Jay Cutler doesn’t have 3 years to learn the new offense

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2013 is really a make or break year for Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears. The front office has done their best to improve that train wreck of an offensive line in front of him. They signed an all pro, another guy who’s decent, jettisoned the 1st round pick bust and spent their 1st round on the position this year.

He’s had Brandon Marshall, a legit #1 target, back with again for over a year. And he’ll finally be playing in an offense that suits his talents. Possibly.

So all the pieces are in place for him. Maybe. Jay Cutler called it a “three-year process” to learn an offense in the NFL and using that time frame he has had an opportunity to master only one in his now eight-yea NFL career.

Will this finally be the year Jay Cutler lives up to the hype that accompanied him when he was traded from Denver to Chicago? Like all Chicago sports experts (or at least people perceive me to be a Chicago sports expert for some reason) I received a ton of texts that day saying something to the effect of:

“OMG!!! WE GOT JAY CUTLER!!! WE HAVE CUTLER! WE’RE GOING TO WIN 27 SUPER BOWLS! THIS IS THE GREATEST DAY IN BEARS HISTORY! I’M MORE EXCITED ABOUT CUTLER THAN THE DAY MY KID WAS BORN!!!!!!!!!!!”

Or something like that.

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Four years later, and the Cutler era has produced a 2010 NFC Title game appearance versus the Green Bay Packers; and that’s pretty much it. I don’t want to give the meatheads any more material, so I’m not blaming Cutler for not reaching those expectations. I think Jay has taken everything that’s come his way like a champ. He’s had to deal with the offensive coordinator revolving door, and his offensive line has protected him like….well…they haven’t protected him at all.

Entering Year 5 with the Bears, Cutler is in his fourth system in Chicago.

Dave Wischnowsky, of CBS Chicago.com, wrote a good column about how this year will determine the future for both Cutler and the Bears:

what I’m actually most curious about is what the Bears’ backup plan is in a potential post-Cutler world, something that could arrive as soon as next season.

As the team heads into the 2013 campaign, Cutler will be in the final year of his contract that the Bears extended during the 2009 season. Cutler has said that he’ll never do that again, preferring to negotiate during the offseason. He’s prepared to play the season without a new deal.

The Bears, meanwhile, appear to be comfortable with that situation as well. And on one level, that’s highly understandable, considering that Cutler has been erratic and injury-prone and is yet to prove that his leadership skills are deserving of a long-term, mega-deal from the McCaskey family.

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See, this is why Wisch has such a high Twitter Klout score. Although I still have no clue what Klout really is. I also have no idea what will happen with Cutler and the Bears beyond 2013; I’m not even going to speculate. However, I will say this is THE season that defines his tenure in Chicago. If he wins anything substantial, he’ll be given another chance to enter that elite class of Bears quarterbacks which includes: Sid Luckman, Jim McMahon and uhm….uh….that’s it.

If he doesn’t take the team deep into the playoffs, Cutler will be classified with other Chicago QBs like: Rex Grossman, Kyle Orton, Jim Miller, Erik Kramer, Steve Walsh, Mike Tomczak etc.

Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net. He’s also an author who also contributes regularly to MSN, Fox Sports , Chicago Now, Walter Football.com and Yardbarker

Banks has appeared on the History Channel, as well as Clear Channel, ESPN and CBS radio all over the world. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@PaulMBanks), like him on Facebook

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