Here’s your doomsday scenario, Bears fans: Jay Cutler throws for 400 yards, multiple touchdowns and no interceptions against the Vikings on Sunday in Minneapolis, and then, just as the end of the season is nigh, gets injured.
Now, I’m not hoping for that to happen — I never want anyone to get hurt, and who roots for the end of the world? — but let’s say it happens.
And let’s say it’s not just a blister on his toe, but something bad, requiring surgery.
How screwed are the Bears?
Not only are we back to the debate about whether Cutler is the future of the Bears, the end of the Bears or simply better than any other quarterback roaming around in the outside world, but we are saddled with an injured fellow who will have to be paid his $15 illion or billion or whatever the number is. Because no other team will want to pick up a damaged, dubious onetime prodigy.
Why should we even think about Cutler getting hurt?
Well, he seems to let us down at the biggest moments of expectation or need. Like the 2010 playoff game against the Green Bay Packers. And right now, there is nobody to back him up except practice-squad rookie David Fales, a sixth-round pick out of San Jose State.
Funny how you can get nostalgic for Jimmy Clausen in seven days.
Speaking of whom, Clausen might even have topped out Cutler in the ‘‘clueless’’ category years ago when he arrived as a not-quite college freshman at the College Football Hall of Fame in a stretch limo. Ah, heck, you know quarterbacks.
But Clausen almost had his skull compressed to sandwich width on a vicious helmet-to-helmet cheap shot by 280-pound Detroit Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah last Sunday. After the blow, which caused the concussion that is keeping Clausen out of the Vikings game, the quarterback yanked off his newly flexible helmet and screamed at Ansah, ‘‘What the [expletive] is wrong with you?’’
Ah, difficult questions.
The Bears have so many of them.
But before we get to some of them, let’s add the part of this doomsday scenario that is troublesome: Cutler, currently uninjured, has not made it through an entire season without damage in almost five years. Let’s pray that’s not a self-destruct clock we hear ticking.
If most of the Bears’ coaching staff is fired soon, which seems likely, then all focus is on Cutler. He was certain not to play again this year after being benched last week for the first time in his career, a career that goes all the way back to the Denver Broncos in 2006.
But here he is — again — and what else is there to look at?
If he plays listlessly and stupidly, how could anybody want to keep him? If he plays well and is uninjured, then the whispers will start again that, hey, maybe he’s not so bad. Maybe under a new coach, he’ll blossom. Maybe that was a pig we saw flying across the northern sky.
There really is nothing good that can come of this game. The consecutive 50-point atrocities against the Bears are in the books. The playoffs are long gone. A 6-10 record doesn’t look much better than a 5-11 one. Marc Trestman probably already knows where he’d like to be an offensive line coach someday.
The chaos is complete and immutable. It starts with the undermining of any cohesion on the Bears due to holdover loyalty — why, we do not know — to fired coach Lovie Smith. Everybody from Brian Urlacher to Peanut Tillman, Lance Briggs and the fast-fading Tim Jennings seems to never have fully bowed and kissed the sword of the cerebral, bland Trestman.
Trestman’s credentials were none, other than the Canadian stuff. And being unknown and bland in the NFL can translate into weird.
You’d think Lovie’s 2-13 record with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this year might make the current Bears happy they don’t have that embalmed creature at the helm anymore. But, no, the past always looks delightful.
Think about it. How do you want Cutler to play Sunday?
What can he do that he hasn’t done before? You want him reigning? You want to start 2015 just like 2009, ’10, ’11, ’12, ’13, ’14?
Or would you rather start over like, say, the Cleveland Browns, who have been through quarterbacks Jake Delhomme, Seneca Wallace, Colt McCoy, Brandon Weeden, Thad Lewis. Jason Campbell, Brian Hoyer and — ta da! — ‘‘Johnny Football’’ himself, in just five freaking years?
Who doesn’t want a Hall of Fame quarterback in the house? Just find one and draft him. But make sure you don’t get Geno Smith or Cade McNown in the process.
Hard world, the NFL. Especially when up is down, and vice-versa.