Bears envision better days ahead for QB Jay Cutler

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Bears QB Jay Cutler. (AP)

INDIANAPOLIS — Expect bigger and better things from quarterback Jay Cutler. That would be Adam Gase’s message to Bears fans for the 2016 season.

“I see him getting better,” Gase said.

Cutler, of course, will have to do that without Gase, who left the Bears to be the Dolphins’ coach. But Gase would know better than anyone where Cutler is headed.

“He’s got some continuity with [new offensive coordinator] Dowell [Loggains] and the rest of those guys on the offensive staff,” Gase said. “Having coach [John] Fox there is good for him. He’s going to be able to get better. At this point in his career — he’s going to be 33 [in April] — and coming off this last season, you’re starting to see some of these quarterbacks when they get up in age, they’re starting to play better. They’ve seen more. They understand the game. I can see [Cutler] having a better season than he did last year.”

Gase’s words are just part of the storyline that’s different from last year’s NFL Scouting Combine, where general manager Ryan Pace and Fox opted for a wait-and-see approach with Cutler and didn’t offer much public support.

Fox said Wednesday the team feels “a lot better” about Cutler. He was voted a captain by his teammates and posted a career-best 92.3 passer rating, which included only 14 turnovers after having a league-worst 24 in 2014.

“You file things and you put it back there, but you always like to figure it out on your own,” Fox said. “And [Cutler] was probably one of the brightest spots about our first year in Chicago.

“So I saw way more about [Cutler’s] mental toughness. I saw way more about how he can absorb an offense and execute it under pressure. That speaks volumes for how successful he was on third downs, which is a tough down for a quarterback in the NFL. But I was very, very pleased with what I saw and what we have to work with going forward.”

Cutler’s success despite having an injury-plagued receiving corps played a role in the team’s quick decision to promote Loggains after a season as quarterbacks coach. There is continuity for Cutler, but Pace also said he’s excited about the new wrinkles that Loggains will add.

“We feel Jay played well last year, “ Pace said. “We feel he’s going to play even better next year, and having Dowell in place kind of continues that progression.”

Gase said there shouldn’t be any concerns about his departure having a negative impact on Cutler.

“[Loggains’] relationship with Jay is off the charts,” Gase said.

Gase considered Loggains’ input with game plans and calls invaluable. But there is a different, more intense side to Loggains that works well, too.

“He’s an alpha,” Gase said. “He is not afraid to butt somebody up. He will tell guys exactly what he thinks.”

All of that means expectations should be raised for Cutler.

“[Loggains is] a heck of a young coach,” Fox said. “He’s worked with people philosophically that I share ideas with offensively. I thought he did a tremendous job with Jay. That was a big reason for Jay’s kind of success this year.”

Follow me on Twitter @adamjahns.

Email: ajahns@suntimes.com

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