Bengals News

2013 NFL Preview: NFC North

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Reasons to be Cautious:

The “Bad” Jay Cutler – This is the Jay Cutler that has caused his career record to hover around .500 (51-42 — .500 entering 2011) and his TD/Int ratio to hover around 1 (1.36/1) – both very poor for a guy that has had a talent like Marshall almost his entire career. Cutler’s teams in Denver were bad, prompting him to take chances he may not otherwise have taken.

However, since joining the Bears in 2009, he has had a Super Bowl caliber defense which did not require taking chances and simply needed a competent QB who could protect the ball (this is a defense that made the Super Bowl just 3 years prior with Rex Grossman at the helm). Cutler has done very little protecting the football in his 4 years with the Bears, Cutler has just 19 more TDs than Ints (82-63 – 1.3/1 TD/Int ratio – actually worse than his TD/Int ratio in Denver 1.46/1).

Factor in rushing TDs (3) and his fumbles (33 in 4 years!), Cutler actually turns the ball over 1.13 times for every 1 TD he scores (85 TDs to 96 turnovers).

The “Bad” Brandon Marshall – Despite his physical gifts, Marshall continues to fight consistency issues, maturity issues, and seems to display a big question mark between his ears.

Firing Lovie – Usually 10-6 does not get a coach fired. Not so in Chicago. While this team had some underperforming years under Smith, he seemed to be loved in the locker room. Players liked Smith, respected him, and played hard for him. If things start going bad, this locker room could turn on Trestman.

Not Re-signing Urlacher – Sure he wasn’t the same player he once was, but he is an all-time great and an even better all-time leader.  Urlacher’s on-field contributions paled in comparison to his on and off-field leadership. With the firing of Smith and the way the team parted with Urlacher, I believe this locker room is a ticking time bomb which will explode if they do not get off to a quick start.

Hiring Trestman – It is bad enough when you fire a well-liked players coach after going 10-6, but when you replace him with a guy from the CFL who has not been in the NFL for 10 years? I like the track record Trestman has with QBs, and he did win 2 Grey Cups, but the CFL and NFL are two different critters (as Rocket Ismail). While I think Trestman has the potential to develop a potent offense, I don’t like this fit in a veteran locker room that is bitter that their coach and leader (Urlacher) were let go. If things start going bad before he has won over this locker room (like Smith had), this team could turn on him quick.


This team has the potential to be a very potent offense. Potential. Most of that potential rests on the ability of the O-Line to keep Cutler upright and the ability of Cutler to distinguish players wearing Bears jerseys from those wearing non-Bear jerseys. Maybe Trestman can change this, but with Cutler’s attitude I don’t think this tiger can change his stripes.