It’s déjà vu all over again for Chicago Bears fans in 2012. The Chicago Bears went on a long winning streak which had people talking about them as a top team in the NFL, just like last season. Now Jay Cutler is hurt, just like last season. The question now is whether or not Cutler will miss extended time, and how Jason Campbell will perform in his absence.
It could be seen as a positive for the Chicago Bears that they only lost by seven points on Sunday to a Houston Texans team that many consider to be the best team in the NFL. Add in the fact that Chicago lost Cutler at the half and Sunday’s loss could be seen as downright encouraging. But there is more to consider before Bears fans get too excited.
The Chicago Bears have yet to prove over the past few years that they can win any games without Jay Cutler. 2010 NFC championship game, Cutler goes down and the Bears lose. 2011 regular season, Cutler goes down and the Bears plummet from playoff contention. The Bears needed a change at backup quarterback, and they did a great job of making that change by acquiring Jason Campbell in the off-season.
Before joining the Bears, Campbell had started 70 of the 71 games he had played in the NFL. It is not often that a team is able to convince a longtime starting quarterback to be their backup, but the Chicago Bears management was able to do so with Campbell. After the injury to Cutler, fans and players alike have to be as happy as ever to have such an experienced backup.
It has yet to be proven whether or not Campbell will be capable of winning games, assuming Cutler is out for an extended period of time. He was unable to lead the Bears to a victory on Sunday night after taking over at halftime, but it is extremely difficult for a backup quarterback to come into a game and get into a rhythm right away. It generally takes a few series to get the timing down with the receivers and adjust to the speed of the game. Unfortunately for Campbell he only had two quarters worth of possessions to work with, not to mention is was pouring rain almost the entire night.
Campbell showed some positive signs, making a nice deep throw to Brandon Marshall to set up a field goal and also avoiding mistakes as he did not turn the ball over. However, there were times at the end of the game when he continually checked the ball down for three and four yard gains when the Bears needed to take shots down the field. He doesn’t have to try and make the kind of throws that Cutler does, because if he did then he would probably throw eight interceptions per game, but he will need to start connecting on some deeper passes if he hopes to succeed.
Only time will tell whether or not the Bears can win with Jason Campbell at quarterback, and it is not even certain at this point whether or not Jay Cutler will miss any time, but if he does it will be interesting to see if Campbell can break the streak of horrible performances over the past few years by Chicago Bears quarterbacks not named Jay Cutler.