We all know how loyal head coach Lovie Smith is to his starting quarterbacks. Many of us can still hear "Rex is our quarterback" reverberating in our ears. But if Jason Campbell has a huge game on Monday night, could we be looking at a QB controversy with the Bears?
One part of me thinks this is very unlikely for two reasons. First, the affinity that Smith has for his starters. And second, Cutler—like him or hate him—is the best Bears QB since Sid Luckman.
Personally, I am officially on the side that likes Cutler and believes that Jay will be our QB for a long time. Still, it would be great to see the Bears win a game with Campbell on Monday night to justify the $3.5 million Phil Emery paid him.
There is a lot of sentiment in professional sports that a player should never lose his starting job due to injury. Yet it happens all the time. One man's misfortune is another man's opportunity.
But while Cutler has not been playing well this season and the offense is looking for any kind of spark it can find, even a great performance by Campbell on national TV in San Francisco on Monday night won't be enough to unseat Cutler.
That said, this is certainly a better position than the one the Bears were in last season when Cutler broke his thumb. So, if Campbell has a good game and Cutler comes back and is struggling, I could see the Bears being more likely to give Campbell a chance during a game.
Of course, we are getting ahead of ourselves. First, Campbell and the Bears need to put up an impressive performance on the road if they are going to come away victorious. The 49ers are a very good team.
San Francisco has it's own QB issues to deal with, as Alex Smith will not start at QB for the Niners, But it will be the ground game and defense that might give the Bears fits more than the QB anyway.
People have been asking me if Mike Tice will have a different game plan for Campbell and I have to say that it will probably resemble what they were doing with Cutler. First, the offense has already been dumbed down. Second, Cutler and Campbell have similar skills. Both are mobile and can throw the deep ball.
No matter who was at QB for the Bears going forward, I do expect them to try to get the ball more to Matt Forte, both on the ground and catching short passes out of the backfield.
If Alshon Jeffrey suits up, I'd like to see Campbell throw the occasional deep ball to him or Brandon Marshall and leave Devin Hester to his return duties only.
To be sure, this will be a tough assignment for Campbell, but keep in mind that he has been a starter in the league and a fairly good one, so he should be up to the challenge. He will be motivated because he is only signed for one season with the Bears. This is an opportunity for Campbell to show the rest of the NFL that he is worthy of a longer term, big money contract.
This Bears defense only needs an offense that makes some plays but doesn't turn the ball over. In a comparison between the two QBs:
In 75 career games played, Campbell has fumbled 32 times passing and 14 times running (in 223 attempts)
Campbell has thrown 50 interceptions in 2,151 attempts.
Cutler, meanwhile, has played in 87 games, fumbling 29 times passing and another 24 times running (in 243 attempts).
Cutler has thrown 96 picks in 2,776 attempts.
Campbell has also lost fewer fumbles than Cutler. Overall, Campbell has done a better job protecting the football.
So I ask you, Bears fans, if Campbell throws for 300 yards and three TDs with no interceptions and the Bears win, will that create a QB controversy in Chicago?
Hey, no matter how you feel, isn't it nice to have a backup QB that has actually started games in the league and had success instead of Caleb Hanie? I think so.