Caleb Hanie seduced me the way every back-up quarterback should: with big throws and gritty play against other scrubs in the waning moments of a preseason game. Oh Caleb you had me at that Hail Mary pass to beat the 49ers.
With Jay Cutler officially sidelined with concussion symptoms the Bears are probably counting their blessings that they are matched up with the 0-4 Carolina Panthers and their rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen this week. It’s safe to say – even with all the flaws exposed against the Giants – the Bears will only need a mere semblance of offense to win.
Enter the only Bears quarterback to make a play down the field last week, right?
Wrong. The Bears apparently feel better about turning to veteran Todd Collins despite his listless performance in relief of Cutler Sunday night. A lot has been made of the fact that Collins won his last 3 games as a starter. Not enough has been made of the fact that those games came in 2007 when Collins finished out a season for the Redskins.
Mike Martz has always preferred the heady veteran who will simply run his system and highlight the genius of how such a system could make a non-talent like Jon Kitna a 4,000 yard passer. So what better way to honor the system than to turn Todd Collins into a fill-in winner.
But before Hanie’s preseason shoulder injury the Bears’ coaching staff seemed content with him manning the #2 job. If Collins was such a better options why not bring him in from the get-go instead of needing to be pressed into it?
Also – given the deteriorating state of the offensive line – why not turn to the younger, more mobile and athletic quarterback? The one who might be able to evade the rush, get outside the pocket and make a play? Sure he may be less experience and might not go through his reads and progressions perfectly, and in Martz’s world that is the cardinal sin that can not be allowed.
And so the Bears will trot Collins out under center Sunday in Carolina. To make people say, ‘Wow! Look at that play! Even Todd Collins can make it as a quarterback under Martz’ instead of ‘Wow! Look at that play! Hanie sure made something out of nothing there’. That is the stubbornness and arrogance of Mike Martz. The same stubbornness that had the Bears continually dropping back to pass until the Giants knocked Cutler out of the game. The same arrogance that believe Collins is the better choice to lead the Bears on Sunday just because he’s been around longer.
Consider this the call for Caleb Hanie. Forget about the importance of experience and start thinking about the impact of creativity and athleticism when it comes to moving the Chicago Bears malfunctioning offense down the field.