that broke through the Bears’ offensive line like it was their job.

Cutler remained poised and confident as he completed 21 of 27 passes for 277 yards with three touchdowns and no picks. Imagine, if you will, what he could do with an average offensive line. He may have only been sacked once, but I’m sure Cutler won’t soon forget the number the Cowboys’ defense did on him.

Without Cutler, this Bears football team would be dwelling at the bottom of the NFC North. The Bears may be 2-0, but I give the majority of the credit to Cutler.

As good as he is, Cutler can’t carry this team forever. At some point, the offensive line is going to have to step up and start performing. If they don’t start blocking, the Bears’ quarterback will get injured. Mark my words. He is good, but he is certainly not invincible. No one can take that type of abuse from defensive linemen on a weekly basis and remain healthy for a 16-game season and beyond.

Let’s look at the positives, though. The Bears are undefeated heading into a crucial game against divisional foe the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football. If the Bears want to keep their undefeated streak going, they’re going to need to find an answer on the offensive line, and that starts with those five guys rallying together and believing in each other.

For now, though, it looks like the Bears got the quarterback they initially traded for. The Bears finally have a franchise quarterback.

Share your thoughts with S.C. Zuba via e-mail at samuelczuba@gmail.com.

From the Sept. 22-28, 2010 issue

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