Why The Bears Shouldn't Be Worried That They Lost Jay Cutler

ESPN.com reports that Jay Cutler will miss the rest of the 2011 regular season due to a broken thumb on his throwing hand. While it's certainly not a good thing for the Bears to lose their starting quarterback, they shouldn't be worried. Why?

Reason One: The Bears have been winning games on running and defense

During the Bears current five game winning streak, Cutler has been really good. Not only do his throws like sharper and he's absolutely not making dumb throws like he has been doing the past two years, but he's only gotten sacked five times and he has a 7:3 TD/INT ratio. But with that being said, this team is a classic Chicago Bears team. They have been winning with an effective Cover-2 (this year), have been creating turn overs, been having Matt Forte run 99 yards and then have Marion Barber punch it in from the one-yard line. Since the passing debacle that was the Bears/Saints game in Week 2, Mike Martz has been running the ball first and then have Cutler pass second. As far as I know, guys like Forte, Barber, Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, and Julius Peppers are still healthy.

Reason Two: Caleb Hanie is not half bad

While we really have not seen a whole lot from Hanie, I like what I have seen. I've been to multiple training camps to watch Hanie play and I was really impressed when he replaced Cutler (and Todd Collins grumble grumble) during the 2010 NFC Championship game and from what little I have seen from him. Plus, see Point One. This team is not designed around throwing the ball and I think with an emphasis on Forte in the offense, Hanie will be fine.

Reason Three: The Bears have an easy schedule.

Here's the rest of the games that the Bears have- at Oakland, vs. Kansas City, at Denver, versus Seattle, at Green Bay, and at Minnesota. The only game on that schedule that scares me is at Green Bay. The Bears are in the driver's seat to earn the fifth seed in the playoffs and even without Cutler, I'm confident they can do that.

OK, now here are some reasons I might be worried as a Bears fan.
- Cutler has an amazing deep ball. Defenses always have to respect the deep ball which in turn spreads opposing defenses thin. With Hanie now starting defenses can move up like what my fellow school chums did whenever I came to the plate during kickball games and thus the Bears will have a tougher time running the ball.
- The Bears Cover-2 is designed to play with a lead. The Bears have actually been scoring a lot of points of late (the Bears have been averaging 32.2 points during their five game winning streak) and with Hanie in instead of Cutler, the Bears defense will not only be on the field more but will have a tougher time holding down opposing offenses.

That being said, I'm confident the Bears can rally to a one and done play off birth. GO BEARS!!!

As a bonus: here's GOI's famous awesome Caleb Hanie video: