Let's be honest here. The Chicago Bears' defense has been responsible for planting seeds of doubt in optimistic Bears fans' heads all season. The most-recent seed was planted via their 45-point, 499-yard nightmare effort against the Washington Redskins, which resulted in a 45-41 Bears loss.
But the unquestionable story was the injury to quarterback Jay Cutler -- reportedly out "at least" four weeks with a torn groin muscle. And while fans can (and do) argue the legitimacy of Cutler's ability to lead the Bears to something special, inserting Josh McCown doesn't exactly leave Bears fans racing to punch playoff tickets.
There are very few teams that can withstand the loss of their starting quarterback, so I'm not knocking the Bears for a possible fall-apart over the second half of the season. What I am knocking is the Bears organization's method of filling their backup quarterback role. If it's not Shane Matthews filling in for Jim Miller, it's Caleb Hanie, Jason Campbell, or Josh McCown filling in for Jay Cutler.
To McCown's credit, he's performed capably both at the end of 2011 and so far this season. But while we're being honest, there is a reason this guy is 34 years old and only has 33 starts in a 10-year career: He's not a starting quarterback. But McCown is just yet another addition to the Bears' baffling decision-making when it comes to staffing the backup-quarterback position.
It's tough to fault the current Bears administration -- Mark Trestman's first year as head coach, Phil Emery's second year as general manager -- but the Bears are historically known for being razor thin at the quarterback position. In recent years, that can partially be blamed on their reluctance to allow young quarterbacks to fill the void created by an injured starter -- recently meaning Jay Cutler.
It's wrong to think that all young, untested quarterbacks are undiscovered superstars, but it's also wrong to say there aren't any that are -- Colin Kaepernick would be a recent example of this. Instead of the Bears searching for a young quarterback who might be something more than film suggests, they continuously rely on journeymen quarterbacks who barely give the team a chance to win. If you're going to tank either way at the loss of your starter, why not attempt to give young quarterbacks an opportunity and hope you get lucky?
But now with Cutler's injury (and an equally uncertain future beyond this season), the Bears are once again left with nowhere to turn at quarterback. With a coach like Mark Trestman in place to develop a young quarterback, the lack of one is a crying shame.
Of course, maybe Cutler will return from his injury and lead the Bears to a Super Bowl and all this fretting will be entirely moot. I can't say I'm holding my breath.
Brian is a lifelong Chicago Bears follower. Living in Illinois his entire life has given him an opportunity to closely follow Chicago sports and has allowed him to contribute to Yahoo Sports,Yahoo Voices, and various independent sports blogs. Brian is also a senior in college majoring in creative writing.
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