LAKE FOREST, Ill. -

Jay Cutler can envision bigger things for the Chicago Bears' offense. It just might take some time.

The Bears will step onto the field with a decidedly different cast when they open the season at the Houston Texans on Sunday.

"The talent level is definitely there," Cutler said. "We've improved in a lot of different areas. How it is going to go on Sunday, I mean we're confident and I'm sure they are confident as well. This group I think has the potential to get better and better each and every week."

The Bears certainly had plenty of room to grow coming off a last-place finish in the NFC North at 6-10.

They go into their second season under coach John Fox and general manager Ryan Pace with an overhauled defensive front seven and no shortage of new players on offense. They added a major one this week when they signed three-time Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton after he was a surprise cut by Green Bay. That had to make Cutler a happy man.

After all, a quarterback who in the past took more than his share of big hits behind weak lines in Chicago now has two elite guards in Sitton and Kyle Long. That can't hurt with J.J. Watt staring at them this week.