As much as you may not like it, Jay Cutler will be the starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears for the opener in September. That became an absolute fact when general manager Ryan Pace proclaimed that Chicago will be moving forward with Cutler for the foreseeable future.
If this is indeed the case, then why did head coach John Fox declare that there will be a quarterback competition to start training camp?
“It’s all an open competition,” Fox said Wednesday at the NFL owners meeting to John Mullin of Comcast SportsNet. “Obviously you’ve got to start somewhere and my experience in football, really in anything, it’s not where you start a competition; it’s where you finish it.”
Does anybody really believe that Jimmy Clausen is going to get the starting job when the 2015 regular season starts? Not unless you are the biggest Notre Dame booster or the most anti-Cutler person around.
It is understandable that a new coach in Fox wants to come out and say that Cutler will not just be handed the job based on tenure or his mega-contract. As Mullin notes in his piece, Cutler will in a way face the first quarterback competition since his rookie year. While it is not if the result will be different than other years—he will be the starting quarterback—it is reassuring to know that Cutler will have to “earn” that spot.
Clausen’s flash-in-the-pan success last season was admirable but does not give him a leg up on Cutler. Yes, everybody and their mother wants Cutler out of town for some reason or the other, but it will not happen anytime soon.
It is not worth having Cutler’s salary on the books and have him ride the pine. The jury is still out on if the Bears stand a chance in the division this season. Those that believe the face-lift the defense received will result in the team being competitive would rather have Cutler out there than Clausen, David Fales, or any quarterback the team takes in the draft.
“I’ve had guys who were third on the depth chart that, by the time we started the opener, they were first. So I can’t tell you what’s happening. If I could, I’d be at some racetrack somewhere.” Fox continued to state to Mullin.
Do not read too much into those statements. Fox is saying what he needs to say in order to spark some sort of flame underneath a quarterback who has become complacent in this city. Still, whether you like it or not, Cutler will be the man come week one.