BOURBONNAIS – On the day that Jay Cutler arrived in Miami to come out of retirement for the proverbial “one last job” like in the movies, there were three Bears quarterbacks struggling to handle what had been Cutler’s old job.
Nothing too alarming, mind you, and there were some good moments, too, in Monday’s practice. Plus, there’s the matter of the anticlimax: Mike Glennon is going to be the Bears’ starter to start the season; the only real question at this point is whether Mark Sanchez can hold his spot as the backup, ahead of No. 2 overall pick Mitchell Trubisky.
But the Cutler news added a little intrigue and texture to the Bears’ current QB hierarchy after the team let him go in the offseason, following season-ending shoulder surgery and his own struggles during the team’s 3-13 campaign that leaves many of the holdovers in the hot seat heading into this season.
John Fox, though, said he’s happy for Cutler, his starter for two seasons in Chicago. The coach said he texted the new Dolphins quarterback well wishes after hearing the news that he was forgoing a broadcasting career with Fox to help the suddenly needy Dolphins, who have lost Ryan Tannehill indefinitely.
“I think it’s great,” Fox said. “… I am happy for him. It’s another opportunity, and it’s all guys can ask for. We wish him nothing but the best.”
Fox added that Cutler’s familiarity with the Dolphins’ scheme, which coach Adam Gase is keeping much of after coaching Cutler with the Bears in 2015, should be a big benefit to making the transition more seamless.
“There’ll be some carryover for sure,” Fox said. “He’s a sharp guy.”
The Bears decided to move on in the offseason, given the financial flexibility of doing so, as well as the injury. But there also had not been enough progress at the position for the franchise’s liking, so that’s why Glennon was signed to be the starter now, Trubisky drafted to be the future and Sanchez added to buttress the two.
“I was happy with [Cutler] both years,” Fox said. “I don’t think I would say I was happy with our seasons [6-10 and 3-13 records]. He was a smart, tough guy that worked hard. When we departed, we wish it went a different way. I am sure he feels the same way.”
On Monday, Sanchez – save for one horrible decision on a would-be pick-6 – might have been the most effective of the three new quarterbacks. Glennon was fine, getting the offense back on track after a slow first period of practice, and showing some nice touch in the red zone. His intangibles have stood out the most to many observers, but the deep ball remains a work in progress when he’s running the offense.
Some of Trubisky’s best moments in camp have been when he’s been able to unleash his golden arm, lacing some pretty throws. But on Monday, he appeared a bit skittish on a few reps, with inconsistent footwork and accuracy on his throws.
Glennon said he’s likely to keep an eye on Cutler “as a fan” and given that many of Cutler’s former teammates, he said, have been talking about his return to the league since the news broke.
“Maybe I’ll follow it more closely,” Glennon said. “… It seems like a good opportunity for him. I know it’s a big story here in Chicago, but it’s no different for me.”
But for Bears fans? Given that Cutler was such a divisive figure for more than eight years in the city, it’s very possible that they’ll be keeping closer tabs – really – on Cutler more than they are on Glennon. After all, Glennon is more of a caretaker or placeholder until Trubisky is deemed ready, whenever that might be. Cutler suddenly has become one of the early stories of the 2017 season. The production, effectiveness and statistics of Glennon and Cutler surely will be put side by side more than once in the coming months.
Glennon doesn’t appear too concerned. He has a job to do, and his first preseason game – his first real audition as Bears starter – comes Thursday at home in the opener against the Denver Broncos.
“It’ll be my first time playing with this offense [in a real-game situation], and the first time for a few guys,” Glennon said. “I just want to go out, do a good job of moving the ball, scoring some points and just executing our offense.”