"It would make us all feel a little easier with a veteran because you just never know.'' Chicago Bears new offensive coordinator Mike Martz after this past weekend’s rookie minicamp.
Hanie has served as the Bears back up the last two seasons. An undrafted free agent out of Colorado State University, he has shown flashes of becoming a solid pro, but does not have the experience. As Martz goes on to say, "''The only thing we don't know is how well he responds under pressure." Having only played in two regular season games in two years, with only seven pass attempts, I can see Martz’s logic.
LeFevour is a sixth round, rookie from Central Michigan. Having rarely taken a snap directly from center in college due to a spread offense, the rookie must first learn how to handle the ball from center and re-treat into a three or five or seven foot drop. Not as easy as it sounds. All this while trying to learn a very complex offense and getting used to NFL game/player speed. LeFevour has upside, but needs to be coached and groomed before ever seeing the field.
After taking a quick look at Hanie and LeFevour, you can see why Martz is a little concerned.
Two of Martz’s former quarterbacks, Marc Bulger and Josh McCown, are both currently free agents waiting for another opportunity to join an NFL franchise. Both players have started games in the league and have been productive.
Not only could a veteran backup QB add insurance if Cutler should go down, but having knowledge of Martz’s offense could be even more of a valuable commodity than playing time. Hanie and LeFevour are both very young and may need assistance picking up all of the nuances of an elaborate offense. Cutler and the receivers would stand to benefit from an experienced offensive player in Martz’s system as well.
However, adding a vet to the quarterback group would mean letting one go. More than likely, the odd man out would be Hanie. The Bears just selected LeFevour, who seems to have more of an upside as well as a better pedigree.
So, the most important thing to mention at the end of all of this is that we will never see the back-up quarterback play because Jay will never leave the field. Nevertheless, when the Bears are blowing out opponents and Cutler can get a rest on the sideline, who should come in to mop up?