This weekend’s Bears game may be the one that ends up defining the season as the Bears’ heads of state ponder long and hard about the quarterback and his offense. Jay Cutler has been sidelined with a groin injury for the past six quarters and in his absence Josh McCown has scored three times, hasn’t suffered a turnover, and has posted a quarterback rating of 100. Now six quarters doesn’t a season make, but Cutler’s numbers have been far less impressive. He’s thrown for 12 TD’s and 7 INT’s while posting a QB Rating of 92. Cutler’s best games were against the Giants and Saints where he threw for a pair of scores while not turning it over in the process.
The biggest issue for Trestman and Kromer is to figure out which QB can manage the game well enough to permit the Bears to grab their most important win of the season (well, after the Green Bay win). Cutler had his worse game of the season on September 29 in his loss to the Lions on the road, when he threw three interceptions before he had his first touchdown pass of the game. He finished with a line of 27-47 for 317 yards and those three interceptions. Cutler also fumbled once which led to another score and an ugly 27-point second quarter for Detroit. Cutler’s rating on that day was 65, which is nearly 30 points below his current average for the season.
All of which begs a couple of questions. First, who starts for Chicago? Second, if Cutler gets the nod for the big game, how long of a leash does he have against a team he’s already failed so miserably against. Cutler’s inability to protect the football led to that atrocious loss and now that the Bears have a shot at redemption with first place on the line, in whose hands do we trust?
Josh McCown has been tremendous these past two weeks, and after the bye week he seems settled into his role as the Bears’ starter. Cutler’s in his contract year and losing snaps to an injury or poor play doesn’t bode well for him re-upping with Halas Hall. This weekend’s game will tell us a lot about the future quarterback situation at Soldier Field. Don’t expect to get a decision on the starter until gameday on Sunday.