CHICAGO -- For years, the Chicago Bears used to believe that all that separated them from a shot at lasting success in the NFL was a franchise quarterback, and when they traded for Jay Cutler in 2009 they were convinced the future was theirs.
This is Cutler's eighth year as Chicago's starting quarterback and to say the deal hasn't worked out as the Bears had hoped would be one of the NFL's grossest understatements.
Cutler suffered a thumb injury that knocked him out of Monday night's 29-14 loss to Philadelphia, but even before that he was being outplayed by Carson Wentz, the Eagles' rookie quarterback, and directing a Bears' offense that looked lost.
Perhaps there are reasons, like the almost annual revolving door of Chicago offensive coordinators, and an offensive line that is in almost as much flux. Whatever the reason, Cutler has never lived up to the pre-trade promise, winning only one playoff game in his Bears' career, and instead has become something of a flash point for fans to blame for most of what's wrong with the team.
Against the Eagles, Cutler made some big plays before the thumb injury forced him out of the game, but the bottom line is he led the Bears to just seven points in nearly three quarters.
"I'm concerned," he said. "You know, as a quarterback, you kind of need your right thumb. I think I was 12 or 11 when I had surgery on this thumb, so we'll see what it is."
The injury is believed to have occurred on a sack that resulted in a fumble, but Cutler remained in the game long enough to throw a crippling interception. He said the interception may have occurred because he was having trouble gripping the ball and that's when he went to quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone and took himself out of the game.
The Bears said further examination will be made Tuesday to determine whether Cutler can play next Sunday night at Dallas.
His issues mirror a bigger one for the Bears, who are 0-2 and, with Monday's defeat, have lost 12 of their last 13 games at home. They are already two games behind Minnesota in the NFC North standings.