Von Miller and Jay Cutler: Whose Thumb Is More Important to Their Team?

Marco CummingsContributor IIDecember 9, 2011

Broncos fans will be sure to return the salute this weekend as Von Miller returns
Broncos fans will be sure to return the salute this weekend as Von Miller returnsJustin Edmonds/Getty Images

It’s official, Von Miller will be making a return in this Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears. Miller might not be as effective as he usually is, having to wear a cast to protect his injured thumb, but from what we saw in last week’s game against the Minnesota Vikings, the Broncos are a different team without him.

The bottom line is that Broncos head coach John Fox seems confident in Miller’s recovery and return. “He’ll make do. We’re going to protect it first. He is learning to deal with it this week. I’m sure he’ll do a fine job Sunday,” Fox said in today’s press conference at Dove Valley.

But as important to the Broncos as Von Miller may be, he is seemingly not as vital to the team as former Denver quarterback Jay Cutler has been to the reeling Chicago Bears. Both players have injured their thumbs, but both teams seem to be moving in markedly different directions to start December. So it brings up the question: Whose thumb is more important to their respective team? Von Miller, or Jay Cutler?

With Von Miller sidelined, the Broncos were still able to win against Minnesota. But with Cutler out, and backup Caleb Hanie in, the Bears have lost two games in a row.

Granted, Von Miller’s injury was less severe, having suffered damaged ligaments compared to Cutler’s full-on break, but the tale of two thumbs shows us just how important the appendage is to the quarterback position. As time has taught us, defensive players can still put up big performances while wearing a club. But the quarterback handles the ball on every offensive snap.

In essence, the quarterback is as important to a team as a thumb is to a hand, and the Bears’ loss of Cutler has taught us that. As criticized as Cutler has been, the losing streak has shown NFL fans how important Cutler is to that team.

So although Broncos fans may think Von Miller is an important piece of their team, which he is, they can watch in relative confidence if Miller sits a few plays out to recover while the Broncos keep winning games. But for Bears fans, the anxiety is starting to grow, because with Cutler out and the team continuing to lose, the clock is starting to tick away on their playoff lives.