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Article posted: 12/12/2013 12:01 AM

Gusty Trestman stands by his man — Cutler

Bears head coach Marc Trestman hasn't wavered in his confidence with quarterback Jay Cutler.

Bears head coach Marc Trestman hasn't wavered in his confidence with quarterback Jay Cutler.

 

Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

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The Bears' quarterback situation has the potential to make Marc Trestman one of the NFL's dumbest coaches or one of the smartest.

The only thing the Bears' head coach is for sure is one of the gutsiest.

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After practice today, Trestman will announce whether Jay Cutler or Josh McCown will start Sunday in Cleveland.

It's what matters most in Chicago right now, well ahead of the weather or parking. Our policy is when in doubt, write about the quarterback. Here, now, there's no doubt.

Satellite radio developed a 24-hour channel devoted to Cutler's medical condition. ESPN: The Ankle is the newest cable outlet. Newspapers increased their customary 10 pages a day of Bears coverage to 24-page special sections.

OK, so none of that happened. What did happen today was I was hoping to write about how I was excommunicated from the Heisman Trophy process after nearly three decades.

My sin last year was writing about whom I voted for before the results were announced on TV at the award ceremony. The Heisman Trust asked for a vow not to do that again. I said my first responsibility is to my readers. No ballot arrived this year.

So Jameis Winston of Florida State missed out on my No. 1 vote, AJ McCarron of Alabama on my No. 2 vote and Jordan Lynch of Northern Illinois on my No. 3 vote.

But who cares about the Heisman anyway while the Cutler-McCown debate rages?

The Cutler gang is coming from one side. The McCown mob is coming from the other. They're bringing brass knuckles, meeting on the middle of a bridge over the Chicago River and coming out swinging in favor of their choice at QB.

In the middle is Trestman, who has been entrusted with the task of deciding which quarterback will be entrusted with the Bears' playoff aspirations. One misstep like a loss to the Browns could be enough to knock them out of contention.

Doctors cleared Cutler to practice full-speed. He will go through drills at practice today. Trestman expressed optimism Wednesday that everything will go well.

If so, Cutler will be named the Bears' starter and be expected to pick up where he left off before groin and ankle injuries.

Trestman has made it clear from the start that Cutler is his starter and McCown is a placeholder when the starter isn't healthy.

That's where Trestman's guts come in.

The safest route for a coach is to stay with a quarterback who has been playing as well as McCown has.

But Trestman will go with Cutler as long as medical science permits.

A reader emailed to point out the criticism Trestman would face if the Bears lost with McCown while Cutler was available on the sideline.

My response was a thought I haven't been able to shake since watching McCown earn NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors while beating the Cowboys on Monday night.

McCown has been so good overall the last month that he became the latest Chicago athlete who could win a mayoral election.

So what if Cutler looks healed in practice today, Trestman names him Sunday's starter and the Browns beat the Bears? McCown would be promoted from mayor to king of Chicago and Trestman wouldn't be able to get a job as a precinct captain's gopher.

Even if Cutler completed 45 of 50 passes for 600 yards, 10 touchdowns and no interceptions …

If the Bears still lost, say, 75-70, critics would insist that Trestman disrupted the Bears' karma by changing quarterbacks and Cutler didn't inspire teammates the way McCown would have.

Yet Trestman is willing to take that risk.

Sure seems like a gutsy move.

mimrem@dailyherald.com

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