Bears

Cutler a Top 10 QB? Could happen

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Cutler a Top 10 QB? Could happen

Jay Cutler has generally landed in the 12-15 range among quarterbacks in informal (is there another kind?) rankings. His numbers fit about there passer rating 13th, yards per attempt 14th and thats where NFL.com Fantasy Analyst Jason Smith puts Cutler.

But theres a qualifier.

The top six to Smith are the usual suspects: Eli Manning (winning two Super Bowls in five seasons, in New York, will do that for you); Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning (healthy until proven infirm).

Theyve all won at least one Super Bowl and regularly put up numbers of their own. You can quibble over specific slotting, but its hard to argue with a combination of winning and individual production.

But in Smiths world, the No. 7 quarterback could be Cutler, indeed could have been but for his broken thumb in the San Diego game:

The Bears wouldve been in the Super Bowl last season if he stayed healthy. If he gets the Bears to one this year, he cracks the top seven. Yeah, hes really that good, whether you like him or not.

(The whether you like him or not is gratuitous, clichd and a curiously selective insult. Smith apparently finds Philip Rivers (No. 8) likeable, and his Roethlisbergers critique didnt see fit to include some off-field incidents that would stretch the idea of like him. But thats a different discussion.)

Cutler had the Bears at 7-3 before his injury and in the discussion of NFC best, well ahead of the Giants (Manning), Falcons (Matt Ryan, No. 10), Cowboys (Tony Romo, No. 13). That would have been two consecutive years in that discussion for a quarterback who, before 2010, hadnt had a winning season since high school.

Kyle Fuller talks interception in Denver during Bears' players visit Chicago Public School

Kyle Fuller talks interception in Denver during Bears' players visit Chicago Public School

To kick off the Bears 2019 School Outreach Program, defensive back Kyle Fuller and offensive lineman Charles Leno Jr. visited Jordan Elementary Community School. Partnering with Youth Guidance, a social services organization providing school-based programs for under-resourced communities, Bears players make weekly visits to speak at Chicago Public Schools throughout the season.

Fuller got the chance at the event to speak about his recent performance in Denver, where he had six tackles and one interceptions, as well as a big play where he stopped the Broncos in the end zone at the ten-yard line, eventually allowing the Bears to get a field goal.

“It felt like a pretty long drive, you know,” Fuller described.  “Guys just got together to just try and get it to stop and that’s what we did.”

Fuller spoke about the defense’s pressure to perform following losing the season home opener to Green Bay.

“That’s what we’re working for, we want to put ourselves in those moments. We’re glad to have that opportunity,” Fuller said. “It feels good, I’m excited to get the win [in Denver]. Excited to move forward, getting ready for Washington this week. Just like all the other 31 teams, they’re good, so we’ve got to be prepared and be ready.”

Leno also spoke on how the Bears' offense will find their identity for the rest of the 2019 season. 

“You’re always trying to evolve every week,” Leno says. “It all changes week to week. We know our identity and we know we’re a good offense, we just have to keep getting better every week.”

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Looking ahead: Bears ’19 schedule marked by upheaval – and added difficulty

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USA Today

Looking ahead: Bears ’19 schedule marked by upheaval – and added difficulty

While the Bears have been struggling to right their offensive ship and not looking any further ahead in 2019 than their own next game, their 2019 schedule has been flung into some turmoil through just two games, both good and bad. The 2019 schedule was going to be difficult anyway; certain performances project to make it even a little rougher.

The biggest shock to the lineup awaiting them was the very publicized thumb injury suffered by Drew Brees. The injury was expected to require surgery and to sideline the New Orleans quarterback beyond the Oct. 20 date when the Saints come to Soldier Field the weekend after the off week.

As for the immediate present, the Washington Redskins are expected to be without left tackle Trent Williams next Monday despite rumors that the seven-time Pro Bowl’er.

After Washington, the Bears have Minnesota coming to Soldier Field, led by quarterback Kirk Cousins, one of only four starting quarterbacks with a lower QBR number (15.8) than Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (27.5).

The Bears don’t see the New York Giants until the weekend before Thanksgiving but when they do, the Giants presumably will have rookie Daniel Jones, the No. 6-overall pick of the 2019 draft, at quarterback instead of Eli Manning. Coach Pat Shurmur benched Manning in favor of Jones after this season’s 0-2 start left the Giants at exactly 116-116 over Manning’s 15 years as their starter.

The good news: The Bears don’t see the Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chiefs until going on three months from now. The bad news: They draw the Chiefs and Cowboys at all this year.

Patrick Mahomes, a Kansas City draft choice while Matt Nagy was Andy Reid’s offensive coordinator, is continuing to play at his ’18 MVP pace and getting the Kansas City Chiefs to 2-0. The Bears get the Chiefs at home, but KC has opened this season with road wins by 14 points at Jacksonville and 18 points at Oakland.

But as good as Mahomes has been, Dallas’ Dak Prescott has been arguably as good or better: through two games, 51-of-62 passing (82.3 percent), 10.9 yards per attempt, 337 yards per game, 142.2 passer rating, 96.2 QBR – all even higher than Mahomes’ performance indicators.

The Detroit Lions are off to a 1-0-1 start with quarterback Matthew Stafford playing above his career levels for completion percentage (65.3), passer rating (102.6), QBR, yards per game (315), yards per attempt (8.5).

Fun factoid noted by longtime legendary NFL reporter Peter King in his “Football Morning in America” this week: The Oakland Raiders have five games over the next 48 days, including vs. the Bears in London. Every one of the games is more than 1,900 miles from Oakland.

 

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