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Well, that was fun while it lasted.
Oh who am I kidding. This hasn't been fun and it hasn't lasted all that long.
That said, there's plenty to discuss.
It seems in the absence of a compelling season, we've got a quarterback controversy to sort out here in Chicago.
Since Jay Cutler's thumb wasn't entirely severed from the rest of his throwing hand, it stands to reason that:
B) He will return to the active roster at some point in the near future.
Given Brian Hoyer's more-than-capable performance through the past three weeks, coupled with the fact that the Bears' payroll is vastly under the salary cap, rumors have begun to swirl that Cutler will be dealt before the trade deadline.
I doubt this scenario will come to pass, largely because the Bears would have to send a pallet of Marlboro Lights to the destination city and the cost of cigarettes in Cook County likely would push most franchises over the cap limit.
Even if a willing suitor is found, it's fair to ask what the Bears could expect in return for Smokin' Jay's services when, rightly or wrongly, the past two coaching staffs have done all they can to devalue the notoriously aloof signal-caller.
I mean in the football sense. Marc Trestman didn't publicly call Jay a "mongoloid" or anything.
Privately, he called him a "mouth-breather," an "ass-master" and towards the end of the 2014 season would simply hold up a flash card with "Fuck you, motherfucker" printed on it.
Though is that last one technically an insult? I guess it depends on how hot the mother in question is. Or how willing.
Or maybe she had Totino's Pizza Rolls and gin at her place. Look, I'm here to talk about a hypothetical future, not an alleged past. Let's move on.
The guaranteed money on Cutler's contract ends this year, so even though he doesn't become an unrestricted free agent for several years, he could still bring back some value.
If you consider a mid-round pick "valuable."
Recent performances by Jordan Howard might convince you that it can be.
As a team with their QB's arrow pointing down and the promise of reuniting former Bear Adam Gase with Cutler, the Miami Dolphins have been tabbed as a potential dance partner.
The Gase-Cutler tandem enjoyed real success last season and Miami has proven itself willing to spend money, but I'd like to offer up Cutler's former team, the Denver Broncos, as a better option for all parties involved.
Ah, doin' it with the ex. Feels icky at first, but they know what you like.
Oh yeah. They know what you like.
Even with numerous big-name departures from last year's championship squad, the Broncos fancy themselves a contender. Denver currently has a rookie QB subbing for an injured QB with about 14 months' worth of experience.
Even Cutler detractors would admit that he is an upgrade at the position for Denver; at least in the short term.
If Chicago's brass finds they have the Rocky Mountain Oysters to execute the deal, their expected haul could be as high as a fourth-round pick.
A fourth sounds a little much, you say?
Consider that the Broncos are dealing from a position of need and they're a younger team than you think.
They won't want to swap any of their veteran leadership at this juncture so I suspect picks are one of two options that Denver would bring to the table.
Here's the other option: Why not see if the Bears can use Cutler to acquire one of Denver's young QBs?
Despite the fact that he was the starter before injury, 2015 seventh-round pick Trevor Siemian is likely more available than 2016 first-round pick Paxton Lynch.
Lynch could continue starting for another two weeks while Cutler gets up to speed and then head back to the bench to start learning more than one page of the playbook.
The Broncos would get a nice temporary upgrade at QB while responsibly developing for the future.
As for the Bears, think about what kind of a player Siemian can become if learns at the knee of the great Brian Hoyer!
Seriously though, the Bears have no quarterback of the future on the roster. This move would help both teams without setting either back.
I'm in the minority, but I like Jay (insert obligatory "Dooonnn't Caaaarre" meme) and I think he's gotten several rough breaks during his time in Chicago that have made him much less successful than he might have been elsewhere.
But given where this season is headed and the total lack of a QB queue for the organization, even unapologetic Cutler apologists like myself should start making a case to have Jay's ticket out of town punched.
As for last week's game . . .
- Individual Offensive Performances: If nothing else, the Bears have identified a capable veteran backup. Okay, maybe I'm selling the guy short. With almost 400 yards passing, two TDs and no interceptions, Hoyer had one of the great individual performances in Bears history.
Jordan Howard and Zach Miller also had good games (yawn, again), but the game's other standout and new front-runner for the 2016 Devin Aromashodu Award (the prestigious honor bestowed upon a player who has up to three non-consecutive outstanding single game performances that are parlayed into a middling four-year NFL career) is Cameron Meredith, who came out of nowhere to post nine receptions, 130 yards and a TD.
- QB Pressure: Three of the five Bear sacks on Sunday were reeled in by Willie Young, a man whose signature celebration leads me to believe he's the team's resident semi-pro bowler. Not sure. I'll look into it.
