Jay Cutler’s preseason passes are being caught at a near-perfect rate. Sort of. Only one of his preseason passes has hit the ground — 10 of his 13 attempts caught by his intended targets, two by opponents. He also has been sacked three times in 16 drop-backs, although only once by his doing.
The interception and sack rates are unacceptable for a team that intends on playing more than 16 games this season. Cutler’s decision-making was, by his own admission, at the root of the two interceptions. The need now is for him to take significant positive steps in what he himself terms as a “quarterback-friendly” offense.
“You get rid of the ball,” Cutler said. “You're not back there going through reads. It's quick. You get it to playmakers and we're going to mix in some play action.”
Cutler’s ability and willingness to get rid of the ball quickly is a tipping point for the offense, for the line as well as receivers as well as the coaches, who designed plays based on certain assumptions of their quarterback.
If there are concerns about Cutler through two meaningless games, they are because the problems (quick release, reads, avoiding sacks, ball distribution) are precisely the ones that plagued Cutler through much of his time as a Bear. Josh McCown will take over in the second half, but the Oakland game becomes a potentially telling indicator on Cutler as much as any other aspect of the 2013 Bears.