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Friday, March 23

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Bears Thu Dec 18 2014

The Wrong Bear Is Losing His Job

Chicago Bears"As long as Jay is healthy, he'll be playing quarterback for us."

That was Marc Trestman 10 days ago. He was fully behind his much-maligned quarterback, who as the highest-paid player in the NFL this season, had back-breaking expectations. After another terrible performance against the Saints following a week where his offensive coordinator ripped him anonymously, and then admitted to it without any repercussions, Trestman decided to turn his starting quarterback into a scapegoat by benching him for Jimmy Clausen.

Don't get me wrong, Cutler has been terrible this season. He leads the league in turnovers. Among QB's who have played at least 50 percent of their team's snaps, Cutler ranks 23rd out of 29 according to Pro Football Focus. They don't take into account whether he's checking into or out of plays correctly because they have no clue. They simply rate each play based on his accuracy, decision-making (throwing to the correct/open receiver), and results. It's as bad on paper as it's looked on the field.

What Aaron Kromer said was obvious. Of course the Bears have buyer's remorse on Cutler, who already has $15.5 million guaranteed for next season, but a coach can never openly admit it to the media. By doing that, he violated what little respect there still was between the players and coaching staff, and it's only going to get worse. A number of Bears players deserve to be benched for their play, but Cutler is the first and only starter demoted because of it. Just a week after slapping Kromer on the wrist, the cuffs get slapped on Cutler.

This screams as a power-play by Trestman, trying to tell the rest of the NFL that Cutler has been the Bears' problem all year. But he's forgetting that there's plenty more data from his other coaching stops proving this is a persistent issue. Offenses regress the longer Trestman is around -- a change at quarterback isn't a cure-all.

The change definitely isn't coming from Phil Emery or the front office, because from their perspective, if you're going to make the absolutely moronic move of benching your franchise quarterback, he should be replaced by the rookie sixth-rounder David Fales. The team elevated him to the 53-man roster last week because New England was interested in signing him off the practice squad, and the Bears wanted to protect their investment. Jimmy Clausen has proven in the past that he isn't a starting-caliber quarterback in the NFL, so why not give the rookie a couple of stabs at the job? Clausen isn't even under contract for next season. If the front office is behind Trestman on this decision, then it's even more reason to fire everyone there too.

This is why you fire coaches immediately when the situation has become toxic. Nothing positive can come from them keeping their grubby hands on the controls for the remainder of the season. An embarrassing situation has now spun completely out of control, and it's already started damaging the Bears' brand league-wide.

The wrong person is losing his job this week. Cutler is being taken down for a problem that goes far beyond his control. He's played terribly, but it's clear the issues are more systemic than an inaccurate quarterback.

Good luck, Jimmy.

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