Last year, the Chicago Bears finished second in the NFL in points per game with 27.8. With the emergence of second-year wide receiver Alshon Jeffery paired with No. 1 wideout Brandon Marshall, the Bears possessed arguably the best 1-2 wide receiver tandem in the league.
The weaponry didn’t stop there. Newly added tight end Martellus Bennett gave the Bears a weapon across the middle of the field and running back Matt Forte, one of the most versatile backs in the league, was a force both running the ball and catching passes out of the backfield.
With all these tools at his disposal, quarterback Jay Cutler was having his most productive season with the Bears until he went down with a groin injury. With Cutler out, backup Josh McCown stepped in and proved to be the best backup quarterback in the league while putting up monster numbers.
If Cutler manages to stay healthy this season, is it fair to add Cutler’s and McCown’s numbers from last season and project somewhere near that for Cutler in 2014? For the record, the two quarterbacks totaled 4,450 passing yards, 32 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Only Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Matthew Stafford threw for more yards, and only Manning, Brees, and Andy Dalton passed for more touchdowns.
But can you really extrapolate numbers like that? It’s not 100% accurate, that’s for sure, but there’s no reason to believe Cutler couldn’t have continued the success he was having had he stayed on the field.
Does this mean Cutler will be a Top 5 fantasy football quarterback in 2014? My hunch is that no, he will not enter that elite category, but I do feel he’ll be in the second tier and will be a solid starter in your fantasy league — assuming he stays healthy, of course.
For those of you who don’t feel Cutler can reach that level, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this scathing piece from USA Today.