Cool Your Jets On Josh McCown, Chicago Bears Fans

By Brian Neal
Josh McCown Jay Cutler
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

I knew it was going to be a strange day today when I went to physical therapy for treatment on my bulging disks and my chiropractor started rapping the theme song to The Beverly Hillbillies. It was awkward, but it wasn’t entirely awful…

Of course, shortly after that is when I looked at Facebook and Twitter and saw the massive overreaction to Chicago Bears quarterback Josh McCown‘s performance last night in a season-changing victory over the Green Bay Packers.

Now, don’t get me wrong. As a Bears fan, I’m extremely grateful for, and certainly enjoyed how productive a night he and the offense had. But if you’re going to sit there and tell me that McCown is better than Jay Cutler and that he should be the new starter, well, that’s just ridiculous.

First of all, McCown barely completed 50 percent of his passes, going 22-for-41 on the night. Cutler has completed 65 percent of his passes on the year.

What made McCown so successful was he didn’t try to do too much, and he made smart decisions with the football. He threw the ball away when he didn’t have anything, and he didn’t throw into tight windows, because let’s face it, his arm isn’t strong enough to. He’s simply a veteran who can get the job done when he has to, which is fantastic. Really, I do appreciate everything he’s done while Cutler has been out with his groin injury, and from what I hear, he’s one of the nicest people in the NFL — which in a very non-sarcastic tone is great.

But let’s take a look at his history, which by the way goes pretty far back, considering he is 34 years old and in no way, shape or form could be the future of the Bears’ quarterback spot.

He’s got a career passer rating of 72.7. He’s thrown only 40 touchdowns to 44 interceptions, and has only completed 58 percent of his passes.

Cutler, on the other hand, has an 84.6 passer rating (and the best passer rating in the history of the Bears’ franchise), 148 touchdowns to 107 interceptions and has a 61.1 completion rate. Not to mention, he’s doing better this season in Marc Trestman‘s new offense than he has in any year of his career with a 91.7 passer rating, 12 TDs to seven INTs and, again, is completing 65 percent of his passes.

Speaking of Trestman’s offense and his play calling, that is truly the reason why McCown has had success in the past two games. In the past few seasons, whenever Cutler has gone down with an injury (couple concussions and a broken throwing-hand thumb), the backup play has been terrible whether it’s been Caleb Hanie, Jason Campbell or McCown himself.

And don’t forget that rebuilt, trustworthy offensive line, two very good receivers and terrific tight end. The journeyman quarterback has been put in a situation where he can succeed as long as he doesn’t make mistakes, which thankfully, he has not in his seven or so quarters of action.

I’m not sure if Cutler will be back with the Bears next season, and it really does depend on how he plays once he returns likely this Sunday or the following. However, to sit him in favor or McCown is ludicrous and completely pointless.

Cutler is still young enough that he can be re-signed to a four- or five-year contract if he continues his stellar play from the first seven games he played. And you know what, if he does, then he does deserve a contract to stay with the Bears because finding a quarterback you can win with is tough.

No. 6 has proven that he’s got serious potential in this offense that finally has a great play caller and pieces to make him better. People forget that his offensive line was pitiful the first four years of his time in Chicago, his offensive coordinator and head coach did nothing for the offense and he didn’t even have one reliable receiver until Brandon Marshall was traded for last season.

My whole point here is, we can’t lose perspective. Cutler, or a first-round pick in this upcoming draft, is going to be the future of the Bears — there is no other scenario — and we need to see if Cutler will be that guy by getting him on the field as soon as he’s ready.

McCown had a great couple of games as the backup, but that’s all he is and he’s not the answer, nor is he as good a quarterback as Cutler.

The sooner we move past that notion, the faster we can all get back to having a normal day.

Brian Neal is an NFL and NBA contributor for Follow him on Twitter @brianneal23, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google+.


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