After the Bears traded for Jay Cutler, there was plenty of consternation -- well-founded consternation, given the paucity of receiving talent on the Bears -- that Jay Cutler, no matter how good, couldn't make up for a bad receiving corp in Chicago. People wondered: What's the point of trading for Jay Cutler if he doesn't have anyone to throw to?
Sunday's win over the Steelers should have answered that question for good. The answer is: It doesn't matter. Jay Cutler makes the wideouts, and not the other way around.
Against the Steelers, one of the best blitzing defenses in the league, Cutler managed to make Devin Hester look like a legitimate slot receiver, make Kellen Davis look like a starting NFL tight end, and make Johnny Knox appear to be the best rookie wide receiver since, well, Eddie Royal. This is not a coincidence.
It's the things Cutler does in the pocket, the little sidesteps, that make him so much better than Kyle Orton. Cutler can see the Steelers' pressure, step up in the pocket, and fling a rope into the hands of a just-now-open widout 30 yards downfield. When the ball is on your hands every time, when you have an extra second or two to break away from your coverage, you're going to look good. Cutler makes those things happen.
The theory goes the other way, too: When the Bears lost to the Packers, it wasn't as if Bears wideouts were dropping otherwise perfectly good passes. It was Cutler who had the bad game, Cutler who wasn't making the same throws he did Sunday night.
So, yes, those Bears fans concerned about the Bears' investment in a temperamental quarterback who threw four picks in his Bears debut ... this is what the Bears paid for. Cutler doesn't just improve the quarterback position. He makes the whole offense better. Seem worth it now?
Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.