Former Bears quarterback-turned-Fox analyst Jay Cutler advised against Chicago playing 2017 second overall pick Mitchell Trubisky if the club gets off to a bad start.
“If it’s going downhill, there is no way I’m playing him,” Cutler said on ESPN 1000’s Waddle and Silvy Show. “For what? So he can go out there and take a beating and get off to a rough start as an NFL quarterback?”
Veteran Mike Glennon, whom the Bears guaranteed $16 million in 2017, is the team’s starter, but Trubisky is the highest quarterback drafted by Chicago in the common era. He is only the second quarterback taken by the Bears in the top 10, joining Super Bowl XX champion Jim McMahon, and the first Chicago quarterback drafted in Round 1 since Rex Grossman (2003).
Chicago’s passionate fan base is highly agitated following six consecutive seasons without a playoff berth and three straight last-place finishes in the NFC North, but Cutler says the organization cannot succumb to outside pressures.
“I don’t think any of us will know where the Bears are until we see four, five, or six games and kind of feel out how the season is going to go,” Cutler said. “If it’s going downhill, I really don’t see any reason to play the kid. I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of people calling for his name because you draft him at No. 2 and you draft him for a reason and that’s to play football and win games.”
Interestingly, Cutler — formerly a first-round pick of the Denver Broncos — started the final five games of his rookie season in 2006.
“I feel like my situation is different than his,” Cutler said. “I was on a very veteran team. [Denver head coach] Mike Shanahan was offensive-driven and everything he did centered around the quarterback.
That team was built a little different than the Bears are.
“I mean, Russell Wilson, they put him in [as a rookie in Seattle], the defense was unbelievable, they ran the ball a lot, they protected him and moved the pocket. Then go back to Ben Roethlisberger. That first year he was making 12-15 throws per game, the Steelers ran the ball and protected him. You probably have to go back to Dan Marino to find a [first-year quarterback] that was thrown into the fire and asked to throw the ball 30-40 times per game to win. It’s really hard to do as a young quarterback.”