Chicago Bears Sackwatch 2011; Week 16 vs. Green Bay Packers

The Chicago Bears traveled to Green Bay on Sunday with a new starting quarterback, their third of the season, and a patchwork offensive line that had been struggling the last four weeks. The pass protection issues during that span was definitely a team effort of crapdom, and I feared the Packers pass rush would add to the Sackwatch total in a big way. Then when I saw Gate 68 inserted into the lineup for the Bears I braced myself for a long film session breaking down multiple sacks. Surprise. Although the Bears were stomped 35-21, Packer sack specialist Clay Matthews and his defensive brethren didn't get to Josh McCown once. So where are we at in the Sackwatch you ask...

Sackwatch after 15 games
2010 - 50
2011 -42

I was expecting Todd Collins 2.0 out of McCown and to see some actual competent QB play took me aback. I thought McCown would play skittish, after all the guy was coaching high school football about a month ago. He wasn't even on an NFL roster in 2010. His last NFL in game action was September of 2009, unless you count the preseason snaps he took earlier this year before the 49ers cut him. But to see McCown actually have pocket presence was very surprising. To be fair, the game plan benefited the QB. It was very run heavy, and they schemed better pass protection than they had the last few weeks.

Now the adjective I chose up there was competent, and I choose it for a reason. I'm not ready to start trumpeting him as the clear cut #2 QB going into next year. Remember the last time the Bears saw a back up QB play so-so against the Packers? How'd that guy end up playing?

What I did like about McCown's play was his awareness. Not one of his scrambles looked forced. He stood tall in the pocket, he didn't hold on to the ball for too long, and when he felt the pressure he took off. This was something that Caleb Hanie struggled with. He never looked comfortable in the pocket, and his play directly led to the increase in sacks during his four game stretch. A quick tangent on Hanie...

He will get a camp invite next year, just not in Chicago. He'll have to bust his ass, but it wouldn't surprise me to see him make a roster. There just aren't that many good quarterbacks playing football these days. Some scout will spin his 4 games into something, and some team will take a chance on the cheap with him.

Back to McCown, if he shows some heady play in week 17 against the Vikings, I would still look for an upgrade at QB. This isn't to knock him, I would just rather see another veteran brought in to compete in camp and allow the best man to win.

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