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posted: 8/1/2014 5:18 AM

Is it too early for Cutler MVP talk?

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  • While Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is in position to have a big season with his offensive unit returning, Mike North says Cutler doesn't need the pressure of any MVP talk.

    While Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is in position to have a big season with his offensive unit returning, Mike North says Cutler doesn't need the pressure of any MVP talk.
    Associated Press


I'm doing something I didn't think was possible this NFL season -- I'm jumping on the Jay Cutler bandwagon.

While there is MVP talk swirling around him (and hopefully that is a possibility), my first goal for him is to play better than Josh McCown did last year as his backup. If Cutler can sustain that level of play for an entire season, he has a chance to be an MVP candidate.

But why would anyone put that weight on his shoulders this early in the season? Right now the picture is bright -- his contract is set, he is at a new maturity level, and it appears he has all the weapons to make things happen on the field.

Dare I say, "All the pieces are in place?"

My main concern is his health because Cutler hasn't played a full season in the last four years. He is still young at 31, but will he continue to be susceptible to injury? His history suggests he won't make it through 16 games, but how many quarterbacks do?

I want Cutler to get it done. He's talented, and although he has taken a beating from lack of protection, he managed to play in 15 games two of the last four seasons, proving he can bounce back.

His skill position players (Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffrey and Matt Forte) are all playmakers. Cutler will have to put up points, but his defense needs to deliver, and the team's place in the standings will also dictate whether he will be MVP or not.

Hey, let's win some games and the rest will take care of itself.

NBA Eastern up for grabs:

I recently wrote a column saying I was on the fence about whether the Chicago Bulls should acquire Kevin Love, and I would be good either way with the trade.

Now that looks like the Cleveland Cavaliers will be cashing in to acquire Love, let the games begin.

The Bulls will still have Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol, Doug McDermott, Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler, and -- oh yeah -- Derrick Rose.

Miami Heat president Pat Riley says his team will be viable this year, and the Cavs are an early favorite in the East with LeBron James and Love.

How much fun is this going to be?

Don't forget the Washington Wizards are waiting in the wings hoping for their hometown guy (Kevin Durant, 2016 free agent). The Indianapolis Pacers, who are still favored by some, could battle the New York Knicks for the seventh and eighth spots. The 2014 Charlotte Hornets will be better also, so the East all of a sudden looks stronger.

Even though the Cavs are favored by many people, their lack of depth might be a problem. From my perspective, it's anyone's ballgame and a healthy Derrick Rose could make all the difference for the Bulls.

Can't wait.

Program notes:

Follow me on Twitter@ north2north, and listen to Fox Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman and myself from 5-8 a.m. Monday through Friday on Fox Sports radio, and check me out on iHeart radio or

• Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at For more, visit

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