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Trestman on Cutler benching: I think we need a spark

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Bears coach Marc Trestman benched his starting quarterback on Wednesday. The next step was to explain why.

Trestman told reporters Thursday that the decision to start Jimmy Clausen over Jay Cutler on Sunday against the Lions was strictly performance-based and made "in the best interest of the team."

"I think we need a lift at quarterback," Trestman said. "I think we need a spark."

Trestman said the bombshell decision came after discussions with general manager Phil Emery and the Bears coaching staff. Trestman said Cutler took the decision in a professional manner when both quarterbacks were told on Wednesday evening.

Cutler will be active on Sunday and will serve as Clausen's backup. Trestman said the decision was made only with the Lions game in mind, leaving the door open for a Cutler return to the starting lineup in Week 17.

Trestman was asked why he's had success with other quarterbacks, but Cutler hasn't worked out.

"That doesn't mean that it can't work out. That's where we are now," he said. "That doesn't mean the evolutionary process of Jay's growth as a quarterback can't continue and he can't get to where we think he can be. Because every quarterback's on their own journey and some people go through these times. There's clearly evidence historically that players are 30 years old, 31 years old and haven't reached their potential and by the time they conclude their career they have.

"And right now Jay is not at a good point, he's not playing as well as he can play. I've said that starts with me, that's an accountability issue with all of us as a team and he has not done that and we have not done that and that's why we've made the decision for this moment."

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