Heading into his ninth season, Jay Cutler is on a streak — and not the kind you want for a quarterback.
Over the last four years, Cutler has missed at least one game due to his health. In 2013, he sat out five games with nagging groin and ankle ailments, thrusting backup Josh McCown into the spotlight.
Fortunately, coach Marc Trestman says, the Bears’ signal-caller is bulking up to stay out of the trainer’s room.
“Jay has really worked hard in the offseason, and he has always been a hard worker in his conditioning and his training, but he has really amped it up,” Trestman told SiriusXM NFL Radio, via the Chicago Tribune.
“He’s bigger, he’s stronger than a year ago, and he has really focused on staying physically well for the entire season. That’s No. 1 — we’ve got to keep him standing, keep him safe. And we see the improvements he’s made in working on different issues in his mechanics, and I think he’s feeling very comfortable back there in Year 2.”
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Cutler is no small fry to begin with, but tacking on a few pounds of muscle couldn’t hurt. If anything, it’ll take some pressure off the offensive line, which allowed ten sacks before Cutler succumbed to injury in Week 7.
And that was an improvement. The Bears’ O-line ranked fourth in the NFL in sacks per pass attempt last season. The unit finished 27th in 2012.
“I thought that we took pretty darn good care of him,” Trestman said. “I think he would agree. We’re going to try to do better this time around, but we’re trying to get rid of those things. I can’t speak for the past; I can only speak for the past as recent as last year. It was really a unique, awkward injury that he had. Hopefully we can get him through safe and get him to play a 16-game season. I know that’s predominant on his mind. If we can keep him safe and healthy, we feel like we can be in every game.”
Chicago hasn’t made the postseason since 2010, in large part because of Cutler’s inability to remain healthy. Until he bucks his dubious trend, the drought is likely to continue.
(Photo credit: AP/Jim Prisching)