Chicago Bears: Hot Button

BE: Cutler could be in for big season

September, 11, 2013
Here are some Bears Essentials, as the team prepares to host the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday at Soldier Field:

-- Jay Cutler put up an 85.7 QBR score against the Bengals, which ranked as his fourth highest since joining the club in 2009, and he did that against one of the league's better defensive units.

To kick off Bears Essentials, let’s take a look at what’s Mike Sando wrote about Cutler’s potential contract situation . Remember, Cutler is in the final year of his contract, and if he keeps producing performances like Sunday’s, he’s in for a big pay day.

Sando wrote: "When the Bears' new leadership took a wait-and-see approach toward a new contract for Cutler, a salary-cap manager for another team surprisingly predicted Cutler would eventually command $20 million a year -- whether the quarterback deserved it or not. The thinking was that the Bears or some other team would feel lukewarm on the quarterbacks available in the draft and would see Cutler as the missing piece to winning a championship. It would take only one team to feel that way, the thinking went."

"The problem, of course, was that Cutler hadn't been very good recently. His QBR score since 2009, Cutler's first season with Chicago, stood at a sub-average 48.7 entering Sunday. That ranked 21st out of 30 qualifying quarterbacks over that span. What does such a figure mean? A score around 50 will result in roughly a 50 percent chance of winning. Sixty-five is getting into Pro Bowl-caliber play. Cutler was at 50.2 last season. Here is the fallout: 10 of the 11 starting quarterbacks with non-rookie contracts featuring at least $20 million in guaranteed money signed their deals after posting a single-season QBR score of 58.9 or higher. They were good right before they got paid."

So with a score of 85.7 in his 2013 debut, Cutler was playing at a Pro Bowl level. But can he sustain that for the entire season?

--’s Jeff Dickerson and Jon Greenberg debate the Week 1 debuts of Julius Peppers and Henry Melton in answering a Hot Button question which asks whose play was more concerning between the two. I agree with Dickerson that it’s the easy argument to point a finger at Peppers because of his age, and the fact he didn’t dominate backup left tackle Anthony Collins (who is actually one of the more athletic tackles you’ll see this year). But Peppers has dominated for years and is coming off back-to-back seasons in which he posted 11 and 11.5 sacks. For me, Melton is the player to be concerned about. Why? He’s never been in this position, having been paid big money due to the franchise tag.

Dickerson writes: “This can go one of two ways. Either Melton plays his heart out this year in order to increase his chances of securing a big deal in free agency, or he coasts through the regular season in order to reach free agency healthy, figuring he's already done enough to get a contract from someone next offseason.”

Check out the debate, and answer the poll question. I’m anxious to see how the voting goes in this one.

-- CSNChicago’s John “Moon” Mullin explains why Chicago’s rushing attack needs to show marked improvement for this team to keep winning. Matt Forte gained 9 yards on his longest run against the Bengals. That’s not good enough.

-- Chicago’s defense gave up too many explosive plays against the Bengals, and Marc Trestman wants the team to tighten up in that area. Cincinnati finished the game with five plays that gained 17 yards or more, including three A.J. Green receptions that gained 19 yards or more. That’s too much. In allowing some of those explosive plays, the Bears missed too many open-field tackles. Conditioning seemed to be an issue, as several players seemed to be gassed throughout the game. I anticipate the conditioning will improve as well as the tackling with more live repetitions.


Hot Button: Should Webb start at RT?

August, 13, 2013
J'Marcus WebbJerry Lai/USA TODAY Sports
J'Marcus Webb has struggled but what are the alternatives? Should the Bears stick with him at RT? Hot Button: Vote! Video

Should athletes care what fans say?

December, 19, 2012
Brian UrlacherAP/Jon Ferrey
Brian Urlacher wasn't happy when he heard boos on Sunday. Should athletes care what fans say? Vote in the Hot Button! Video

Hot Button: Play it safe with Cutler?

November, 14, 2012
Jay CutlerAl Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Even if he is medically cleared to play, should the Bears hold out Jay Cutler against the 49ers on Monday night? Hot Button: Vote! Video

Hot Button: Better Bears' D -- '85 or '12

November, 7, 2012
The Bears are on an historic takeaway pace, but is this defense better than the one that went 15-1 and won Super Bowl XX?

Steve "Mongo" McMichael states the case for the 1985 Bears, although he did say the current squad has the edge at one position.

Jon Greenberg said the comparison is not as lopsided as many would assume.

Read their thoughts and vote which unit you think is better.

Read the entire Hot Button.

Hot Button: More dynamic duo?

October, 17, 2012
Cutler, Marshall, Johnson & Stafford Getty Images
Two potent offenses will be on display Monday. Whose duo is more dynamic, Jay Cutler-Brandon Marshall or Matthew Stafford-Calvin Johnson? Hot Button: Vote! Video

Hot Button: 2012 Bears' defense vs. '06

October, 10, 2012
Bears Defense Getty Images
Sure it's early, but this Bears' defense looks like it could be better than the dominant 2006 version. Hot Button: Vote! Video

Hot Button: Too much Cutler analysis?

October, 2, 2012
Jay Cutler AP Photo/Sharon EllmanGive us your thoughts on whether the media is too harsh on Jay Cutler.
Is he the victim of an overzealous media, obsessed with analyzing his every facial gesture? Or is Jay Cutler merely experiencing the type of scrutiny that goes along with being an NFL quarterback?

And is some of the over-analysis a result of his own behavior?

Jon Greenberg and Scoop Jackson give their thoughts, and you can join in the discussion with your vote and comments here.

Hot Button: Is Cutler better than Romo?

September, 26, 2012
Romo & Cutler Getty ImagesTony Romo has better numbers than Jay Cutler, but he's also had way better weapons.
Deciding between Jay Cutler and Tony Romo isn't a Peyton Manning-Tom Brady argument. It's also not like picking between Brett Favre and Jeff George. Both Cutler and Romo are franchise quarterbacks and are on the fringe of being truly elite.

Read more and vote!

Hot Button: Bears or Packers?

September, 12, 2012
Forte-JonesGetty Images
The Bears' offense looks promising, but will it be good enough to out-slug the explosive Packers? Hot Button: Vote! Video

Hot Button: Rest Urlacher until Week 2?

August, 29, 2012
Brian UrlacherBrian D. Kersey/Getty Images
Should the Bears be cautious with Brian Urlacher and rest his knee until Week 2 against the the Packers? Vote now in the Hot Button Video

Hot Button: Will Bears win 10 games?

May, 29, 2012
Marshall-ForteAP PhotoBrandon Marshall raised the hopes of some Bears fans, but Matt Forte's knee is a buzzkill.
We put the Bears' win total at 9.5 and Jon Greenberg and Melissa Isaacson debated whether they'll go over or under.

Read the story and vote here.

Hot Button: More disappointing injury?

May, 7, 2012
Cutler-RoseGetty Images, US Presswire
Whose fate was more disappointing, the Bears and Jay Cutler or the Bulls and Derrick Rose?

Vote in the Hot Button.

Hot Button: V-Jax or Mario?

March, 12, 2012
Williams-Jackson US Presswire
Should the Bears pursue a No. 1 receiver in free agency in Vincent Jackson or another dominant defensive end in Mario Williams when free agency opens Tuesday?

Vote in the Hot Button.

Hot Button: Cutler a franchise QB?

January, 24, 2011
Jay Cutler

His injury flap aside, is Jay Cutler the franchise quarterback the Bears thought they were getting from Denver? Read our takes and weigh in online and on the air. Check out the Hot Button.