Chicago Bears head coach John Fox said on Wednesday that quarterback Jay Cutler, like all players on the team, will face an "open competition" for his starting job.
Speaking from the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix, Fox discussed the offense he inherited when the Bears hired him in January. Cutler, 32 next month, is entering his seventh season with the Bears and is coming off a year in which he completed 66 percent of his passes for 3,812 yards, 28 touchdowns and 18 interceptions.
"It's all an open competition," Fox told reporters. "Obviously you've got to start somewhere. In my experience in football, and really in anything, it's not where you start the race, it's where you finish it.
[daily_cut.nfl]"But we've got to start the race with some kind of lineup. We have not discussed that at depth. We have not presented it to our players yet. ... I kind of have it in my brain and then they compete."
At quarterback, the Bears also return Jimmy Clausen, who signed with Chicago last June. Clausen, 28 in September, appeared in four games last season and completed 54.2 percent of his passes for 223 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. The bulk of his action came when he started the Week 16 game against the Detroit Lions and finished 23-of-39 for 181 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. The Bears lost, 20-14.
Fox did say on Wednesday that if he had to list a depth chart at this point in the offseason, Cutler would be No. 1.
"Logically, if you are looking at the depth chart and you are asking me for it two weeks before we can really get anything going, I'd say he'd be first on the depth chart, yeah," he said.
The Bears went 5-11 last season after losing their final five games. Fox replaces Marc Trestman, who was fired after two seasons with the team.
- Mike Fiammetta