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LAKE FOREST, Ill. Koen Casteels Belgium Jersey . -- If the Bears make changes this off-season, it will not be at quarterback. Chicago signed Jay Cutler to a seven-year contract Thursday, ending speculation they might make a change after five seasons of good and bad from their talented signal-caller. Cutler clearly thrived under first-year coach Marc Trestman and now has some of the best complements on offence hes had since arriving in Chicago in 2009. "Its not always been easy," Cutler said. "Theres been some ups and downs. Theres been some bad years theres been some good years. I think it makes me appreciate the moment Im in even more, with the offensive weapons we have, with the type of leadership we have from the front office, with the type of coaching staff we have with the play calling and our (offensive) install. It makes me happy Im here." The Bears also signed cornerback Tim Jennings, who has led the team in interceptions in each of the past two seasons, and guard Matt Slauson to four-year deals. Like Cutler, both players were scheduled to become free agents. General manager Phil Emery said the team and Cutlers agent, Bus Cook, completed contract discussions three days after the season ended Sunday with a 33-28 loss to the Green Bay Packers in a game that decided the NFC North title. Terms were not disclosed, but the deal for the 30-year-old Cutler is reportedly worth nearly $18 million per year over the first three years and includes at least $50 million guaranteed. "I think whenever you have two groups who want to work in the same direction and want the same thing to happen it can happen relatively pretty easily," Emery said. Cutler produced his career-best passer rating of 89.2 in 2013, although he played in just 11 games due to ankle and groin injuries. He completed 224 of 355 passes for 2,621 yards and 19 touchdowns with 12 interceptions. Emery said he was sold on Cutlers return after seeing him in Trestmans offence early in the season. "After the first three games I definitely knew it was going in the right direction in terms of him putting the team in position to win games at the end of the game," Emery said. "That says a lot about the player. I think that Jays third-down passing and fourth-quarter quarterback rating are very high and have been high for a while. He was in the top 10 in both areas this year. I think it speaks of a guy that can be a guy, a player, that is a reason you win." Still, Emery said he wanted to see how Cutler responded to some adversity. He saw it when Cutler came back from a groin strain to face the Detroit Lions in a 21-19 loss and from an ankle sprain to beat the Cleveland Browns 38-31. "How he handled the situation coming back from his second injury and the tremendous pressure that was on him because of the decision we had made to reinstate him as the starter, how he handled that as a person, pregame, game, within the game, after throwing a couple of picks, coming back and being a reason that you win the game," Emery said. "How he handled the Packers and Lions ... thats when I finalized the decision." Cutler feuded with former offensive co-ordinators like Ron Turner, Mike Martz and Mike Tice, but he has steadily climbed the franchise statistical charts and guided the Bears to the NFC championship game in 2010. Under Trestman, he seemed to gain a new lease on life. "The mindset is right and the talent in the locker room is right, so Im happy to be joining the rest of the guys, the rest of the coaches, the rest of the organization in pursuit of a championship," Cutler said. Cutler wouldnt call money the key reason for staying out of free agency, citing familiarity with Trestmans offence as a big factor. He has only been in the same offence for consecutive years a few times in his NFL career, which started in 2006. Trestman found Cutler ran his offence efficiently, even if he had a reputation as a big-play, big-mistake type of player. "Hes been through a lot," Trestman said. "I mean, part of whats brought him to this point is the scars of the last five years and the adversity that hes gone through in getting to know himself better over the last five years. I saw selflessness. I certainly saw mental toughness. When you evaluate a quarterback, you say, does he have an inventory of passes? Can he make all the throws? Does he have mobility? Is he a quick decision maker? Jay has all that." The Bears tabled a few major defensive questions, including the fate of defensive co-ordinator Mel Tucker and whether they should stick with a 4-3 scheme. Trestman and Emery did acknowledge the numerous injuries Tucker dealt with his first season. The Bears lost Pro