Cutler: “I learned a lot of things (last year).”

Jay Cutler is ready to put last year’s struggles behind him, but before he does he wants to make it clear that 2009 wasn’t all bad. At least he learned a couple of things while throwing a league-high 26 interceptions.

From the Chicago Tribune:

“It was a rough year,” he said. “I’m not going to say it wasn’t. I wouldn’t say it was all bad. I learned a lot of things. Had some success in Denver, and then we came here and hit a few speed bumps. But I think it made me a better player. … I haven’t lost any confidence in my abilities.

“You have to play within yourself, get back to some of those things that made you the player you were in the past, and not trying to force it. I think that’s kind of where I got in trouble last year … trying to make some plays, trying to get back in the ballgames, and trying to push the ball down field.”

I think part of the problem last year was that the Bears thought they were better than they really were. Jerry Angelo tried to use toothpaste to fill the holes along the offensive line and the move blew up in his face. Defensively, the Bears weren’t as good as they had been in previous years and when Brian Urlacher went down in Week 1, then things really started to fall apart.

When everyone expects a team to be good and it’s not, its star players start to press, which is what Cutler did. His offensive line didn’t give him a lot of protection, which in turn made Matt Forte useless and the receivers weren’t good enough to rise to the challenge and bail Cutler out. So what happened was Cutler tried to do too much and he usually paid the price for it.

Cutler may work wonders with new offensive coordinator Mike Martz. Quarterbacks usually don’t struggle to learn Martz’s system and tend to improve in their first year. But that doesn’t change the fact that Angelo still hasn’t fixed the problems on the offensive line, so it’s important that Cutler doesn’t fall back into the same bad habits that made him fail last year or else the Bears will be in trouble again.

It’s good to hear that Cutler hasn’t lost any confidence in his abilities, although confidence has never been a problem for him. He needs to trust in his teammates and in turn, his teammates need to step up and help take some of the pressure off his shoulders.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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