Dowell Loggains doesn’t doubt Jay Cutler’s mettle.
“This guy is the toughest guy I’ve ever been around in 12 years coaching in the National Football League,” the Bears’ offensive coordinator said Thursday. “He is resilient. The minute that he’s ready to go and gets healthy and is ready to play, then if coach (John Fox) feels that way and we feel that way as an organization, then he’ll be out there.”
The odds of that happening, though, lessened Thursday.
One day after participating for the first time since leaving the Sept. 19 game with a sprained right thumb, Jay Cutler did not participate in practice at Halas Hall. In the portion open to the media, Cutler wore sweats and no brace on his thumb, which sources told the Sun-Times he first injured in the Bears’ season opener.
If the decision to play the quarterback Sunday against the Lions proves a close one, the Bears will have to weigh Cutler’s toughness against the odds that he’ll be effective.
Tough and smart, then, are two separate virtues.
“But that goes to the medical people and Coach Fox,” Loggains said. “They’ll make that determination.”
Cutler merely has to land on his thumb the wrong way for it to wreck the rest of his season. The Bears, though, are desperate for a win; if they determine a hampered Cutler is superior to backup Brian Hoyer, they’ll consider starting Cutler.
Cutler still needs to rehab and strengthen the thumb ligament, Fox said. He sat because the team didn’t want him to further aggravate the sprain.
“No setbacks,” Fox said. “Just healing.”
The Bears hope so — and know they need to be careful.
“A thumb on a throwing hand of a quarterback is a delicate situation,” Fox said. “So we just figured we wouldn’t go out there and have any stress on it.”
Fox was ill Wednesday, but said the quarterback did little in practice then — “It doesn’t take too much to quantify as ‘limited,’” he said — before not suiting up Thursday.
“When you have a leader that Jay is for us offensively and the type of guy he is, the quarterback he is, it’s never good to not have him on the football field,” tight end Zach Miller said. “It’s just part of how it goes.
“I don’t think it was setback thing for him (Thursday). It was just one of those things where we’re trying to get him right and make sure he’s good for the long run.
“Hopefully that happens soon and we get him back out there.”
If he’s not Sunday, the Bears will again turn to Hoyer, who Miller said “really has control of the huddle” and is “very good, communication-wise.” He went 30-for-49 for 317 yards and two touchdowns Sunday, albeit mostly in garbage time of a 31-17 loss to the Cowboys.
“I thought he did a good job,” Loggains said. “He came in and had a lot of opportunities to throw the football, and I thought he did his part.”