BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – Jimmy Clausen will not be taking Jay Cutler’s starting job during this training camp, preseason and into the regular season. No surprise or large leap of analysis there.
But it is also no stretch of speculation to assume that the new coaching staff will allow the Bears to wobble to a 5-9 record before making a change, as was the case in 2014. It took three straight dismal performances by Cutler, in which he threw seven interceptions vs. six TD passes, before the offense tried pulling another lever (Clausen).
How well Cutler takes to yet another coordinator and offensive scheme almost don’t matter. Every offseason and training camp have been marked by feel-good platitudes that ultimately have meant nothing.
Coach John Fox and GM Ryan Pace have declared Cutler the starter, but at the same time have used phrases like “performance-based” to describe the NFL. Clausen is not being installed as anything like a replacement for Cutler. But the pressure on Cutler this year will be coming from more than opposing defenses.
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“I don’t know that there is much about the NFL that involves security,” Fox said. “I don’t want guys looking over their shoulder. I have always felt there are two types of pressure, those you feel and those you apply and if a guy takes that mind-set and he keeps applying pressure, whether he is the backup or the starter, if he’s applying pressure to the rest of the league, I don’t really care.
“But I think it is important to have that motivation every day regardless whether you have it sewed up whether you are a first ballot Hall of Famer playing the position or you are a backup trying to take a guy’s spot. You want that burning every day and that is how you get better.”