Based on what some of his teammates have seen during the offseason, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler looks healthy and fantastic.
Which is what you want to hear after Cutler's performance in the NFC Championship Game last January. By the time he left early in the third quarter, Cutler had completed six of 14 passes for 80 yards, including an interception. He also suffered a knee injury that to some people didn't appear all that injured. (As is turned out, Cutler had an MCL sprain.) It led to a lot of second-guessing by the media and his peers around the league, although Cutler's teammates and coaches staunchly defended him.
It got so bad that Joe Theismann and Donovan McNabb were giving him advice about how to deal with adversity. Now we can add Cutler's backfield mate, running back Matt Forte, to the list of names providing counsel to the Bears' franchise quarterback.
During an appearance Thursday on the "Carmen, Jurko & Harry" radio show on ESPN 1000, Forte said he's forgotten about the loss to the Packers in the playoffs and based on informal workouts, he thinks Cutler has done the same.
"What he has to do is forget what happened, and I think he already has," Forte said. "Just seeing him out when we were running routes, he's 100 percent throwing the ball just like he's always done, taking drops and looks very good. So he has to forget about what happened, and continue to play at that high level he was at winning all those games last year. I think he's going to come out and do that."
One of the knocks on Cutler is that he's not much of a leader. But he's organized informal passing workouts this offseason, and he's keeping in contact with his teammates.
"We had a lot of contact," Forte said. "The weather is crazy up here, but once it finally got good enough to where we can go and safely run routes and catch the ball, we got together multiple times every week. Everybody from the skill positions was there catching balls and running routes. So I think it was a really good thing that he got everyone together."
Forte is a big part of any success Cutler might have. The former second-round pick is entering his third year, and has averaged more than 1,000 rushing yards per season (4.0 YPC). An effective running game will make it easier for Cutler to throw the ball. Now all the Bears need is another big-play wide receiver.