Thursday, August 6, 2009

Bears Receiving Corps - Impacts of Cutler

This article by SI’s Don Banks got me thinking. What’s a good season for Jay Cutler this year? What would make people in Chicago say, “We got a good deal?” There’s little doubt in my mind that Cutler – who has a 63% completion rate for about 8,000 yards and 45 TDs vs. 32 INTs the last two seasons – will not hit those numbers again this year. But what would be good for him?

If Chicago’s going to pass the ball more … a LOT more, according to this article … then how can we define success? My personal feel would be around 3,500 yards, 20 TDs and 14 INTs – that’s basically his ’07 season – would be a good starting spot.

So the question is, who’s the beneficiary of those 500 yards and 2 TDs over what Orton did last year? With no receivers with more than 665 yards last season, there’s got to be someone that can pick up, right? Yeah, this is sort of turning into a fantasy football post…

I think the primary beneficiary almost has to be Greg Olsen. He’s coming into his 3rd year, and (according to the above article) is developing quite a rapport with Cutler. More particularly, he’s their best receiver. Let’s call it a move from 574 yards to 800 yards. 5 TDs is still good, but I could see 6 or 7.

Matt Forte is probably another one, though it’s tough for me to see a RB improving on the 63 catches (top on the team) and 477 yards. He was third in receiving yards for RBs last year. Still, he could get more shots at it. Let’s bump him up to 550ish.

That’s about 300 of the yards. Which gives another 200 to spread among the WRs. Hester probably gets a majority of those unless you think someone from that crappy group is suddenly going to go insane. Still, that puts Hester around 850 yards for the year. Yawn…

The Bears passing game should be pretty interesting to watch next year. It’s possible Cutler does a good bit better than this. It’s quite possible he actually comes closer to 4,000 yards on the season. Last year he had 4,500 yards and 25 TDs. So 3,750 yards and 22 TDs shouldn’t at all be shocking. Suddenly the Bears would have some viable FFL options in the passing game. And if he hits 4,000 yards, there will definitely be at least two.

No guesses on what he’ll actually do. But I do think it’s safe to bet the passing game will be better this year than last by a somewhat significant margin. Olsen could have a big year.


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