By Adam Hoge-
A panel of 14 Score hosts, reporters and producers ranked their top 10 players in terms of how important they will be in determining the success or failure of the 2013 Chicago Bears. We compiled the rankings into one master list and will unveil one of the 10 most important Bears each weekday as we countdown to training camp.
(CBS) No surprise here.
For the second straight year, Jay Cutler is the unanimous selection as the most important player on the Bears.
In many ways, all of the offensive players that appear on this list will impact how much success Cutler has this season, but a lot of it falls on the quarterback as well — especially this season. Now in his fifth year in Chicago, the Bears have finally given Cutler enough to succeed. At the very least, it’s enough to end the excuses.
Among the gifts Bears general manager Phil Emery gave to Cutler in the offseason:
– A new offensive minded head coach that has a track record of success with quarterbacks.
– A revamped offensive line complete with a Pro Bowl left tackle.
– A reliable tight end who can actually catch the football.
This is all in addition to Emery getting Cutler his favorite wide receiver a year ago and drafting another promising young receiver who should produce at a high level if he stays healthy.
Look, no one is claiming that Cutler has all he needs to win a Super Bowl, but he certainly has enough to post a QB rating greater than 81.3, which is what he what he put up a year ago.
All of this comes in a very important contract year for the Bears’ quarterback. He needs to play better and prove that he is coachable. If that doesn’t happen, the Bears almost certainly won’t make the playoffs and there is a decent chance Jay Cutler will be wearing a different uniform in 2014.
The 10 Most Important Bears Panel: Dan Hampton, Hub Arkush, Zach Zaidman, Laurence Holmes, Matt Spiegel, Adam Hoge, Matt Abbatacola, Ben Finfer, Nick Shepkowski, Herb Lawrence, Joe Ostrowski, Chris Tannehill, Adam Harris and Dan Durkin.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.