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2011 Recap: Cutler was having his “best year” as a Bear before injuring his thumb, as in his 10 games he had 2,319 yards passing, 13 TDs, and 7 INTs. This was only good for 20th best points per game for QBs. A very low end QB2, but considering the pile of crap at WR, it was promising. He made big strides in his decision making and cut down on the turnovers. In the offseason, he asked for a big WR…”someone 6’2″ , and the Bears obliged.
What’s Changed: The biggest change for Cutler will be the improvement in the WR corps. Obviously. Brandon Marshall, his BFF from his Denver days joins the team and brings instant credibility (at least ON the field) to the WRs. The Bears also spent a 2nd round draft pick on Alshon Jeffrey, a talented WR that has had some weight issues, but has looked good so far. Mike Bush was also brought in to bolster the RBs and he coupled with Matt Forte will make a nice 1-2 punch, not only in the running game, but in the passing game as well. Jeremy Bates joins the team as the QB coach and he worked with Cutler/Marshall during their best days 2006-2008. I have two major concerns. First, Mike Tice takes over as OC and may want to run more than pass as he was a former O-line coach/player. Second, is the O-line itself. It’s not very good. If Tice can get them to play well and Marshall to behave, Cutler will be a happy man.
Outlook: Cutler was the #3 QB in points per game in his last season in Denver. Since then he has never ranked higher than 14th and has finished as the 20th overall in 2 straight seasons. When all you have is Johnny Knoxville, Earl Bennett, some other dudes, and a punt returner as your WRs, it’s tough to be fantasy stud. Cutler has a legit #1 WR again and if Jeffrey can come through, we could be looking at a top 10 finish. I love his ADP of the 9th-10th round and he makes a great QB2 with upside for owners that take a high risk/reward guy like Peyton Manning/Michael Vick. His Strenth of Schedule is one of the better one’s with 8 games vs good matchups based on 2011 numbers. His durability is a concern with the O-line, but his upside in there for a guy you can get that late in your draft.
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Don’t Sleep On: Brent Celek
Don’t Sleep On: Michael Vick
Don’t Sleep On: Denarius Moore