For the third time in less than a week, with a chance to clearly identify Jay Cutler as his starting quarterback when he recovers sufficiently from an injured thumb, John Fox deferred his Cutler-or Brian Hoyer decision.
“I think it's performance-based,” Fox said on Monday. “So anybody that's performing well, I don't think we're going to be likely to change.”
Hoyer is “performing well.” And the Bears won with him at quarterback.
The Bears defeated the Detroit Lions 17-14 on Sunday with Hoyer completing 28 of 36 passes for 302 yards, a second straight 300-yard game for Hoyer, something that Cutler has accomplished just twice in his seven-plus Bears seasons. As important for a defense-based coach like Fox, Hoyer has thrown zero interceptions in his 97 pass attempts since taking over when Cutler was forced to leave the Philadelphia game.
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Though far, far from solely Cutler’s fault, the Bears are 4-9 over Cutler’s last 13 starts.
Cutler has been on a prove-it track with the Fox staff ever since the head coach was hired. Obviously every player is ultimately on a prove-it basis in the NFL, but the No. 1 quarterback is not just another player, and Fox indicated last Wednesday, Sunday night and again Monday that the decision is not a foregone conclusion in Cutler’s favor.
“I'd say right now he's day to day and really right now it's been week to week,” Fox said of Cutler’s status with the injured thumb. “So I don't have a time line. ... I think we'll evaluate it just like we do every position on the football team.
"I think Jay has played a lot of good football. In fact in the cut-ups watching Detroit in last year's two games I thought he played pretty well. We'll evaluate it like everything. Right now I don't like getting into speculation and predictions because we'll know more on Wednesday.”