Jay Cutler injury moves McCown in for key stretch on Bears schedule

Jay Cutler injury moves McCown in for key stretch on Bears schedule
October 21, 2013, 1:45 am
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The groin injury that sent Jay Cutler hobbling to the locker room in the second quarter of the Bears’ 45-41 loss to the Washington Redskins will cost the Bears their starting quarterback for a minimum of four weeks, the team announced on Monday after an MRI following the team’s return from D.C.

“This is a minimum of four weeks,” coach Marc Trestman said. “And then he’ll be evaluated week to week. But based on the history – I talked to the doctors this morning – that four weeks is a reasonable start and then it would be week to week.”

The injury, termed a torn muscle in the groin, occurred when Cutler was sacked by 333-pound Washington defensive tackle Chris Baker. Cutler heard a pop, and laid on the ground before leaving the field leaning on team medical staff for support and was unable to walk without aid.

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“I’m encouraged by the prognosis that he’ll be back and this bye couldn’t come at a better time,” Trestman said. The Bears were in the process on Monday of signing quarterback Jordan Palmer, who came to training camp with the Bears. The team released tight end Steve Maneri to make roster space for Palmer.

The McCown Era

“It’s tough,” said cornerback Tim Jennings. “I mean it’s going to be tough not having Jay out there. But I also think Josh came in there and played great and he gave a lot of confidence to the guys in this locker room.

“So we’re not going to hang our head too low. Of course Jay is our leader. But Josh is a leader also. And he’s played a lot of good football. He’s been in this game for a long time. Guys have a lot of confidence in him.”

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Confidence is something the Bears will need in some supply, given the loss not only of Cutler but also of Lance Briggs, the best player on the current defense, a unit struggling in its own right.

But McCown delivered solid performances late in the 2011 season when it was painfully apparent that Caleb Hanie was taking the team and season down with him after Cutler suffered a broken thumb.

McCown performed well (119.6 passer rating, four scoring drives vs. Washington) and is in a better NFL position now than he was then.

“Two years ago I got here and I had been coaching high school ball, which served me well to do that, but I don’t think you can trade anything for real reps, going through OTAs and training camp,” McCown said.

“With that said I’m in a better spot right now. To have come in here with this system, being here from Day 1 with Marc, learning this from the ground up, I think it’s been beneficial. Hopefully it continues to pay dividends on the field. We’ve just got to look at where we are as an offense and see what we can do to continue to improve.”