Bowlers Henry Melton, Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman, as well as middle linebacker D.J. Williams, for big chunks of the season. "I will just tell you were going to be a younger defence," Emery said. "The draft will be focused in that area." Nor would Trestman or Emery rule out the switch to a 3-4 defensive scheme. "Everything is on the table in terms of a discussion," Trestman said. "Phil said it: Were going to get younger. Part of our decisions and how we move forward schematically will be based on the players that are in our locker room." Koen Casteels Jersey .ca look back at each of the Top 10 stories of 2013. Today, we look back at LeBron James and the Miami Heat winning their second straight NBA championship. Mousa Dembele Belgium Jersey . That was OK with him. He was just happy his team came away with two points. Letestu redirected Jack Johnsons shot from the point with 2:38 left, lifting the Blue Jackets past the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 on Monday night.ATLANTA - No one takes losing harder than Rudy Gay, no one on the Raptors anyway. He wore it on his face Friday after the Raptors (1-1) suffered their first loss of the young season, a loss he took personally and accepted responsibility for. "It wasnt that easy for me tonight," Gay said after scoring 14 points on 6-of-23 shooting in Torontos 102-95 road loss to the Hawks. "I have to go back to the drawing board and think about different ways I can attack, get better and help this team win." Gay stood motionless in the visitors locker room, a blank expression on his face as he reflected on a game that slipped away from his team late in the first half. A group of Toronto reserves and a red hot DeMar DeRozan led a comeback bid late in the game but Atlanta had an answer for every Raptors run and the hole was too big to dig out of. "They made tough shots, they got to the line, they played great defence," Gay said, crediting the Hawks (1-1), who shot a blistering 10-of-23 from three-point range in their home opener. "They ran us in transition [and] we didnt get back. Personally, I dont think I helped a lot." The Raptors forward was suffocated by Hawks defenders throughout the game, forcing some tough shots and misfiring on ones he normally knocks down. Amazingly, nine of his 17 missed shots came in the paint, many of them on dribble drives into double coverage. He scored 17 fewer points than DeRozan on the same number of field goal attempts. "They did, they did but that doesnt matter," a frustrated Gay said, acknowledging the pressure Atlanta put on him. "Every team in the league is going to do that. It doesnt matter." Gay knows he has to be better. He certainly has to be more efficient as long as the offence runs through him and he continues to launch the bulk of Torontos shots. He has a believer in his head coach. "He missed some shots, its going to happen," head coach Dwane Casey said after the game. "I believe in Rudy, hes going to make those shots. Thats going to happen, teams are loading up on him." While many of Gays quick shots equated to missed opportunities on offence, he was far from the lone cause of the defeat, as Casey pointed out. Prior to DeRozan catching fire - he scored 23 of his 31 points in the second half - the Raptors offence was ineffective, shooting 35 per cent in the opening half and hitting on two of their first 13 attempts from long distance. For the second straight game ball movement and transition defence were problematic and the Raptors failed to rotate and close out on Atlantas shooters. Jeff Teague (17 points, 12 assists) and Al Horford (22 points, 16 rebounds) resembled the Spurs all-star duo of Tony Parker and Tim Duncan in new coach, and former San Antonio assistant, Mike Budenholzers system. Teague routinely carved the Raptors defence apart in the lane, often finding the open man in the corner or making the pass that would lead to the open shooter. "It was a tough game," said Kyle Lowry, who added 16 points and four assists in the loss. "Weve just got to get back to what we know how to do and thats defending." The game was Torontos first on the road, where theyll play five of their next seven, after an opening night victory at home. Given the nature of the teams newly appointed front office and the roster makeup, this group will feel the pressure to get off to a better start than the one that derailed them a year ago. "We will get off to a better start," Gay promised. "Weve only played two games, you cant compare us to last year. Were going to play a lot better than today I can guarantee that." "Nobody said we were going to go undefeated," Casey echoed. "Nobody said we were going to be perfect. Were still a