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It looked like a different Bears offense out there Sunday with Brian Hoyer at the helm - and the Detroit Lions across the line of scrimmage.
Still, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains seemed to open up the playbook, eschewing calls to "establish the run" and instead using the short pass to create options and unpredictability in the game plan.
The faster tempo - and an energetic Hoyer instead of a laconic Jay Cutler - helped keep the Lions off-balance, adding up to a convincing . . . 17-14 win.
Hoyer did what a back-up quarterback for the Bears ought to do - beat a bad, dumb team, as Laurence Holmes put it on The Score this morning - but he's not the future, and this team, at 1-3, is not exactly back in the playoff hunt.
If there's a quarterback controversy at all, it's that Hoyer shouldn't even be in the conversation and Cutler shouldn't be here any longer - or should at least clearly be on his way out.
Hoyer's 36 attempts on Sunday were 36 attempts that should've gone to a young signal-caller auditioning for 2017. That's the controversy.
Instead, we get nonsense like this:
The real question is, who is all-in on Hoyer? Hopefully it's one person, Mark Carman. He can hold his meetings in a telephone booth.
Now, to be fair, if you just want a game-manager behind center - and no team in the NFL has every been more in love with the game-managing quarterback than the Bears - you might as well stick with Hoyer. He'll run the game plan as designed and won't turn over the ball under duress as much as Jay (last year's playoff debacle notwithstanding).
But every snap taken by Hoyer and Cutler is a wasted snap now that this season has devolved into a rebuilding year. It may be too late to do anything about that - undrafted (and injured) free agent Connor Shaw, signed by the Bears off waivers - is also a waste, but that just redirects the question of what this team is doing at quarterback to general manager Ryan Pace. What's the plan?
Meanwhile, punditry . . .
Jay Cutler has thrown for over 300 yards with 2 TD's and 0 Interceptions only twice in his CAREER. Hoyer has done it twice in 2 WEEKS #Bears— Mark Carman (@thecarm) October 2, 2016
. . . answered:
27 of Bears QB Brian Hoyer's 38 attempts in Chicago's win over Detroit traveled less than 10 yards downfield. He completed 23, incl. 2 TDs— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) October 2, 2016
Brian Hoyer is a good backup quarterback. That's it. Column from Soldier Field: https://t.co/HXIzs8sgzu— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) October 2, 2016
I'm not even convinced he's a good backup - not for a team that isn't going anywhere. He'd be a good backup for some teams, but he's the wrong backup for this team, which grossly overestimated its progress. He's just marking time here. That's the real quarterback controversy.
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