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John Fox feels 'a lot better' about Cutler after one year

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INDIANAPOLIS -- The Chicago Bears slumped to a 6-10 finish in John Fox's first year at the helm, but the head coach clearly see his quarterback as part of the solution, not the problem.

Speaking to a group of reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine, Fox acknowledged that he feels "a lot better" about Cutler than when he took the job last January.

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"He was probably one of the brightest spots about our first year in Chicago," Fox said. "I saw way more about his mental toughness, I saw way more about how he can control an offense and execute it under pressure. I think that speaks volumes about how successful he was on third down, which is a tough down for a quarterback in the NFL.

"(I'm) very, very pleased with what I saw and what we have to work with moving forward."

Fox said that Dowell Loggains -- the team's offensive coordinator who served as quarterbacks coach in 2015 -- did a "tremendous job" with Cutler. The veteran quarterback cut back significantly on turnovers after leading the league in interceptions in 2014 and posted the highest passer rating (92.3) of his career. He also tied a career high in yards per attempt (7.6), significant in a season in which he didn't have Alshon Jeffery for long stretches or first-round pick Kevin White, who missed the entire year with leg injury.

In other Bears news, Fox touched on Chicago's decision move forward without running back Matt Forte, who will not be pursued in free agency.

"What allowed us to make that decision -- albeit a very difficult decision -- was the confidence we have in our younger backs," Fox said. "Any time a guy of Matt Forte's reputation and what he's meant to the organization. He's such a great, great pro and was for us in the one year we were there and had been for a long time.

"Those are never easy decisions. At the end of the day, I think it was best for him -- the timing -- and I think it was best for us."

Jeremy Langford, Ka'Deem Carey and Senorise Perry populate the Bears' running back depth chart. Fox said no succession plan is in place and that the players will have to "earn" their reps.

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