As reports circulate that Jay Cutler is preparing to return weeks ahead of schedule following a severe groin injury, the national media is gearing up to criticize the Bears quarterback’s display of toughness and heart.

“This is typical selfish Cutler,” said NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders. “Didn’t he see how well McCown played? What is he thinking trying to play through pain and get on the field for this potentially season-changing Lions game?”

Cutler, 4-2 as a Bears starter this year, was expected to miss at least a month and possibly the remainder of the season after tearing his groin against the Washington Redskins. Now, after backup Josh McCown went 22-for-41 in a win over the Packers, palpably excited analysts are readying their hypocritical criticisms.

“Personally, I can’t wait until Cutler plays Sunday,” said ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer. “I expect him to do a competent job under incredible duress only for the Bears defense to blow the win, and then I can lead SportsCenter with the ‘Would Bears Have Won With McCown?’ Hot Button debate segment.”

Dilfer’s face lit up as he continued: “It’s going to be so exciting to rip into Jay for stepping up, demonstrating remarkable toughness, and playing through an injury. There’s no place in this league for those traits, and it’s about time Cutler is called out for displaying them.”

“Plus, what was up with Cutler’s body language on the sidelines Monday night?” Dilfer asked, shaking his head. “He was supportive and involved in the game, talking to McCown and the coaches throughout. He even smiled and celebrated when Josh threw a touchdown. He needs to grow up. If you want to see how an injured quarterback should act, there’s no better example than Aaron Rodgers’ behavior on the opposite sideline; sulking, aloof, and bitter. Now that’s a franchise QB.”

When asked what it was that Dilfer preferred about Josh McCown, the journeyman backup quarterback that will be deified by the media if Cutler so much as throws an incompletion against Detroit, Dilfer responded: “He has the most important quality I look for when evaluating a quarterback: he’s not Jay Cutler.”

Jay R.