Jay Cutler or Josh McCown, which is the right choice for the Bears?

This weekend, the Chicago Bears will play in what should be a relatively straightforward game. The Bears will be in Cleveland to play the Browns, and possibly more significantly, the game will mark Jay Cutler’s return to the field.

Now that head coach Marc Trestman has announced that Jay Cutler, not fill-in Josh McCown, will be starting against the Browns, the debate has begun as to whether it’s the right move or not. Let’s take a quick look at the statistics to give us some perspective.


Jay Cutler

Josh McCown

Completion %



Average Yards per Attempt









Games Played



Obviously, statistics aren’t everything, but there’s no denying McCown’s superiority on paper. Having played in one less game than Cutler this season, comparing the two quarterbacks’ statistics is at least a somewhat fair comparison.

The biggest statistical surprise is the touchdown to interception ratio that favors Josh McCown in a big way. Much like Nick Foles has done in Philadelphia, McCown doesn’t lose games for the Bears. He may not necessarily be winning games in the same way Peyton Manning does for the Broncos or Tom Brady does for the Patriots, but he gives the Bears a chance to win every game, and that’s what a backup quarterback needs to be able to do for his team.

The question now is, does McCown give the Bears a better chance at winning than Jay Cutler?

While Cutler was the primary quarterback under center, the Bears are 4-4. Two of those games, both losses, Cutler was forced to leave the game, making way for McCown. In the five games that McCown was the primary option for the Bears, Chicago has gone 3-2. In short, both quarterbacks are hovering around .500, complicating the Bears’ decision to go with Cutler over McCown.

Possibly the biggest issue the Bears may see by inserting Cutler back into the starting lineup is a bit of a morale hit, especially following McCown and the Bears’ huge win over the Dallas Cowboys. It was the type of win that can propel a team down the stretch to a playoff berth. By switching McCown out for Jay Cutler, Trestman is putting that momentum at risk. What if Jay Cutler falls flat? How long is his leash if he’s clearly rusty? Those are all serious questions that will have to be asked if the Browns are able to jump all over Chicago.

Ultimately, if the Bears come out on fire, Trestman’s decision will have been the correct one. If, however, the Bears find themselves in need of a comeback to beat the lowly Browns, it will be obvious to everyone which way the Bears should have went.

Obviously, Jay Cutler was brought to Chicago to take the Bears to the next level, but since making the move, the Bears have continued to achieve largely mediocre results. With Cutler being outperformed by McCown, it’s time to consider the possibility that Cutler may not be the answer. If Cutler falls flat in the final three weeks, look for the Bears to explore their options at quarterback moving forward.

About Shane Clemons

Shane Clemons came from humble beginnings creating his own Jaguars blog before moving on to SBNation as a featured writer for the Jaguars. He then moved to Bloguin where he briefly covered the AFC South before taking over Bloguin's Jaguars blog. Since the inception of This Given Sunday, Shane has served as an editor for the site, doing his best not to mess up a good thing.