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Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Jay Cutler set for full-speed workout

By Michael C. Wright
ESPN.com

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears plan to put quarterback Jay Cutler through a full-speed workout Wednesday before making a decision about whether to start him Sunday against the Cleveland Browns over backup Josh McCown.

Coach Marc Trestman "anticipate[s] the workout will be a good one," and if that's truly the case, "we'll be moving forward tomorrow" in naming Cutler the starter.

"We'll have receivers there afterwards. We'll work him through drops, redirect him in the pocket, move him up and down and get as much suddenness out of him as we can," Trestman said. "He's gone through the first steps [of being cleared to play] other than this workout. He's been cleared from a standpoint of allowing us to work him at full speed."

Trestman said the plan is to put Cutler through the practice script the Bears will follow Thursday at practice as they begin final preparations for the Browns.

In other injury news, Trestman said he's "not optimistic" about the return of linebacker Lance Briggs, who has missed the last six games with a fracture in his left shoulder.

Cutler missed four consecutive games with a severe high ankle sprain sustained in the second quarter of a Nov. 10 loss to the Detroit Lions. McCown has started the past four games, going 2-2, throwing for 1,271 yards and nine touchdowns with only one interception for a 109.8 passer rating, which ranks No. 3 in the league.

McCown leads the NFL with a Total QBR of 85.7, compared to Cutler's 63.2. Overall, McCown has thrown for 13 touchdowns and the one interception; Cutler has 13 touchdown passes and eight interceptions. McCown's 258.4 passing yards per game would be a Bears season record.

"Josh has done excellent [with] what we've asked him to do. He's performed very, very well as a backup," Trestman said. "He understands his role. We all feel very, very good about the way we put this thing together. We're certainly very happy about the way Josh has performed. But this has been the plan and we're gonna execute it when Jay is ready to come back."

Cutler practiced for two days last week before the team made the decision to rest him as a precautionary measure. If his workout Wednesday goes well enough for the team to name him the starter, Trestman anticipates Thursday and Friday practices would "be sufficient" to get the quarterback ready to play.

"I feel like today, as long as we see [progress] and he feels good, I anticipate we'll be moving forward tomorrow," Trestman said. "I just want to make sure we give ourselves all the time necessary [to make the proper decision]."

With the team's playoff aspirations already shaky, Cutler said during the "Jay Cutler Show" on ESPN 1000 that even if the Bears (7-6) fall out of contention for the postseason, he'd still like to return to the lineup.

"I want to play as soon as I can play," Cutler said. "I've been out long enough. Just want to be able to help the guys be able to win football games, no matter what the situation is."

Despite his strong performances in relief of Cutler, McCown understands the situation and said he would welcome Cutler back when he's ready to play.

Filling in on Cutler's radio show Tuesday, receiver Brandon Marshall also said the team should name Cutler the starter once he's medically cleared to play.

"As soon as Jay is ready and healthy to get back out there ... he's been so good for me the last few weeks and how much he's helped me," McCown said Tuesday during "The Carmen & Jurko Show" on ESPN 1000. "I want to go back and return that favor to him and continue to help him. It's all about our team, and everybody has that 'C' on their helmet and that's all that matters. It's not about if this guy plays or that guy plays, it's about our team winning."