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Doug Farrar
Writer

Doug Farrar

A FootballOutsiders.com staff writer

Cutler Not A Cure-All

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Getting Jay Cutler -- the franchise's best quarterback since Sid Luckman about sixty years ago -- does put the Bears in the position to win the NFC North and go deep into the playoffs if they take care of a few things.

First, they have to draft a receiver and get Devin Hester back to returns. The Bears will still be playing a field position game, and Hester is one of the most dynamic special teams threats in NFL history. I'm fine with him still running a few go routes, but the double duty needs to stop. Cutler will need receivers who are reasonably quick, with good hands, who run precise routes. As a receiver, Hester's still very much a work in progress. They can still get a quality receiver, like Hakeem Nicks or Brian Robiskie, in the second round.

Second, they must upgrade their offensive line, and they've taken steps to do that, acquiring Kevin Shaffer and Orlando Pace. Part of the reason Cutler played so well last year was that he had great pass protection, especially from dominant rookie left tackle Ryan Clady -- Cutler was sacked just 11 times in 616 pass attempts.

Third, the defense must hold fast. In 2008, they ranked second in the NFL in Defensive Adjusted Line Yards, and 27th in Adjusted Sack Rate. They need to bring more pass pressure, and provide more solid coverage. Quarterback Wins is the single dumbest stat in football, but it's a lot more indicative when you throw qualifiers in there. When Cutler's team allows 22 points or less, his "record" is 12-1. Denver's defense was atrocious last year, which throws his overall W-L into the realms of the useless. If Chicago's defense stays solid, they'll complete for at least the division with Jay Cutler.

By Doug Farrar  |  April 2, 2009; 7:55 PM ET  | Category:  Chicago Bears , Doug Farrar Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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