Mike Tomczak or Doug Flutie? Rudy Bukich or Bill Wade? Bob Avellini or Vince Evans? Rex Grossman or Kyle Orton?
Jay Cutler or Brian Hoyer?
Bears teams have been divided internally, sometimes into hostile camps, over which of two quarterbacks should be starting. That situation developing this season is unlikely — now — but what about when when Cutler, elected by teammates as a co-captain, is back from his thumb injury?
“I think we’re managing it well,” coach John Fox said. “It kind of is what it is, and everybody on the team knows that Brian Hoyer is the quarterback right now and that’s where all our focus is going. I think Jay understands that, too. Moving forward, I can’t predict the future, otherwise I’d be in a different line of work. But I think everybody’s handling it professionally.”
As far as defensive end Willie Young is concerned, “I don’t know. That (has) got nothing to do with me, to be quite honest. Yeah, that’s got nothing to do with me. I deal with Vic (Fangio, defensive coordinator) all day every day, so I’m too busy trying to figure out how to cover a seam route, a wheel route, quarter flat, seam flats. So I honestly don’t even get into that part of (the quarterback question).”
What the Bears plan to do with Cutler has developed into a true two-part question. One is long-term, as in what the organization will do next offseason when Cutler’s contract no longer calls for guaranteed money as it has the past three.
The other is decidedly short-term, as in when the quarterback is deemed recovered from his thumb injury sustained during the game against Philadelphia, will he return to his spot as Bears starting quarterback.
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Best guess is that plans and courses of action have been calculated for the 2017 offseason. But as far as the immediate Cutler-Hoyer future in remaining 2016 games:
“We don’t have a plan,” Fox said Monday. “Right now we’ve got two guys healthy in Matt Barkley and Brian Hoyer, and those are our quarterbacks right now. I think all our focus is there right now.”
Cutler had his right hand in a hard wrap during Sunday's 29-23 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. The thumb ligament was injured at some point of the Eagles game, and until it is to the point of Cutler being able to take direct snaps and grip a football enough to throw it at an NFL level, the discussion is just that: talk.
“Right now, (Cutler playing) is not a reality, so I don't like to get too much into that,” Fox said. “But I think Brian's played well. Unfortunately we didn't play quite well enough. If we score on that last drive, we win the game. But it did not materialize.”
Part of Cutler’s job as a co-captain is to keep teammates on point, on message, and keep the locker room unified. Like most players, he’s close with some, less so with others.
“Just that obviously it’s a tough spot,” Fox said. “You have to be a tough guy. In this business you’re under attack. It just comes with the territory; that’s why we’re all compensated pretty well. I think he understands that. He’s been through that probably much longer than I have. So he’s a tough-minded guy, and I’m sure he’s doing OK.”