team that - like Ive said many times - is growing, learning and you can take a lot out of tonight and see where we need to grow." The turning point With neither offence clicking early, the first half was mostly a back and forth affair - with 21 lead changes and three ties - before Atlanta broke the game open with just over two minutes remaining in the second frame. Toronto led 37-36 with 2:15 left in the second quarter before the Hawks went on a 13-2 run, including three triples, to close out the half. "They hit some threes,&quuot; Casey said of that stretch. Custom Belgium Jerseys. "We knew they were a great three-point shooting team and thats what opened it up." "That two minute stretch at the end of the half killed us," Lowry agreed. The Raptors second unit chipped away at the deficit and DeRozan - a one-man wrecking crew on Friday - helped his team hang around down the stretch. "We [expended] so much energy to get back," Casey said, "and I applaud our guys for fighting back, scratching and clawing. But again, its attention to detail right before halftime [and] not letting frustration set in because we miss a couple of shots." DeMars redemption For most of the game - certainly in the second half when he was dominant at times - DeRozan was Torontos lone bright spot offensively. The Raptors guard bounced back after a tough opener against Boston on Wednesday when he shot 6-for-19 and looked a lot like the player that was a standout for this team in the preseason. "He did a heck of a job of fighting through it," Casey said of the pressure Atlanta put on DeRozan defensively. "He had a rough first half. They were sending bodies at him but instead of getting his head down, he got going in the second half, looked to attack and got to the rim, which opened up his jump shot." Stagnant offence For the second straight game the Raptors registered just 15 assists, including six in the first half and one in the opening quarter. "Thats been an issue all through pre-season, its nothing new," Casey said of the ball movement concerns. "We continue to work on moving the ball. We have to continue to work on that and get better." "That team, they really load up really strong," Lowry added. "We have two players who are very individually gifted in Rudy and DeMar so we have to find ways to get those guys the ball but get movement after." Mutual respect between coaches Friday marked Budenholzers first home game as a head coach after spending 19 seasons in San Antonio where he served as an assistant under Gregg Popovich. He and Casey go way back to their battles, both as assistant coaches, in the Western Conference - Budenholzer with the Spurs and Casey in Dallas and Seattle. The two shared high praise for each other. "Hes a really special coach," Budenholzer said of his counterpart on Friday. "Hes really special working with players and developing players, what hes done with some guys over their careers when he was an assistant and now as a head coach. I have a ton of respect for him. I enjoy being around him and I enjoy working with him." "Im so happy he got his opportunity to be a head coach," Casey said of Budenholzer. "He did so much for San Antonio. [Popovich] kind of turned things over to him so a lot of stuff that San Antonio did is to his credit. Hes been doing it for a long time [but] his name wasnt listed as a head coach. Hes a special guy. Hes finally getting a shot." The system Budenholzer has installed in Atlanta shares similarities to the one he and Popovich have run for a couple decades in San Antonio, Casey pointed out. A lot of the pick-and-roll sets the Spurs run for Tony Parker and Tim Duncan fit skill set of Teague and Horford. Casey can identify with Atlantas new coach having gone through a similar situation a couple years back, coming in and preaching new principles with an overhauled roster (the Hawks have eight new players). "Its tough," Casey admitted. "Hes going through that now and it takes time [and] patience. Believe me, theyre closer than we were when [I] first came in. Hes putting in an excellent system." For the second straight game Casey and his team went up against a first-year head coach, having faced the Celtics Brad Stevens on Wednesday. "The coaching professions very cyclical," he recognizes, in the final year of his deal. "Its a tough profession and the new guys coming in brings a freshness to the table. [Budenholzer] brings a freshness even though hes been at it for a long time, being a first-time head coach is different. Talking to [Stevens] the other night, its a different game than the college game. So its a newness but its a players league. Were the keeper of the gate. 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