By Bryan Dietzler
The Bears 5-9 record is not one that they are proud of. They could easily have a better record if they could have won a few of the closer games that they had this season. They started the season on a low note, had a decent middle of the year but are ending the 2015 campaign on another low note. The Bears have been up and down all year and haven’t been consistent in all phases of the game.
The Bears aren’t sending anyone to the Pro Bowl this year. There are some players that are close to deserving that kind of recognition however. Perhaps guys like Pernell McPhee, Tracy Porter, Kyle Fuller, Matt Forte and Zach Miller deserve a little recognition but that didn’t happen. In all honesty, there hasn’t been any one player that has stood out this season as being the Bears top player or someone that the team can’t really live without but perhaps that is not entirely true if you look deep down. There is one player that the Bears couldn’t do without this season and one that had a big hand in all five of their wins this season (so far).
That player is Jay Cutler. Like him or not, he has to be considered the MVP of this team because without him, the Bears clearly wouldn’t have won as many games as they did and would have struggled this entire season. The quarterback is typically the heart and soul of a team and Cutler has been that for the Bears this year.
You can easily see the effect that Cutler has had on this team in the time that he missed with a hamstring injury at the start of the season. Although he only missed a game and a half, in that period of time the Bears were unable to move the ball effectively through the air and, as was seen especially in their game against the Seahawks where the offense was clearly inefficient without him in the lineup. When he returned following the injury, the Bears started to win games, some games thanks to him, and things started to look up for the offense.
Who can forget Cutler’s come from behind drives in their games against the Kansas City Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders. In addition, who would forget him playing that outstanding game against the St. Louis Rams in which he racked up the yards and kept the Bears offense moving strong throughout the game? His play in the Bears win against the Packers was solid and he had a very nice game against the Chargers.
When Cutler has struggled, the offense has struggled right along with him. His struggles have been evident in the recent games that Bears have played but some of the issues that Cutler has had this season weren’t entirely his fault. This season his primary wide receivers (Eddie Royal, Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett) have missed significant amounts on time with injuries so he didn’t have his primary weapons to throw the ball to. He was playing with second, third and fourth string wide receivers that didn’t always know how to run the right routes or get open and this hampered his play a bit.
Cutler has seemed to digress in his play over the past three games and it’s unclear why this is happening. Maybe the offensive plays that his offensive coordinator Adam Gase is calling aren’t doing the job. Maybe not having his top receiving threats in some games, (Jeffery missed most of the Vikings game so Cutler didn’t have his top receiver just about the entire game) is causing him problems. Protection from the offensive line has been less than stellar as of late so this could be another part of the problem. Everything is just not going right for Cutler and the Bears at this time.
Therefore, if you had to pick that one single player out, from the Bears that has made a significant difference this year Cutler would be the one that you would have to pick. It’s clear to see that the Bears wouldn’t have won as many games (and perhaps may not have won any) had he not been in the lineup. They wouldn’t have had the comebacks they had in games without Cutler in the lineup and they wouldn’t have been able to keep things close in games they won or lost without him leading the offense. Cutler is a huge asset to this franchise and the Bears couldn’t have done what they did this season without him.
Therefore, Cutler is the clear cut MVP on this team for the 2015 season. He has proven that he is a huge asset to the offense and perhaps the whole team by the way that he has played. Now questions will come up as to whether or not he will be here come next season or, perhaps, will the Bears draft a quarterback in the 2016 NFL Draft to replace Cutler? He is still under contract for several more seasons and is making a lot of money in this contract and that money could go to other players (because it would be dead money if they cut him) if they decided to get rid of him. It’s going to be an interesting offseason for the Bears with what they are going to do with Cutler. Will we see him in 2016 or will he be somewhere else?