Bears

Timeline: Looking back on Jay Cutler's eight seasons with the Bears

Timeline: Looking back on Jay Cutler's eight seasons with the Bears

Jay Cutler’s time with the Bears has come to an end. Check out an overview of Cutler's eight seasons in Chicago:

2009        

Apr. 2: Bears trade Kyle Orton, 2009 first-and-third round selections, and 2010 first-rounder to the Denver Broncos for Cutler and a 2009 fifth-round pick.
 
Oct. 20: Five games into his first Bears season, Cutler is given a two-year, $30 million extension. Bears lose seven of next nine games on the way to 7-9 finish in Cutler’s only 16-game Bears season. Cutler leads NFL with 26 INT’s. Bears fire offensive coordinator Ron Turner.

2010

- Bears finish 11-5, including 10-5 in Cutler starts with Mike Martz as offensive coordinator.

2011

Jan. 16: Bears defeat the Seattle Seahawks for Cutler’s only career playoff win.
 
Jan. 23: Cutler injures knee, misses second half in loss to the Green Bay Packers in NFC Championship game.
 
Nov. 20: Cutler breaks right thumb attempting a tackle vs. the San Diego Chargers. Bears 7-3 with Cutler, fall to 8-8 under Caleb Hanie. Martz fired.

2012

- Phil Emery replaces Jerry Angelo as GM.

- Mike Tice installed as offensive coordinator, clashes with Cutler during 10-6 season. Lovie Smith fired along with Tice and staff.

2013

- Marc Trestman replaces Smith, Aaron Kromer hired as offensive coordinator, Bears open 4-2 with Cutler passer-rating of 90-plus in five of six games.

[RELATED: Jay Cutler left his mark in the Bears record books]

Oct. 20: Cutler injures groin against the Washington Redskins, misses four games, Josh McCown excels. Cutler eventually returns to start over coaches’ preference for McCown.

2014

Jan. 2: Bears eschew franchise tag, sign Cutler for $126.7 million over seven years, $54 million guaranteed first three years.
 
Oct. 14: Emery calls Cutler “elite” by virtue of having a winning record as NFL starter.
 
Dec. 4: Bears crushed by the Dallas Cowboys. Kromer vents coaches’ frustration with Cutler to NFL reporter, later apologizes to Cutler and team.
 
Dec. 21: Cutler benched, Jimmy Clausen starts, suffers concussion vs. Detroit. Cutler reinstalled as starter.
 
Dec. 29: Emery fired along with Trestman and staff.

2015

- Ryan Pace hired as general manager, John Fox as head coach, Adam Gase as offensive coordinator. Cutler not endorsed as starter.

- Cutler posts career-best 92.3 passer rating.

2016     

- Gase leaves to be the Miami Dilphins head coach, replaced by Dowell Loggains.

Sept. 19: Cutler injures thumb, replaced for five games by Brian Hoyer.

Oct. 31: Cutler returns for three games, injures shoulder Nov. 20 vs. New York Giants. Out for season.

2017 

Mar. 9: Cutler released by Bears.

Anthony Miller is hyped about Nick Foles' knowledge of Bears' offense

Anthony Miller is hyped about Nick Foles' knowledge of Bears' offense

One of the main reasons the Bears targeted Nick Foles in an offseason that was overflowing with quality quarterbacks to challenge Mitch Trubisky for Chicago's starting job is his familiarity with Matt Nagy's offense. The Bears knew what they were getting when they traded a fourth-round pick to the Jaguars for the former Super Bowl MVP, and in the current COVID-19 reality, that knowledge of who Foles is as a quarterback is more valuable than the team could've ever imagined.

So is Foles' comfort with the playbook. 

Unlike traditional offseasons when players have a chance to acclimate themselves with their new city, teammates, coaching staff, and offensive system, the novel coronavirus has thrust the Bears' quarterback competition into a shotgun four-week run that Foles is oddly equipped to handle. He's already made a positive early impression on wide receiver Anthony Miller.

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“You can definitely tell that Nick has been playing this game for a long time, and he knows this offense very well," Miller said Friday during a Zoom call with reporters. "He’s very detailed in practice, you can catch him in the back of an offensive play going through his progressions and he’s not even in, so that’s just the type of player he is, and I can’t wait to see him live action to see what he really can do.”

It feels like the Trubisky vs. Foles showdown has been underway since March, but the reality is it's just getting started. Padded practices begin next week and will give Chicago's coaches and players their first real opportunity to evaluate which quarterback gives the team the best chance to win.

According to Miller, the starting gig is up for grabs.

“This is going to be an interesting competition to see and the best man is going to get the job.”

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Super Bowl or bust? Why Bears' championship formula is backward in 2020

Super Bowl or bust? Why Bears' championship formula is backward in 2020

First, the good news: The Bears can win Super Bowl LV.

Why not? It’s August.

If Matt Nagy can find the right quarterback and Ryan Pace’s play to overhaul the tight end room pays off, this offense could be a ton of fun to watch. And if the addition of Robert Quinn gives the Bears the sort of fearsome pass rush we expect it will, this defense should be among the best in the NFL – and more than good enough to win a Super Bowl.

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There’s absolutely no part of me that’s going to tell you the Bears cannot win a Super Bowl before we’ve seen them practice, let alone play a game, in 2020.

“We want to win a Super Bowl,” wide receiver Allen Robinson said. “Every day we come into the facility, all our meetings and things like that, I think that our coaches are doing a really good job for everybody to keep that in mind and that's the main thing.”

Okay, but you’re probably waiting for the bad news. I just didn’t want to start with it. Because while it's not impossible for the Bears to make a Super Bowl run, there's a big reason why it feels unlikely. 

The Bears’ formula for winning in 2020, seemingly, is pairing a good enough offense with an elite defense. It’s what got them to the playoffs in 2018 as NFC North champions. It’s what could get them back to the playoffs again this season.

But an “eh, it’s fine” offense coupled with an awesome defense is not a formula that wins you a Super Bowl in 2021. As the last 10 Super Bowls tell us, it pays to have a great offense – and doesn’t matter if you have a great defense.

The last 20 Super Bowl participants, on average, had the sixth-best offense in a given year as ranked by Football Outsiders’ DVOA. The average ranking of their defenses was about 12th.

It’s been even more pronounced over the last four years. On average, a Super Bowl team in that span ranked fourth in offense and 16th in defense.

Only two teams in the last decade reached a Super Bowl with an offense outside the top 10 in DVOA (Denver in 2015, Baltimore in 2012 – notably, both teams still won). Eleven of the last 20 teams to make a Super Bowl had a defense outside the DVOA top 10, including last year’s Kansas City Chiefs.

MORE: Why you shouldn't worry about Allen Robinson getting a contract extension

So the Bears, as currently constructed, do not appear built to win a Super Bowl. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done – we’re not all that far removed from the 2015 Broncos hoisting the Lombardi Trophy with the No. 25 offense and No. 1 defense – but recent history suggests it’s unlikely.

That is, unless Nagy can find the success his former peers (Doug Pederson, Andy Reid) had with his offensive scheme. Make no mistake: Offense leads Super Bowl runs, with defense a supporting character. Not the other way around. And it feels like the Bears have it the other way around. 

 

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