Jay Cutler Named Bears' Starting QB for Week 15 Game vs. Browns

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IDecember 12, 2013

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 17:  Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears talks to a teammate on the sidelines against the Baltimore Ravens at Soldier Field on November 17, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Ravens 23-20 in overtime.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Josh McCown made Marc Trestman's decision as difficult as possible, but the Chicago Bears' head coach remained true to his word.    

According to ESPN.com's Jeff Dickerson, Trestman named Jay Cutler the starting quarterback for Week 15 against the Cleveland Browns:

Trestman made the decision with confidence, per Bears sideline reporter Zach Zaidman:

Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times noted that McCown took the news in stride:

Cutler later talked to the media about his return to the lineup, via Michael C. Wright of ESPN.com, the Bears' Twitter account and Dickerson:

After the 11-year veteran McCown torched the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night of Week 14 to the tune of 348 passing yards, five total touchdowns and zero interceptions, more fuel was thrown onto an already-intense debate about who should start once Cutler was healthy enough to play. 

But just a day after the 45-28 win over the Cowboys, Trestman reiterated his stance, via Dickerson:

There's no change in the plan. We'll see where Jay is this week. He'll have to be released by the doctors. When Jay is ready to play, he'll be playing.

When [Cutler] is good to go and can have a full week of practice, he'll be our quarterback.

Cutler wouldn't comment on the debate after practice (via Zaidman and Dickerson):

Still, with the way McCown was playing, many weren't ready to believe the head coach was going to make that decision. As ESPN Stats & Info's Twitter feed pointed out, the numbers—albeit from a very limited sample—pointed toward McCown:

Moreover, star wide receiver Brandon Marshall raved about McCown's performance, according to the same Dickerson link from above.

"He's amazing," Marshall said. "We really appreciate his leadership and what he's been doing for us. This guy is a special person on and off the field."

Nevertheless, Trestman wasn't going to let Cutler—who is in the last year of his contract and has an uncertain future in Chicago, per Jason Cole of the National Football Post—lose his job because of an injury. 

It will be intriguing to see how short of a leash the five-year Bear is given against a Cleveland defense that is second in the NFL in yards per pass attempt allowed and ninth in sacks.

The Bears (7-6) are battling for an NFC playoff spot. They're tied with the Detroit Lions for first place in the NFC North, but Detroit owns the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Cutler certainly hasn't done anything that warrants a demotion (63.0 completion percentage, 238.5 passing yards per game, 13 touchdowns, eight interceptions), but McCown played well enough to at least be considered if things go poorly in Week 15.