Chicago Bears: Jay Cutler's Growth And The Things We Have Learned This Season

When the Chicago Bears were 5-6 there was an abundance of hope among their fans everywhere. Never did anyone expect the Bears to be in playoff contention, but there they were, in the conversation. Their role as one of the dark horse teams (courtesy of Sports Mockery) who could have made the postseason if they had won games was not expected. The Chicago Bears were supposed to be one of the worst teams in the NFL.

Things have not gone according to plan after the Bears got to 5-6, though it has been one interesting ride. A ride where fans have learned a lot about this team. There are a few reasons why the Bears' season went into the direction that it did. One of them was winning games when it mattered the most.

A few weeks ago, the Chicago Bears were hosting the San Francisco 49ers. At 5-6, all it took was a victory over a bad team who traveled two time zones. What took place was a lot of bad.

Not too terrible was the much maligned Jay Cutler. It was Cutler who threw an interception that was run back for a touchdown by San Francisco's Jimmy Ward. The fans in Chicago dropped their heads in disgust, but this time there was not a ton of vitriol. That was saved for kicker Robbie Gould, who would miss two makeable field goals in the 26-20 overtime loss.

What fans should have learned is that Jay Cutler needs some help. Hate him, some of you might, but he does not kick field goals.

As the quarterback who holds many of the Bears' franchise records, you would think that Cutler would be beloved to some degree. Despite an offensive line that was put together on the fly, despite a running game that has sometimes stalled when trying to keep the offense on the field and despite not having a reasonable group of wide receivers, it is Jay Cutler who has been the constant.

At 5-6, winners of four out of six games, could anyone argue that Jay Cutler was the most valuable player for the Chicago Bears? He needs some help.

The loss to San Francisco stung, but the loss to the Washington Redskins hurt even more. Some of the same problems that the Bears dealt with a week prior, reared their ugly heads again.

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images Sport)
[Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images Sport]Failure to control the line of scrimmage, failure to give Jay Cutler time to throw and the one element to the Bears that many had feared throughout the season – how the defense could not stop anyone.

While Jay Cutler did not struggle against the Redskins, his supporting cast did little to give him what he needed to have a successful day. By the time of the Redskins game, the Bears were 5-7 and still deep in the hunt for a playoff spot. A victory would have put them at 6-7, with a road game with the Minnesota Vikings on the horizon. What was in front of them was a Washington team who had not won a road game all season.

Everything was lining up the Bears' way. They just could not answer the call when they needed to. The 24-21 loss last week basically ruined the hopes that the team had.

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images Sport)
[Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images Sport]Against the Vikings, fans saw an inferior team. The Bears were a team who did not quit, they just could not execute. The offensive line was miserable trying to protect (courtesy of CSN Chicago) Jay Cutler. The defense was beaten by a team with plenty to lose and plenty to gain. The Vikings played like the team who was in full control, as the Bears just unraveled. With the 38-17 defeat (courtesy of ESPN), the Bears are now a mediocre 5-9.
What we have learned about the Bears is that they do not need a quarterback. Jay Cutler has done his part to push back those who want him gone. He could use a quality backup. Look for the Bears to draft one in the middle rounds of the NFL draft.

The Bears' defense needs some playmakers. Having outside linebacker Pernell McPhee helped. The Bears struck gold when they drafted nose tackle Eddie Goldman. Who can forget about the reemergence of Willie Young? What is needed are two inside linebackers who can tackle and make plays in the opponents' backfield. The Bears will address those needs in the draft and in free-agency.

Keeping Jay Cutler surrounded with receivers is the final need. To those who want to get rid of him must go back and look at how many times players have dropped passes. Those around Cutler have to pick him up when he is having a subpar game. Things will change for the better when the talent around him improves.

[Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images Sport]