Oh, the tangled webs we weave when we say we want to come back earlier than expected. That doesn’t have the same ring to it as the actual saying, but you get the point.
Quarterback Jay Cutler expressed Tuesday his goal of returning to the field earlier than his four-week minimum timetable. Wide receiver Brandon “Dr.Marshall” Marshall predicted Cutler will only miss one week, but judging from the way he was walking — or attempting to walk — toward the locker room after his early exit last Sunday says otherwise.
The city of Chicago was grateful to Derrick Rose when he did not come back earlier than expected, and the Bulls have a better, more explosive point guard for it. Yes, the situations are entirely different, but the point is Cutler can only benefit from rehabbing for the duration of his timetable.
Chalk it up to optimism, but head coach Marc Trestman did not exactly rule out Cutler for Monday’s NFC North matchup with the Green Bay Packers. Rather, he said it was “highly unlikely” the quarterback would suit up for the game.
Giving the fans something to hope for is always in the head coach’s job description, and Trestman dancing around the subject and at the same time not ruling out an earlier return is doing just that. That is not to say the team does not have faith in backup Josh McCown, because they do. Everybody wants to have their starter in for the big games, but in this scenario the risks outweigh the benefits of seeing Number 6 out on the field right now.
Cutler should focus on getting healthy for Chicago Bears
The fact this is Cutler’s contract year should not weigh in to this decision, either. Cutler has proven enough through his stats alone to be given the one-year franchise tag. Through seven games, Cutler has amassed 1,658 yards with a quarterback rating of 91.7.
Keep in mind, this was all with an offensive line, while vastly improved from last season, still allowed Cutler to get sacked 10 times. Bringing him back earlier, especially when he is not 100 percent, would not be reasonable. Then again, let’s say McCown disappoints. Would a team like the Bears settle for the lesser of two evils? That is the question they are faced with until Cutler makes his return. They will have to ponder this, however, while going up against some tough teams in the coming weeks.
The teams in question are against the aforementioned Packers, the Detroit Lions and Baltimore Ravens. If the Bears want to prove they can succeed without their franchise quarterback, they need to win at least two of these games.
Of course, beating two of the division rivals would be great, but doing it with a quarterback in McCown who made his first start in the second half last week after riding the bench his whole career would be the icing on the cake. This would prove to everyone that not only is Trestman the quarterback guru everyone says he is, but that the Bears have depth at a key position in the NFL.
Although the team faces tough competition over the next few weeks, they should err on the side of caution with Cutler and let the new guy take over. The McCown era in Chicago starts now.
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