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Josh McCown vs. Matt Blanchard
In 2013, as in recent years, there is little argument that the Chicago Bears will go as far as Jay Cutler can take them.
In his last three seasons, he has missed eight games, and the Bears have gone 2-6 in his absence. Last season the team paid Jason Campbell big money to backup Cutler, but Campbell struggled in his relief duties of Cutler.
Still, the team decided to head into the 2013 season with what they had on its roster.
Veteran Josh McCown collected one of those two wins in relief of Cutler during the 2011 season. After being cut before the start of 2012, McCown eventually made his way back onto the roster near the end of the season.
This year, the Bears have brought back McCown with the expectation that he'll back up Cutler.
Cutler has not been shy in revealing what McCown means to him, saying to the Chicago Sun-Times:
There are so many different aspects to what he brings to this team, especially for me, he’s been in a lot of different situations, and he’s been in the league a long time. He’s had success, he’s had down years, and he’s just a positive guy.
While keeping Cutler happy is a plus, McCown has also shown the ability to run an offense, and he is athletic enough to move outside the pocket.
His only competition in camp will be former undrafted free agent Matt Blanchard.
After impressing the Bears' coaching staff during last year's rookie minicamps, Blanchard was signed and placed on the practice squad to begin the 2012 season. He was released in early December but was re-signed in January and is expected to be the team's third-string quarterback heading into the 2013 season.
He participated in the team's rookie minicamp this season and got high praise from new quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh who said to CSN Chicago:
He’s got all the physical tools. He’s got mobility, a strong arm and can make plays with his legs. Now he’s just inexperienced so preseason is going to be huge for him.
While preseason will be very important for Blanchard moving forward, McCown's experience will likely keep Blanchard as the team's third quarterback this season.
Winner: Josh McCown