Jay Cutler is a realist. No matter what he does Sunday against the Vikings, Monday will be an interesting day at Halas Hall.
“I think you’ve just got to prepare yourself that anything can happen — that’s kind of what I’m prepared for,” Cutler said Wednesday. “I mean, everyone could stay. Everyone could get axed. You just never know what direction it’s going to go. You have to stay open-minded and know that things happen for a reason.”
The fate of Marc Trestman and his coaching staff and general manager Phil Emery is all that’s left of one of the most dreadful seasons in franchise history — the 5-10 Bears play the 6-9 Vikings in the season finale at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Sunday. And Cutler knows that his future with the Bears will be affected by the decisions that are made Monday. It could be a rough day all around.
“Coaches could leave. Players could leave. I could leave,” Cutler said. “That’s part of it.”
But Sunday’s game against the Vikings is just a game. A meaningless game for pride and little else. It is unlikely to affect Cutler’s future with the Bears one way or another.
“I don’t know. I’m not the one to answer that question,” Cutler said. “All I know is we’ve got a good game plan. The guys worked hard yesterday and today, and we’re going to go out there and give everything we have.”
The reality — again typifying a difficult Bears season — is that more bad than good can come out of this game, where Cutler is concerned. If he’s good, the Bears finish 6-9 and move down up to four slots in the draft order. But if Cutler gets injured, it could affect his value in a potential trade.
Trestman wasn’t making more of Cutler’s start in the finale than what it is — he has enough to worry about.
“We’re playing the game as an independent entity,” Trestman said. “Jay’s got to go out — as do the rest of us and his teammates go — and play at their best. I don’t look at it as any more than that. We’ve got to play well enough to win, and we’ve got to play well at quarterback to win, too.”
Cutler’s return as the Bears’ starter Sunday typifies a season of wild twists and turns. He figured his season was over when he was benched in favor of Jimmy Clausen last week against the Lions. But Clausen suffered a concussion — that wasn’t diagnosed until Monday because of “delayed symptoms” — and Trestman named Cutler the starter against the Vikings.
“I knew he [Clausen] took a shot,” Cutler said, referring to the direct helmet-to-helmet hit from Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah. “But he did his post-game press conference. He said he was cool. I went home thinking I was gonna watch another game. But it’s been one of those years where you never know what’s gonna happen.”
One of those years, indeed.
“You’ve got to expect the least expected,” said Cutler, whose 28 touchdown passes and 89.5 passer rating this season are career highs. “Hopefully we make it through the next couple days without something else happening. You never know, though.”
Cutler said he has not had time to reflect on this wretched season — what went wrong and what could be learned from it. All he knows is that it’s been unlike any other season in his nine-year NFL career.
“Yeah, it’s a different season. It’s a weird season,” he said. “A lot of things have happened. A lot of things haven’t gone our way for numerous reasons.”