The Chicago Bears will have some new, fresh faces on the offense in 2016, but it will be the familiarity of the same system, with opportunities to improve from a year ago, that will position the Bears to have a breakout season.
Having a great offense requires three things: familiarity with the same offensive scheme season after season, a quarterback who is capable of making all the throws and playmakers at each position.
The Bears finally possess all three of those requirements.
Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains commented on what the offense will be like for the upcoming season.
“The shell of the offense will stay the same, it’s been the same since coach Fox has been the head coach. The language will be the same, but it will evolve,” Loggains told the media at Halas Hall this past Friday.
Keeping the same offensive “shell” gives Jay Cutler complete command, familiarity and more importantly, experience. Cutler has been through his fair share of offensive coordinators in the past and has a new one, yet again, this year in Loggains.
Elite offenses in the NFL have all had offensive coordinators who have been with their respected teams for several years. For example, New England (4), New Orleans (7), and Pittsburgh (4).
Cutler will be in his second year in the offense and showed last season that the offensive scheme was one he particularly could excel within. The 33-year-old quarterback posted a 92.3 passer rating, which was a career high for the veteran.
Another year in the same offense, Cutler will learn to utilize more plays in the playbook, which gives him more chances to audible to the right plays when defenses shift into multiple alignments. Knowing more of the offense will make the already versatile Cutler even more multifaceted going into next season.
The Bears have full faith in Cutler going into next season and Bears quarterback coach Dave Ragone thinks No. 6 is at the top of the league when it comes to athleticism.
“Not to slight anybody else in the league, but in terms of athletic ability, I rate him near the top or at the top,” Ragone said.
One thing to remember from last season is that Cutler posted his career-high passer rating with an injury plagued team in which players at all positions were in-and-out of the lineup from week to week.
Imagine what Cutler could do with the duo of Alshon Jeffrey and Kevin White, a more athletic offensive line and young/new faces all around the offense.
Maybe, set a new career high in passer rating?
It’s certainly in the realm of possibility.
To start off the Bears will have an upgraded offensive line. The projected starters going into next season, going from left to right: Charles Leno, Cody Whitehair, Ted Larson, Kyle Long and Bobby Massie.
This is a group of guys who will be capable of keeping Cutler upright and also create big running lanes for the young running backs. The offensive line becomes more athletic with Whitehair at the guard position and Long playing his natural position at right guard.
With the line established and in position to have a great season, this will give running backs Jeremy Langford, Ka’Deem Carey, Jordan Howard and Jacquizz Rodgers plenty of opportunities to make some big plays next season.
This young group of running backs will have to work as a unit to make up for Matt Forte’s consistent production. Still, the budding backfield should be able to make a huge impact for next season.
The wide receivers are also primed to make their impact felt. Jeffrey, White, Eddie Royal and Marquess Wilson make up a solid receiving core. Even the rookie, Daniel Braverman, has a chance to become a go-to underneath target for Cutler. If the unit can stay healthy next season, there is no limit to what they can do.
Also, there’s Zach Miller, one of Cutler’s favorite targets last season. With Miller becoming the number one tight end his production will increase, creating more options for the offense.
With a familiar offense, a quarterback who can make all the throws and playmakers at all the skill positions, the offense is setting up to have a breakout year.