Beyond winning the NFC North division and contending for the Super Bowl, the main goal for the Chicago Bears this season was to determine whether or not quarterback Jay Cutler is a franchise quarterback.
That goal seemed to be suspended halfway through the season when Cutler suffered a severe high-ankle sprain against the Detroit Lions on November 10 that kept the quarterback sidelined for over a month. Beyond that, Cutler suffered a groin injury late in October against the Washington Redskins. Meaning prior to the Bears game against the Cleveland Browns last Sunday, Cutler had not played a full game for Bears since an October 10 game against the New York Giants.
In place of Cutler, backup quarterback Josh McCown excelled. McCown had a passer rating of 109.8 to go along with 13 touchdown passes and 1 interception while playing in place of Cutler this season.
That would be why there was much debate last week when Cutler was ready to return from injury. Many wanted McCown to remain as the starting quarterback of the Bears. Several reports indicated that there were even Bears players that wanted McCown to remain the starting quarterback.
Despite the debate, it was Cutler who was named the starting quarterback. In Cutler’s first game back last Sunday, the quarterback overcame two early interceptions to finish the game with a passer rating over 100 to go along with 3 touchdown passes while leading a comeback victory for the Bears.
That victory has allowed Cutler and the Bears to be honest about the pressure that the team was facing on Sunday.
On Thursday, Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall admitted there was chatter in the Bears locker room last week about the quarterback situation. But while admitting that there was chatter about the situation with McCown playing on par with Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, Marshall also made another confession. A confession that the Bears have been seeking since the start of the season.
“He was up there with Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, those few weeks he was leading us. So, naturally there is gonna be a little chatter, but at the end of the day we know that Jay Cutler is our QB. He’s our franchise QB…he’s our leader.”-Brandon Marshall, CBS Sports
There is not a bigger backer of Cutler on the Bears than Marshall. Throughout the season, Marshall has sung the praises of Cutler and his value to the Bears. But, there is also no question that Marshall himself has become a leader within the Bears locker room. A leader that is often listened to by other teammates. That is why there is stock in Marshall saying Cutler is the franchise quarterback of the Bears.
Nonetheless, if Cutler leads the Bears to the playoffs, the team would have found an answer to their question of whether or not the quarterback is a franchise quarterback.