I’ve Seen Enough of Jimmy Clausen as Chicago Bears Backup Quarterback


Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

It was more a question of when Jay Cutler would miss time than if Cutler would miss games this season.  In his Chicago Bears career, Cutler has missed at least one game in five of the six seasons.  In fact, since his first year in the Navy and Orange in 2009 when Cutler started all 16 games, he has missed one in 2010, six in 2011, one in 2012, five in 2013 and one game (although not due to injury) in 2014.  If you follow the pattern, he was due to miss a handful of games in 2015, yet rookie GM Ryan Pace seemed comfortable to break training camp with journeyman Jimmy Clausen as Cutler’s primary backup.  I’ve been willing to give Pace a pass on a lot of the mess he inherited, but to think he could count on Clausen to win games in Cutler’s absence was just foolish.

The Bears looked completely lost with Clausen under center.  His ineffectiveness in relief of Cutler last week could be washed away since backup QB’s rarely get any meaningful reps in practice during the week.  But with Cutler known to be out all last week with a hamstring injury, I expected Clausen would at least appear to be serviceable to run Adam Gase’s offense in Week 3.  Instead, we got a 9 for 17 effort for 63 passing yards as the Bears seemed content to just crawl how with their tail between their legs in the 26-nil shutout loss to the Seahawks.

I thought the game plan in the first half was solid.  Load up with tight ends and extra offensive linemen and try to smashmouth your way to some yardage in hopes that your best offensive weapon available Matt Forte could pop a long one and take the air out of the ball and keep it out of Russell Wilson’s hands.  The Bears scored a moral victory for the first half, keeping it to a 6-0 deficit but when the Seahawks brought the opening second half kickoff for a touchdown to open up a 13-0 lead, it was time to start trying to move the ball through the air.  Unfortunately, the most the Bears moved the ball through the air were on Pat O’Donnell’s ten punts.   The Bears offense just looked scared to make a mistake.  They were afraid to go for a 4th and 1 near midfield late in the third quarter.

What’s the point of a backup quarterback if he can’t actually quarterback.  If you don’t trust Jimmy to go out and try to execute the passing game with a week’s worth of preparation, what’s the point?  Clausen came into the game with a 1-10 record as a starter in his career.  We didn’t have much hope for stealing a win in the Seahawks home opener while heading in undermanned, but seriously, why not at least try to compete?  The Bears were so committed to their plan, they forgot to actually try.

Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The script for the 2015 Bears is very quickly becoming that of an evaluation period, to figure out who can contribute to this team when they’re actually ready to win.  After six+ quarters of sampling, I’m done with the Clausen experiment.  I understand that the Bears have a mountain of money committed to Cutler, so the idea of paying a backup anything above league minimum makes no sense.  But there has to be a better option on the street than Clausen.  I’ve seen enough from Jimmy for the rest of my life.  If Cutler isn’t ready for the Raiders in Week 4, the Bears might as well start David Fales.

GM Ryan Pace gets a pass for most of the Bears roster.  He inherited a pile of suckage and overpaid bad aging players and still has to field a complete roster.  I get that.  He should not get a pass if we have to see one more snap of Jimmy Clausen under center.  It’s time to send Clausen packing and claim Zac Dysert off the Texans practice squad and roll with Fales and Dysert to figure out if either is capable of playing backup QB next season.