12 Dec 2013
The Chicago Bears are used to searching for one quarterback, so having to make a tough decision between two is new territory. Marc Trestman is going back to Jay Cutler after he's recovered from groin and ankle injuries, but how do you bench Josh McCown after performing at a level Cutler's never reached in his NFL career?
Sure, past history says Cutler is more likely to play better than McCown, but the Bears have enough talent and the right system in place for this offense to keep producing at the higher level it's operated at with McCown.
He may just be another Todd Collins (2007 Redskins) with twice the sample size or a Damon Huard (2006 Chiefs) as he maintains a freakishly-low, fluky interception rate, but the Bears are scoring 2.65 points per drive with McCown compared to 2.00 with Cutler. The latter has showed very little progression through eight years.
However, it has taken the 34-year-old McCown 11 years to throw at least a dozen touchdown passes in a season, making him one of the oldest ever to do that for the first time in his career:
|Oldest quarterbacks to throw 12-plus touchdowns for first time|
|Quarterback||Age||Season||Team||TD||Years XP*||Prev. Starts**|
|*Years of NFL experience|
|**Number of regular-season starts prior to listed season|
Flutie, Brock and Songin all played in other professional leagues. Only Reich did the NFL backup role (mostly in Buffalo) for a long time like McCown.
Late-blooming quarterbacks are a rarity and there's no reason to suspect McCown is the future in Chicago, but why not the present?
McCown's playing so far above his previous career peak that it's hard to imagine he has any shot of sustaining it, but he hasn't failed Chicago yet in all seven appearances he's made this season. McCown's been a nobody, but Cutler is who we thought he was, and nothing more.
The Bears (7-6) close at Cleveland, at Philadelphia and with Green Bay.
This decision will greatly impact the start of Trestman's Chicago tenure, so you can bet this topic will be revisited.
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