CHICAGO - OCTOBER 24: Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears talks with teammates including Caleb Hanie #12 on the bench during a game against the Washington Redskins at Soldier Field on October 24 2010 in Chicago Illinois. The Redskins defeated the Bears 17-14. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jay Cutler; Caleb Hanie
Originally this post was supposed to encompass the entire Chicago backfield, but after I started writing, I found that I had more to say about the Quarterbacks than I had originally thought I would, so I had to stop there. We'll hit up the RBs later. (and for further reference, check out Lester's Roster Turnover series This one deals with QBs. Great stuff!)Caleb Hanie: (Kev H did a nice piece on Caleb in his 2011 Free Agency series. Check it out here) Hanie did very well in limited work this year. Well enough that he proved that he never should have lost the #2 spot when he was injured in the preseason. He should get a chance to fight for the #2......but he won't. The Bears want a veteran in this spot (Marc Bulger would be ideal, but Chad Pennington is my bet for the guy we end up with. And if Pennington can actually stay off the IR list, it's not even a bad choice), and for some reason (insulted Martz's mother, maybe?) Hanie seems to be a sore spot. Problems admitting error by the coaching staff (see any interview where the choice to keep Hanie at #3 is questioned for evidence of this. But this one probably takes the cake.) might further hinder Hanie in elevating on the depth chart. All that having been said, unless some team with a desperate need for a QB and a risk taking GM comes calling, Hanie will have a seat. The Bears will need him to bail the team out when whoever the next veteran who was better in practice throws 4 picks against the worst team in the league. Caleb has a seat.
Todd Collins: I cannot see the Bears possibly wasting any more money than they have on Collins, unless of course he looks better in practice, then it might be on! Collins reportedly is considering retirement after the injury to his (pride) shoulder in the NFCCG, depending on how his MRI turned out. I don't blame Collins for the position he was in. I can't fault the guy for playing well in practice after being coaxed out of retirement by the Bears. And I won't wish career ending injury on him. But I do hope he plays somewhere else next year. Collins has no seat (or arm).
Matt Gutierrez: What can we say about Matt? His career completion percentage is 100% and a career QB rating of over 104. Of course, he threw 1 pass in 2007 as a member of the Pats and another in 2009 as a Chief. Matt is a warm body for camp, as my esteemed colleague pointed out in his piece. But unlike my colleague, I don't believe he has a chance in Hades of making the roster, due to nothing more than his lack of experience . He could end up on the PS as a scout QB, though. Matt is seatless.
Jay Cutler: Jay Cutler? Why is he even being considered? Because there is a very vocal section of members that feel Cutler is part of the problem. Now, I've had countless arguments in the threads about Jay. I've presented the facts (multiple systems, horrid line and incomplete and ineffective receiving corps) multiple times so I won't rehash this argument. But I will make a few points. First, the Bears gave away entirely too much to attain Cutler to just give up on him after a year that showed progression, development and improvement. Even if Cutler was a mistake, there is no way that the front office admits a mistake this quickly. Additionally, Cutler showed this year that he can run this type of offense and do it well, even with having to run for his life and throw to a sub-par receiving corps. Trading him at this point would be the epitome of impatience. Like it or not (and I do), Jay Cutler is here to stay. Jay has the best seat in the house.
There you have it. Collins and Gutierrez are left looking for somebody else's pine to ride. Join us next time as the Bears RBs do their best Walter Payton impressions as our next dancing Bears.
And if you missed any of the previous posts in this series, here are some handy links just for you!