In 2013, the Chicago Bears offense had themselves a breakout year. The most obvious improvement was the efficiency and new found excitement in the passing game. When backup quarterback Josh McCown entered the gridiron in relief of Jay Cutler, even he showed success with the arsenal of weapons available to him on offense.
However, last season’s passing production was the work of Marc Trestman … he’s a big reason for this offensive surge. You could credit Phil Emery as well, but the offensive production is a direct result of Trestman’s system.
In the 11 games he played in last season, Cutler completed 224 of his 335 pass attempts giving him a completion percentage of 63.1%. He also managed to throw for 2,621 yards, 19 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions.
While Cutler was on the field, he seemed to have a preference on who he’d spread the ball to, as the graph below shows.
Jay Cutler 2013 Completions
It’s apparent that Brandon Marshall is Cutler’s favorite with 64 catches; knowing Marshall, he’d be just about any quarterback’s favorite. Behind him was Alshon Jeffery with 50, Matt Forte with 47 and Martellus Bennett with 46. Between these four, Cutler distributed the ball relatively evenly which is a very good thing. By sharing the ball among multiple receivers, it gives the offense more opportunities to open up. Also, if you’ve got the weapons, why not use them.
If Cutler can stay healthy and evenly distribute the ball in 2014, similarly to how he did in 2013, the Bears’ passing game can be just as successful.