Trestman, Bears turn back to QB Cutler

Published: December 12 2013 | 2:51 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 12:47 am in
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Jay Cutler is back as the starting quarterback of the Chicago Bears.

Cutler was a full practice participant Thursday, the final hurdle before he was cleared by the medical staff and head coach Marc Trestman.

Trestman said Thursday that Cutler was able to take every first-team rep with the offense during the practice session. The coaching staff was put at ease by Cutler's movement and performance on the field.

"I have no concerns," Trestman said about a possible rust factor as Cutler reclaims the starting job.

There is no rift between backup Josh McCown and Cutler, Trestman stressed.

"There's not a debate in this building," said Cutler. "That's where my concerns are."

When the head coach called Cutler to see how he was feeling physically after Wednesday's practice, Cutler was with McCown going over the game plan for the Browns.

"It's good to be back," Cutler said. "A month is a long time to be out."

Cutler suffered a high ankle sprain on Nov. 10 against the Detroit Lions during a game in which he was coming back from a muscle tear.

Cutler said seeing how McCown managed the game and helping the 34-year-old backup prepare each week kept him sharp and into the planning phase of the game. He credited play-calling and the play of running back Matt Forte for "doing everything well."

The Bears were 2-2 in McCown's four consecutive starts while Cutler has been out. McCown also won a start earlier in the season at Green Bay when Cutler had a torn groin muscle.

"He's played well, he's played really well," Cutler said. "I'm happy for him. If there's anyone in this locker room who deserves it, it's him."

McCown has a passer rating of 109.8 that ranks third in the NFL behind Philadelphia's Nick Foles and Denver's Peyton Manning. He has 13 touchdown passes and one interception compared with 13 touchdown passes and eight interceptions for Cutler, who has an 88.4 rating.

McCown, named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week after he completed 27 of 36 passes for 348 yards and four touchdowns on Monday night against the Dallas Cowboys, has looked impressive enough to create somewhat of a quarterback controversy. But Trestman said the plan was always to go back to Cutler, something all involved understood.

"He's maximized his opportunity," Cutler said. "That's all you can ask of the guy."

Cutler practiced on a limited basis twice last week.

The Bears are less optimistic about linebacker Lance Briggs returning. He has been out since Oct. 20 with a shoulder injury and was limited, participating in individual drills for the first time since he was injured at Washington.

"I'm not in any way as optimistic about Lance as I would be about Jay at this time because I've seen Jay move around and do the things that he did last week," Trestman said.

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