Nine NFL teams have changed quarterbacks already this year. Including the Chicago Bears.
Jay Cutler will miss the first game of his NFL career due to injury this week.
As part of the evaluation process for concussions, Cutler took part in Bears practice Wednesday and was checked out by both Bears team doctors and an independent physician. Their decision: Ruled out for Sunday.
16-year veteran Todd Collins is in. "Lovie told me late this morning (Thursday), I was kind of expecting it, getting excited, getting ready to go" Collins said.
"Todd's a guy that's played a great deal and won," Bears Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz said, "And played exceptionally well at this level."
Pressure to protect the backup lies within the offensive line once again. "In the NFL you can't help a guy do his job, if you do your job that's the best way you can help him" acknowledged Center Olin Kreutz.
Despite just three starts in thirteen years, Todd Collins has had success off the bench. He started the final three games of the 2007 season for the Redskins, all wins. "It's pretty tough being in some long stretches being the backup guy where you didn't get a chance, you just got to stay consistent and disciplined, preparation year to year, week to week" Collins said Thursday.
Long stretches indeed. Prior to starting those final three games of the 2007 season in Washington, it had been a 13 year wait between starts.
And when it comes to Mike Martz offenses, the backups usually don't see any reps at all in practice. Collins did split reps Wednesday when Cutler was limited in practice and took all the first team snaps on Thursday.
Cutler has helped Collins out with the plays and reads, though Collins doesn't expect Mike Martz to cut back on the playbook. "I don't think he's the one to limit playbooks much" Collins said.
What if the Bears need three quarterbacks again Sunday in Carolina? Don't scan the roster for the Matt Fortes and Des Clarks who played quarterback in high school. "We have an emergency plan" Lovie Smith said acknowledging how rare it is to need all three, "We have a guy in mind, maybe a couple guys in mind if we get down to number three."
And if they do get down to number three again? The Bears are really in trouble.