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Bears coach John Fox on Jay Cutler’s starter status: no ‘givens’

Jay Cutler is out with a sprained right thumb. (Getty Images)

Definitive statements don’t come easy when you’re 0-3.

Perhaps that’s why Bears coach John Fox, when given an opportunity Monday to anoint Jay Cutler the starting quarterback whenever he returns from a sprained thumb, refrained.

“I don’t think there are any givens,” he said, one day after the Bears lost to the Cowboys, 31-17, with Brian Hoyer under center. “And that’s no indictment on anybody. This is a day-to-day, week-to-week, what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league. And so we’re just trying to get the best 11 guys out there regardless of the position to where we can play a full 60 minutes and get a victory.”

It seems unlikely, though, that the Bears decide Cutler was the problem all along and promote Hoyer to a full-time starter.

He still has not been cleared by the medical staff — “I don’t think we want to have setbacks with any player who is injured, including Jay,” Fox said — but that doesn’t preclude a start Sunday against the Lions yet. The Bears plan to reevaluate him Wednesday.

In fact, Fox drew a comparison between this year and last, when Cutler hurt his hamstring in Week 2 and came back to start, and win, the Bears’ first game in Week 4, cementing the quarterback’s reputation as a quick healer.

“He returned after one week,” Fox said. “It’s hard to predict. We’ll just see and evaluate him every day.”

The Bears are “kinda in a day–to-day mode with him,” Fox said. Sources told the Sun-Times that Cutler first injured his thumb in Week 1; if so, a return Sunday would fall within the timeline to return.

Fox seemed pleased with Hoyer’s 30-for-49 performance for 317 yards and two touchdowns, though much of the damage came with the Bears down by two scores or more. The Bears totaled 276 of their 390 yards — 71 percent — in the second half, which they began with a 21-point deficit.

“When you’re down 24-3, you kinda abort the gameplan … and you just gotta work on trying to catch up,” said tight end Zach Miller, who caught both Hoyer’s touchdown passes.

Hoyer erred in keeping the ball on a run-pass option on the Bears’ first play, Fox said, but “did some good things” the rest of the way. It wasn’t enough to win — and probably wasn’t enough to supplant Cutler whenever he’s able to return.

“Yardage doesn’t win games,” Fox said. “Points do.”