- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- ESPN.com New York Giants reporter Dan Graziano released his MVP Watch list on Wednesday, and Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler checks in at No. 8, just behind Seattle’s Russell Wilson and Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy.
Here are Graziano’s thoughts on Cutler: “The TV show "House" was about a brilliant, misanthropic surgeon whom no one could stand because he thought he was superior to everyone else, but he was perfectly situated in a place and a job that allowed him to do what he did best and succeed wildly. Marc Trestman's arrival in Chicago as head coach and the quick-strike offense he brought with him have turned Jay Cutler into the football equivalent of Gregory House. And Cutler is loving it.”
The quarterback definitely seems to embrace Trestman’s system more than any he’s played in as a Chicago Bear. Interestingly, Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said Wednesday there’s no difference in the Cutler everyone sees now compared to the one he had as head coach of the Denver Broncos.
Bears coach Marc Trestman spoke with Shanahan in Feb. at the NFL combine about the quarterback he had just inherited upon taking the Chicago head coaching job the month prior.
“We talked in generalities and basically Mike said you're really going to enjoy working with Jay. He's a smart guy. He wants to work. He wants to learn. He's coachable. It wasn't a long conversation, but it was reassuring to hear it from him,” Trestman said. “And I didn't have any reason to think that he wasn't going to tell me exactly what he thought, because I've never known him to do anything other than that.”
Shanahan drafted Cutler with the No. 11 overall pick in 2006, and helped guide the quarterback to a Pro Bowl selection in 2008. Shortly after becoming Chicago’s head coach, Trestman pulled all of Cutler’s Denver film from 2007-08 and dissected it with quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh.
“I talked to Mike (Shanahan), and thought they had done a great job and elevated his game early in his career,” Trestman said. “He was playing at a high level there with a supporting cast. He had three very good receivers, a good line. They were protecting him, giving him a chance to make some plays. So we did. We spent a lot of time on those games and what he did well then.”
Perhaps that played a part of some of the moves the Bears made going into this season. In 2012, the club added receiver Brandon Marshall. Then, in the offseason, the Bears bolstered the offensive line with free-agent tackle Jermon Bushrod and guard Matt Slauson, in addition to drafting guard Kyle Long and tackle Jordan Mills.
The Bears also added tight end Martellus Bennett.
“You’re trying to get the best supporting cast to give your quarterback a chance to be successful, and that’s what I see that they’ve done to give him a chance to utilize his talents,” Shanahan said.