Posted December 12, 2013

Jay Cutler will start for Bears Sunday against Browns, says Marc Trestman

Chicago Bears, NFC North
Bears head coach Marc Trestman has a great problem on his hands: Two outstanding quarterbacks.

Bears head coach Marc Trestman (left) has a great problem on his hands: Two outstanding QBs. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Update (Thursday, 2:00 p.m. ET): It’s official: Jay Cutler will start Sunday against the Browns, Marc Trestman told reporters Thursday.


There’s no question that journeyman backup quarterback Josh McCown has done an impressive job when he’s had to spell Jay Cutler this season. The 7-6 Chicago Bears are coming off a 45-28 Monday night thrashing of the Dallas Cowboys in which McCown completed 27-of-36 passes for 348 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. Yes, it was against a Dallas defense that leaves writers looking for new words to describe their sieve-like coverage, but it was an outstanding game for him nonetheless. This season, McCown has completed 147-of-220 passes for 1,809 yards, 13 touchdowns and one interception when replacing the frequently-injured Cutler.

That said, when Cutler is ready to return from the ankle injury that’s had him patrolling the sidelines since Nov. 10, head coach Marc Trestman insisted that there will be no change in the overall gameplan — Cutler will start when he’s good to go.

“We will see where Jay is this week,” Trestman said Tuesday. “He’ll have to be released by the doctors. When Jay says he is ready to play, he’ll be playing … We’re taking this very methodically. The doctors understand that. And when [Cutler is] good to go and can have a full week of practice, he’ll be our quarterback.”

Cutler has also played well when he’s been able, which leaves the Bears with the kind of pleasant problem they’ve rarely had throughout the long history of the franchise — what does one do with two quarterbacks who are slinging it so effectively?

After the Bears’ Monday night win, receiver Brandon Marshall tried to put things in perspective.

“Jay’s our guy. Jay’s our guy,” he said. “Before the injury, he was playing his best ball ever … Yes, Josh is doing well. You have to give him credit — he’s playing lights out — one of the best quarterbacks playing right now.

“But Jay Cutler, he’s a special guy. There are some things he can do that other quarterbacks can’t. That’s the physical part. But I put Jay Cutler in any room in the NFL, and he’s the smartest guy in the room. So he brings a lot to the table.”

It may take someone with Cutler’s intelligence to figure this out long term. Cutler is in the last year of his contract, and general manager Phil Emery has said that he will not place the franchise tag on the eight-year veteran. McCown, who has been perhaps the best-ever example of Trestman’s amazing way with quarterbacks, will be a free agent in 2014 as well, but he’s costing the Bears $840,000 in base salary this season, as opposed to Cutler’s $8.47 million.

The Bears have other needs to address in the 2014 draft and beyond (start with help for a front seven that can’t seem to stop the run against anyone), but it seems that they haven’t finished the process of evaluating whether Cutler is worth a large part of their available salary cap in years to come.

8 comments
Mark V.1
Mark V.1

I think the answer is simple: Cutler has yet to show us in 5 years what McCown has shown us in 5 games.  Does that sound like a "franchise" QB to you?

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

How long does a quarterback have to be 'promising' before he becomes a 'bust'. Because it seems long past time for Cutler.

Bobby Hull
Bobby Hull

I appreciate BM defense of Jay Cutler but in reality what has Jay done on the football field. So he has a great arm, doesn't help when he throws into triple coverage. Sulks like a little kid when things don't go his way. Should have been a leader and taken himself out of the ankle sprain game BM just has to look at the stats JMCC is putting up to see how productive he is. Cutler better win or this or else all BM credibility playing Coach goes out the window! . Yep Cutler probably goes down in NFL history as a talented guy, that cant win the big one but was a coach killer in the process.

bay2sierra
bay2sierra

Great. Let the Bears keep Jay Cutler. My 49ers need a good backup quarterback to compete with Colin Kaepernick.

hamburger
hamburger

smart move from bears would be to extend mccown now for few mil a year. let cutler go in offseason. and pick a rookie somewhere in first 3 rounds. if rookie turns out golden in first year, then all is good. but if not, make him a project and let mccown start until rookie is ready. mccown has shown he can carry this team if needed.

dksherlock
dksherlock

Chicago sports reporters, broadcasters and columnists are going nuts these days, repeatedly dishing out the Bears party line that Cutler-is-our-quarterback but many fans - "morons" like me - ignore them, so excited are we over McCown's great play and his classy, professional demeanor!  How terrific to have an athlete just the opposite of the ever-glum, oft-injured,  inconsistent Cutler!  We are beside ourselves with joy as each game is more thrilling than the last!  Bah-Humbug sports gents, we're having a wonderful time, wish you could be here!  

Bearsclone
Bearsclone

@dksherlock Not that sportswriters or columnists need to be especially intelligent or insightful to make a living (Skip Bayless disproves the notion that you even need to be conscious), but...


Cutler has actually had a terrific attitude this year, and has performed very well except when he was clearly injured.   To not play Cutler now that he is healthy would be to waste a resource and create division in the locker room.  As much as you might not see it or like to admit it, Cutler is a superior QB to McCown, which is why he's the starter and why he'll get a huge contract in the off season and McCown will get a very big raise but probably still be a backup, for the Bears or some one else.