NFL Chicago Bears

5 Ways The Chicago Bears Can Cope With The Loss Of Jay Cutler

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5 Ways The Chicago Bears Can Cope With The Loss Of Jay Cutler

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears started the season strong, winning four of their first six games. They were at the top of the standings and on their way to a spot in the playoffs. Those postseason plans have, however, been put on hold since starting quarterback Jay Cutler was sidelined this past week with a hamstring injury. So, the question has to be asked, how can the Bears keep their playoff hopes alive without him?

Well, the answer has to start with backup quarterback Josh McCown. A journeyman NFL player by all definitions, McCown has spent time with six different franchises. Now, he finds himself at the helm of an offense, and a team, that has big expectations this year. He hasn’t had much success at the professional level, but he did perform admirably when he was called upon to take over for Cutler against the Washington Redskins.

The Bears may have lost that game, but they did show signs that they would be able to find ways to win without Cutler. New head coach Marc Trestman has proven to be a shrewd NFL coach. He will be tested the next few weeks without his star quarterback.

Cutler is slated to be out at least four weeks, but it could be longer. Hamstring injuries are notorious for their ability to linger. Today, more than ever, quarterbacks need to be able to evade the pass rush. If the injury doesn’t heal fully, Cutler won’t be able to get back on the field quickly.

It’s been a good year so far for the Bears, and these are the five ways they can cope with the injury to Cutler and keep themselves in the playoff hunt until he comes back.

Ben Sullivan is an NFL writer for Follow him on Twitter @bensullivan52, "Like" him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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5. Focus On The Running Game

Running Game
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Forte is already having a solid season, and he will need to carry even more of the workload now that Cutler is on the sidelines.

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4. They Have A Bye Week

Bye Week
Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

There would have been no better point in the season for the Bears to have their bye week. Cutler is expected to be out around four weeks, so not having a game in one of those weeks can be the difference between watching the playoffs and playing in them.

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3. Don't Ask Too Much Of Josh McCown

Josh McCown
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

No quarterback wants to be called a game manager, but that's usually the best compliment you can give to a backup filling in for an injured starter.

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2. Score On Defense

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

If the offense struggles without Cutler, it will be up to the defense to take over some of the responsibility to put points on the board.

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1. Just Hold On, He'll Be Back Soon

He'll Be Back Soon
Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears are 4-3 heading onto the Cutler-less portion of their season. If they can just hang on, go say 2-2 or so without him, they will still be in contention for a playoff spot when he gets back on the field.