2009 Position by Position Review: QB

After a disappointing 7-9 record in 2009, it's time to take a look back at the Chicago Bears and discover what went right and what went so incredibly wrong. Monday, we break down the quarterbacks.

2009 Review
From Will Furrer to Jonathan Quinn and Peter Tom Willis to Moses Moreno, now that general manager Jerry Angelo acquired Jay Cutler from Denver, the Monsters of the Midway would finally have a difference maker at the game's most important position.

However, we learned once again that football is a team sport and one player can't turn around a franchise by himself, as Cutler didn't get any support from his ground attack, wasn't given very much time to throw by his offensive line and never got the defensive support he was promised. So instead of being voted to his second consecutive Pro Bowl and leading the Bears back to the postseason after a two-year absence, Cutler instead led the league in interceptions and delivered two fewer wins than the departed Kyle Orton did the previous campaign – and, of course, Chicago missed the playoffs for the third year in a row. The former Vanderbilt Commodore was every bit as good as advertised in terms of talent, but his decision-making on the field was questionable and his attitude off the field was frosty.

While Angelo's decision to reward him with a $30 million contract extension after just five games was a bit premature, Cutler closed the schedule hot as a firecracker and threw eight touchdown passes in his last two games.

Inside the Numbers
Cutler put a serious dent in the Windy City record book despite the fact that he didn't play as well as he could have, setting franchise records with 555 attempts and 336 completions. His 3,666 yards were second most in Bears history and his 27 TDs were third, although his league-leading 26 interceptions will be what everyone remembers about his first year in Chicago.

QB Jay Cutler
Getty Images: Jonathan Daniel

Thumbs Up
The rocket-armed signal caller can make all the throws, moves well both in and out of the pocket and proved to be tough as nails after all the punishment he was subjected to on a weekly basis. Even during a positively wretched performance in Week 10 at San Francisco that saw him throw five INTs before a nationally-televised audience, Cutler put his team in position to win the game on the final snap of regulation.

Thumbs Down
His attitude needs just as much work as his mechanics, as he constantly bickers at officials during the game and could care less about answering questions from the media after the game. Whether it was Devin Hester one week, Greg Olsen the next or Devin Aromashodu the week after that, Cutler has a bad habit of forcing the football to his favorite receiver on that particular day and turned it over too frequently as a result.

2010 Preview
Cutler is far from a finished product and still has a lot to learn about how to be a winner in the NFL, but there is no question he can be one of the best QBs around if he gets better protection up front and one more weapon outside.

The irony is that Cutler was supposed to be more of a winner in Chicago than he was in Denver because he would finally be given a consistent running game and a dominant defense to help him out, yet the Bears finished 29th in the league in rushing and 17th in the league in total defense – the Broncos were 17th and seventh, respectively, by the way. But if the Midway Monsters can block better next year, and Chris Williams moving from right to left tackle late in the schedule seemed to help, Cutler has shown he can move the ball consistently and score plenty of points without a true No. 1 receiver on the roster. Probably for the first time since he was hired in 2001, Angelo can ignore the quarterback position in the draft.

Even though he was arguably the most heavily scrutinized player in football in 2009, much like Rex Grossman was in '06, Bears fans can take comfort in buying that No. 6 jersey because Cutler is going to be around a while.

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John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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