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Loss of Cutler looms larger than loss of game

I said the Bears could lose to Houston — and to San Francisco, for that matter — and be just fine.

And I stand by what I wrote. Especially given that the Falcons, Giants and Lions all lost, the 49ers tied and the Packers didn't win in Week 10, the Bears are still just fine in the NFC playoff picture, even after losing 13-6 to the Texans Sunday night.

Of course, my point is moot if Jay Cutler's concussion has any sort of long-term ramifications — and given his past history of concussions, it might have serious ones.

Now, I think Jason Campbell can keep the ship from sinking completely the way it did with Caleb Hanie captaining it in 2011. My confidence in Campbell was shaken some last night, when his idea of trying to bring the Bears back was to check it down repeatedly to Matt Spaeth and Kyle Adams. A seventh-year player ought to be able to recognize a game situation better. But it seemed to me that Campbell has been coached to error on the side of conservatism. If Campbell is given the first-team reps during a week leading up to a game, I'll bet the reins are loosed a bit.

If Cutler misses Monday's game at San Francisco, that's fine. If he misses Minnesota the following week and even Seattle after that, I'm OK with that ... if, and it's a big if, he comes back at 100 percent for the end of the regular season and the playoffs. Campbell can tread you some water and hold down the fort. He can't, I don't believe, win you a Super Bowl; my prediction of a Bears title was contingent on Cutler being under center.

And if Cutler's concussion jeopardizes his career, it probably means the championship window for the Urlacher/Briggs/Tillman Bears — the same window that many thought had closed prior to this season, but may have been reopened as the defense dominated its way through the first half of the season — has been slammed shut. They're not winning one without Cutler. I'm getting way ahead of myself here, as there's a good chance Cutler will be back in a matter of weeks if not days and we'll eventually forget all about his little boo-boo, but in this era of enhanced concussion awareness, you never know.


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