When Jay Cutler left his groin in a pile in DC several weeks ago, we all thought the season was over. Â Once again, an injury to the one competent Bears QB on the roster would fell the entire house of cards and we’d have months of terrible football to slog through. Â But lo, there was another.
The Bears rummaged through the scrap heap and pulled out Josh McCown, and he was pretty good. Â He nearly won a ludicrous shootout in that game, and then after the bye he got a start in Lambeau Field. Â Shea McClellin made himself useful for once and broke Aaron Rodgers’ collarbone and McCown played well enough for the Bears to win the game.
After Cutler rushed back (too soon) and got hurt again in a loss to Detroit, McCown played well in a tornadic victory against the Ravens and in a head-scratching loss to the Rams. Â He did not (despite good stats) play well in a road loss to the Vikings, but then last night he went crazy on the Dallas Cowboys (helped in no small part by two dropped interceptions and another that was called back because of a penalty.)
So despite Cutler missing parts of two, and all of three other games, the Bears are still in the playoff hunt because for once the backup quarterback has been good, not just a handoff machine.
Bears fans must be pretty appreciative that the new head coach has such a good offensive scheme, and does such a good job of managing the players in it, that the Bears have survived to this point.
These are Bears fans, and they are the dumbest.
It does not help that the media who cover the Bears are even dumber.
So here’s what we live with day to day.
The fans and media think the coach is a dummy because he allowed his kicker (who was one made field goal away during the game from being the most accurate kicker in the history of the NFL) to try a game winning 47 yard field goal, indoors. Â To the fans and media, all of the good Marc Trestman has done this year was washed away by the fact he didn’t run one more play to move three yards closer so Robbie Gould could have missed a 44 yarder instead.
The fans and media are convinced that Jay Cutler is not a good quarterback. Â What proof do they have? Â He throws interceptions, he occasionally yells at his linemen and he didn’t play the second half of an NFC Championship Game with a torn knee ligament, even though he played several ineffective series on it late in first half before it was determined that it just wasn’t going to work. Â Jay is not gritty enough for their tastes.
They love Josh McCown now, which is cool, because Josh is a great story, and by all accounts he’s a great guy. Â His teammates love him, and even Jay likes him. Â He’s also smart enough to know that not only will Jay be the quarterback when he’s healthy enough, but that it’s the right move. Â We should be enjoying the hell out of his inexplicable run of good play from a guy who just a couple years ago was a high school assistant coach, and who, just a few years before that was playing two games at wide receiver for the Matt Millen Lions (everybody played wide receiver for the Matt Millen Lions). Â But we can’t fully enjoy it because so many of the idiots who follow and cover this team have decided that the 34 year old McCown should be the starter and that Jay, whose contract expires at the end of the season, should leave so the Bears can use the money they save to miraculously hire seven or eight good defensive players to fix that half of the team.
They ignore that while McCown has put up excellent numbers, that he’s done it against less than stellar defenses (the Cowboys defense makes the current Bears defense look like the ’85 Bears, the Packers defense is terrible enough but in that game Clay Matthews didn’t play, the Ravens defense has stunk this year and Haloti Ngata missed that game which helped even more and the Rams played without 75 percent of their starting secondary.) Â If you think some of McCown’s great play is a mirage, well, you’d be right.
See what these dopes do? Â They force me to denigrate one of the best stories in the NFL because they can’t help themselves but overstate its meaning.
Their theory, if they even bother to have one, is that Trestman is such a good quarterback guru that he can turn McCown into a long-term success because he did something similar a decade ago with Rich Gannon. Â MCCOWN IS BASICALLY THE SAME AGE AS GANNON WAS!
Every year just bring in a new 34 year old quarterback for Trestman to mind meld. Â Why that seems fool proof!
Jay has played well this year, because yes, the offense is better than any he’s ever played in since he left Denver, and the skilled players on the Bears are actually very skilled, and for the first time since the trade that brought him here the offensive line is competent. Â The only game he played poorly in was the first Detroit game. Â If this offense is rolling now with McCown, logic says it would really be a sight to see with Jay healthy and running it.
One of McCown’s biggest problems is that when the Bears get into the red zone he has a hard time completing passes. Â The windows get tighter and he doesn’t have a great arm, he’s also not nearly as adept at throwing jumps and fades to Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeff(e)r(i)ey(es) as Jay. Â He’s also been bailed out the last couple of weeks by interceptions that were either nullified by penalties or just dropped.
Long term, it’s folly to think of McCown as the answer at quarterback. Â Jay’s going to be more expensive. Â Why? Â Because better things cost more.
In a perfect world the Bears sign Jay to a long term contract and resign McCown. Â That might happen, but given the dearth of quality QB play around the league, some team is going to give McCown a starting chance so he’ll leave, and the Bears will have to groom another backup.
That’s fine. Â It’s Trestman’s job to find and mold the right one. Â The Bears could use an actual developmental QB as well. Â Maybe they can draft Jordan Lynch and be the only team in the league whose starting fullback is also their third string quarterback? Â Nah.
I’ve enjoyed the Josh McCown experience, despite the fact that so many out there are actively trying to make me hate it because they lack any kind of actual context.
Just excuse me for actually thinking the better player should play when he’s ready.