Bears

Bears need to replace 'old' Jay Cutler? Don't tell that to John Fox

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Bears need to replace 'old' Jay Cutler? Don't tell that to John Fox

BOCA RATON, Fla. – Few topics in Chicago football engender greater emotion than Jay Cutler, particularly his future as Bears quarterback now that he is turning 33 in a month.

As far as his head coach is concerned, there is no discussion.

Not because of Cutler’s age. Not because of Cutler’s performance. Not because of pretty much anything Cutler-related. If you want to talk Bears quarterbacks, talk to Fox about Cutler’s backups, not his replacement.

“He might’ve been the most pleasant surprise on our team of a year ago,” coach John Fox said on Wednesday at the NFL owners meetings. “What’s interesting about Jay, is I don’t see a 32-year-old guy. The moving, the mobility – I see a young quarterback. As long as they move like they’re 28, it doesn’t really matter.”

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Cutler’s roster status is further buttressed by having support in absolutely the highest corners of the organization.

“I’ve said for a long time now that I’m a big fan of Jay’s, on and off the field,” said Chairman George McCaskey. “I don’t think he gets enough credit for everything that he does off the field. He established himself in 2015 – again – as a leader of our team. He had a great year statistically, really solid play, cut down the turnovers.

“We’re looking forward to even more from him in 2016.”

If there is a single epic twist in all things Cutler, it lies in the fact that, unlike Jerry Angelo and the Bears giving Cutler an extension less than a full year after trading for him, unlike Phil Emery proclaiming him a “franchise quarterback” right after inheriting him, Fox and GM Ryan Pace were explicitly non-committal on Cutler this time a year ago.

Cutler then produced his best NFL season in one that began with reservations on the parts of both his coach and general manager.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bears fans!]

“I’d see tape on him. I’d seen stats,” Fox said. “There are a lot of things we evaluate. But until you actually get in a meeting room, get on a practice field and start teaching, that’s really when you kind of find out what kind of student you have. You can’t just look at him across the room or just look at them on film.”

The surprise will be if the Bears do not draft a quarterback sooner rather than later in the draft. Fox prefers to begin training camp with three quarterbacks, ideally four. Right now there is only David Fales behind Cutler.

NFC North standings: Bears fall to last in division with Week 7 loss to Patriots

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USA TODAY

NFC North standings: Bears fall to last in division with Week 7 loss to Patriots

The great Ricky Bobby once said, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” Talladega Nights hit a little too close to home for the Bears in Week 7.

They came into Sunday at 3-2 at the top of the NFC North. After a 38-31 loss to the New England Patriots, they dropped to the bottom of the division.

The Detroit Lions defeated the Miami Dolphins 32-21 to improve to 3-3, leaving them tied with the Bears in the cellar.

The Minnesota Vikings’ 37-17 victory over the New York Jets jumped them to 4-2-1 overall and first place in the division over the 3-2-1 Green Bay Packers, who were off for their bye week.

The NFC North remains the most tightly contested division in the NFL, the only one with no teams under .500 through seven weeks of the season.

The final standings may not be decided until Week 17, and the Bears have already blown the early season cushion they built for themselves while the Vikings and Packers were struggling.

The divisional action will pick up in November, and Chicago only has a pair of games left to put it all together before back-to-back-to-back games against the Lions, Vikings and Lions again.    

Under Center Podcast: Bears lose 38-31 to the Patriots

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USA TODAY

Under Center Podcast: Bears lose 38-31 to the Patriots

Matt Forte, Lance Briggs and Alex Brown join Laurence Holmes to break down the Bears 38-31 loss to the Patriots. What happened to the Bears defense over their bye week, and how did the special teams struggle so bad against New England? Plus – the guys debate Mitchell Trubisky’s decision making in the red zone and Matt weighs in on how the Bears should play his former team – the New York Jets – next week.

0:35– Special teams to blame for loss?

4:12– Where did the Bears pass rush go? 

5:27– Bad tackling followed Bears from Miami

7:25– Are the coaches to blame for the defense after the bye?

10:10– Evaluating Mitchell Trubisky’s game

11:55– Agree with Matt Nagy on Mitch’s “mental” game?

13:30– Trubisky’s red zone decision making

17:10– Are the Bears giving away games so Mitch can learn?

18:00– Bears need to run the ball more

21:04– Matt Forte scouts his former team, the New York Jets

Listen to the full podcast here or in the embedded player below.

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