The broken thumb that helped sink the Bears’ season is healed, but Jay Cutler is still likely done for 2011.
Cutler will have the pins removed from his thumb on Tuesday, but Lovie Smith didn’t sound like he was going to have his quarterback in the lineup against the Vikings. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports that Smith said he is looking forward to seeing Josh McCown play again after his performance at Lambeau Field on Sunday night. Smith wouldn’t rule out a role for McCown on the team next season, either.
“I think everything you do, you have to look at the performance,” Smith said. “The performance Josh put in last night was impressive so that’s why we can get so much done this week. We want to see him have an opportunity to come back and play again this coming week. You normally can find a spot for a player that played the way he played last night.”
There’s not much reason to bring Cutler back for Week 17. Had things worked out in a way that left the Bears with a shot at making the playoffs, perhaps you’d rush him back into the lineup and take your chances but they didn’t and leaving him out is the prudent thing to do.
It also makes more sense to play McCown instead of Caleb Hanie or rookie Nathan Enderle. Hanie has shown that he isn’t a good choice to be the number two in 2012 and Enderle isn’t ready to take on the role, so taking a longer look at McCown with an eye on next year’s backup job is the best course of action.