Marc Trestman consistently maintained that Jay Cutler would resume his duties as starting quarterback of the Chicago Bears once he was healthy enough to do so. The coach has proved himself to be a man of his word.
Trestman announced Thursday that Cutler will be under center when the Chicago Bears visit the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Josh McCown heads back to the bench after an extended stretch of excellent play, highlighted by a five-touchdown performance in Monday's blowout win over the Dallas Cowboys.
Cutler returns after missing the last four games due to a high-ankle sprain. McCown powered the offense in his place, boasting a 66.8 completion percentage, 13:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio and seven consecutive games with a passer rating over 90.0.
The high point came Monday, a 45-28 win in which McCown dissected an overmatched Dallas secondary. As Chris Wesseling pointed out that night, McCown's late-bloomer act recalls memories of Rich Gannon, who Trestman once helped turn from a journeyman to league MVP.
Trestman is showing loyalty to his opening-day starter, and it worked in Cutler's favor that he was playing well before thumb and ankle injuries sidetracked his season.
"There's not a debate in this building," Cutler told reporters following Thursday's practice.
McCown passed his audition with flying colors and has given Chicago plenty to think about with Cutler headed toward free agency. Now Cutler gets his turn to make a statement about his importance to the franchise.
He's fortunate, too. Not every coach would be so willing to go away from a hand as scorching as McCown's.