The Bears haven't seen that many sacks since the bus to Green Bay broke down in front of my former place of employment, Lake Geneva's Sugar Shack*.
What Made You Punch A Hole Through Your Hat
- Play-Calling . . . Again: Multiple corner fade routes to Eddie Royal? Why? Is Peter Dinklage still on the PUP list? The Bears slot receiver has been great this season, but when you think "Eddie Royal," height and vertical leap are not the first two terms that come to mind.
- Connor Barth: Yeah, he missed another field goal. In fact, he somehow managed to miss the same field goal twice. If these kinds of shenanigans cause you to suffer from an unhealthy amount of burning, visceral hate for Robbie Gould's ineffective replacement, first try a topical ointment. You may want to get some help with that skin issue. Then try firing up clips from classic '80s movies every time Barth lines up for a kick to soothe those nerves.
Now, remember, when you use this strategy make absolutely sure to search in the YouTube app itself. If you just Google, for example, Crocodile Dundee and absent-mindedly click on the first link, you might end up accidentally launching a porn parody, thus treating everyone at the party/bar/baby shower to award winning dialogue like "That's not a cock . . . this is a cock" because your media volume was cranked all the way up.
Ask me how I know.
Eye On The Opposition: My Middle Name Is Rand McNally
Honestly, I couldn't find Jacksonville on a map of Delaware even if I bothered to use the Internet, but because I'm not above humiliating myself for your entertainment, I'll take a crack at it:
Whatever. I don't need to know the location of Blake Bortles' house (which is protected by a panther-filled moat) to find the game this Sunday.
Unless it's being broadcast on Fox Sports 1.
Seriously, Baseball, not every Cubs fan has a third-tier cable package.
For some, the Jags are a major disappointment. For most, they are a team whose mascot might as well be a six-foot tall, plush embodiment of a disinterested shrug. (Though Western Kentucky University may have already laid claim to that one.)
A talented young offensive core was supposed to be complemented by an up-and-coming defense, but unfortunately for the dozen or so Jacksonville fans out there, that defense has yet to hold anybody under 19 points.
In fact, the team that scored only 19 points was none other than the Baltimore Ravens, whose offensive coordinator at the time was our old pal Marc Trestman, who was too busy writing flashcards that read "Joe Flacco Smells Like Ass" to draw up effective plays.
Shockingly, he has since been fired.
The strength of the Jaguars is their passing game.
Fantasy football fans already know wide receiver Allen Robinson as that cocksucker who your opponent trotted out during the playoffs last year and cost you $300 in winnings.
If you're just a fan of real football (the kind you gamble on every week, not the "I'll find out in December if I lost my daughter's college tuition" pansy bullshit), then you may not know much about Robinson.
Whether you can pick him out of a lineup of Wayne Newton impersonators, he's probably going to score two touchdowns on the Bears this week, so get ready for an intro.
Beyond Robinson, Jacksonville also boasts large and talented tight end Julius Thomas, though an odd strength of the Bears' defense seems to be taking opposing tight ends out of the game.
Like the ability to balance a pencil on your nose, this point of emphasis seemingly has no positive impact on the world at-large, but as a fan I thought it only reasonable to hype my boys where I can.
Kool-Aid (2 of 5 Pots Of Irish Coffee)
Thanks to the late start times for the NLDS games this week, I have been propping myself up at work with America's most popular legal performance enhancing stimulant: cocaine.
No, that's not it. The other one.
Trust me, I'm way too fat to be accused of being hooked on blow.
Unless . . . I start doing blow (rubs chin thoughtfully).
Speaking of things that aren't good: the Jags.
Jacksonville is a bad football team that presents one very tough match-up, which begs the question: Can the Bears get to Bortles in time to neutralize Robinson?
For much of the game, yes.
This newly discovered combination of power running and mid-range passing could limit the amount of time the Jacksonville offense gets to work.
But if last week is any indication, the Bears will need to build up a lead to hold off the inevitable late-game heroics.
The secret to the Bears success will be fourth-down conversions.
What, you'd rather watch another Connor Barth field-goal attempt?
Not in John Fox's America.
It's touchdown or bust on every drive, baby.
Bears 28, Jaguars 26
About The Author
Like many fans, The Author enjoys sitting and stoically petting someone else's dog as he vacantly watches the Bears snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
* My wife, who was one of my regulars at Sugar Shack, read an early copy of this column and insisted I perform my signature move, "The C-Man D-Slang" for old time's sake.
Carl Mohrbacher is our man on the Kool-Aid. He welcomes your stupid comments.