Love him or hate him, Bears fans, Chicago’s #1 gunslinger is back.
Adam Schefter and others have broken the news today that Jay Cutler has been officially cleared to play and will likely start for the Bears against the Minnesota Vikings at home on Halloween Night.
Bears HC John Fox said QB Jay Cutler has been cleared to play from thumb injury.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 24, 2016
#Bears coach John Fox says Jay Cutler is the team's starting QB.
— Zach Zaidman (@ZachZaidman) October 24, 2016
It will be Cutler’s first start since Week 2 against the Philadelphia Eagles, when he was knocked out of the game in the third quarter with a thumb injury, though it is speculated that he actually suffered the injury against the Texans in Week 1.
Last Thursday’s injury to Brian Hoyer against the Packers dispelled any notion of a quarterback controversy, as the Bears’ backup quarterback will miss the next 4-6 weeks with a broken left forearm. In his absence, Chicago has fallen to 1-6 overall, including three straight losses to the Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Green Bay Packers.
DE Akiem Hicks says QB Jay Cutler was one reason he signed w/ #Bears: "I look forward to him being back on the field."
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) October 24, 2016
Interestingly, the next start for Cutler will also be his 100th start for the team at quarterback.
Given John Fox’s refusal to make a decision on his quarterback until Cutler was “healthy” and Hoyer’s good, if not great, play, it seems as if Fox would’ve been happy not to play Cutler again if he didn’t have to. Naturally, following this injury, Cutler made a miraculous recovery, so it seems as if he probably had his mind made up already.
And in all likelihood, this season will still be Cutler’s last with the Bears, as team sources have expressed that Chicago still intends to move on from him after the end of the season.
Insider Buzz: Bears Will Go Back to Cutler; Still Expect to Move on After Season https://t.co/ICrmy3zVNg
— Jason Cole (@JasonCole62) October 21, 2016
But for now, it’s time to re-embrace the roller-coaster ride that is Jay Cutler. While he’s never going to be the kind of risk-averse quarterback that Fox likes—I’m sure laments for Hoyer/tongue-wagging from ESPN will start the moment he throws his first INT—he undoubtedly gives this Bears team its best chance to win.
It’s obviously unfortunate that Hoyer got injured, of course, but if the Bears wanted to reverse their offensive woes, this switch needed to happen one way or another. Hoyer’s broken arm just took the suspense out of it.
Facing a 1-7 record going into the bye with a tough matchup with Minnesota’s defense coming, it might be a little late, and probably impractical, to hope for Cutler to save the Bears’ season at this point. Crazier things have happened, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
For now, welcome back, 6. I’m sure Alshon Jeffery’s pretty happy to see you.