Rich Gannon was a 36-year-old journeyman quarterback without a single season over 60.0 percent on completions when Marc Trestman entered his life in 2001. Less than two years later, Gannon won the NFL Most Valuable Player award with a career year and a completion percentage of 67.6.
Chicago Bears quarterback Josh McCown was a 34-year-old journeyman with a career completion percentage of 58.0 when Trestman first applied his Midas touch. After taking over as Jay Cutler's injury replacement, McCown boasts a 66.8 completion percentage, a 13:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio and seven consecutive games with a passer rating over 90.0.
As NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah opined, McCown's physical tools can't match Cutler's ceiling, but his floor is higher due to a consistency edge. McCown has shown excellent pocket awareness, ball placement and timing with a more impressive two-month stretch than Cutler has ever produced.
Trestman maintained after Monday night's game that McCown's performance does not change the plan. Once Cutler is healthy enough to play, he's the starter.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday afternoon that the Bears are "hopeful" of getting Cutler back from his high-ankle sprain for Week 15 against the Browns. Rapoport also surmised that with every quality performance by McCown, it's looking "less and less likely" that the Bears will re-sign Cutler to a long-term extension this offseason.
Given the latter scenario, it's hardly a foregone conclusion that Cutler will keep McCown at bay if he struggles to move the ball in his return to game action. The episodic nature of the NFL's weekly schedule creates unexpected storylines, sending seasons careening in directions previously unimaginable. One week is an eternity. Situations don't get more fluid than this one in Chicago.
If Cutler isn't the future and McCown has the hot hand, Trestman has all of the elements for a full-blown quarterback quandary with three games remaining at Cleveland, at Philadelphia and home to the Packers. In a two-way tie for first place in the NFC North with the Packers lurking, neither Cutler nor Trestman has margin for error.