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John Fox won’t give Jay Cutler vote of confidence, says he’s still evaluating QB

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John Fox was given the opportunity to say something positive about Jay Cutler, perhaps a comment that indicates the new Chicago Bears head coach has some semblance of faith that the talented but erratic quarterback can seize the starting role and lead the team heading into next season. He refused to do so.

In fact, Fox wouldn’t even provide a lukewarm vote of confidence for his team’s presumptive starting signal-caller, instead arguing that there is no timetable to make that determination and that he’s still in process of evaluating Cutler.

“We’re not up against a deadline,” Fox said, via ESPN Chicago’s Michael C. Wright. “My experience has always been that you need to gather the information and in turn, you usually make better decisions. We’re in that process, and we’ll keep you posted.”

Part of the evaluation process involves simply getting acquainted with Cutler, says Fox.

“Well, I think just getting to know him [is important],” the head coach said. “You know, everybody’s got perceptions. But I think that getting to know the guy, this is a relationship business, and that takes time. So I don’t want to stand up here and give you a final evaluation when I’m maybe a quarter through the test.”

Regarding issues related to Cutler’s future with team, that remains murky. While his base 2015 salary of $15.5 million is guaranteed, should he still be on the roster on March 12 — the third day of the NFL’s new year — $10 million of Cutler’s 2016 salary becomes guaranteed as well.

Fox would not comment on that issue, either, noting that the deadline when that decision needs to be made is still weeks away.

Given that the Bears reportedly met with free agent quarterback Josh McCown and how Jimmy Clausen replaced Cutler temporarily last season — albeit under a different coaching regime — Cutler’s erratic ineffectiveness and hefty salary (not to mention the looming $10 million that becomes guaranteed on March 12) indicates there’s no guarantee Cutler will continue to be the guy in Chi-Town.

Just ask Coach Fox about that … and while he hasn’t and likely won’t reveal much, what he doesn’t say about Cutler speaks volumes.

(image credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America)