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Hanie is Out; What's the Bears' Backup Plan?

Exhibit A in "When Things Go Wrong For Your Team."
Exhibit A in "When Things Go Wrong For Your Team."

I'm not sure how this slipped by the ranks of WCGers waiting for it (covered by a passing Den mention), but in a somewhat expected news item, Caleb Hanie was officially shown the door. The former Bear struggled in 2011, with the team losing all four of his starts, scoring 11.75 points per game and putting up 262 yards per game as a combined offense. That includes a not-so-stellar 123 yards per game through the air, with three games never touching 100, culminating in a 41.8 quarterback rating.

Those offensive numbers would of course tell you the move was to be expected - he was an undrafted free agent who, in five career starts, couldn't quite put it together in his limited time. And if watching the Colts also showed us anything, it's that not having a solid backup behind a stud quarterback can make even teams that finished the prior year at 10-6 go downhill in a hurry. So what's the Bears' next move here? Take the jump and let's discuss a few backup options as we start heading towards free agency.

Let's start with this: the Bears will not be bringing in Peyton Manning, as he won't take just a couple million to be the small man on campus. If he's healthy, he's still a dominant starting quarterback until he shows otherwise. I also don't think Matt Flynn's an option. He wasn't worth franchise tag money, especially to keep around as a backup, but he'll either get a starter's job or he'll return to Green Bay as backup with a significant, though not crazy, raise

Josh McCown: McCown is the odds-on favorite to enter camp as the backup, but there will most assuredly be a competition for the spot. But in two games starting, while he was far from perfect, he still showed some potential, and might still have enough in the tank to stick on the roster.

Nathan Enderle: The Martz pick is in a pretty interesting spot. Martz is gone, and Enderle barely dressed and never saw the field, so is he still in the picture for a backup spot or is he on the way out? I'd say he sticks in competition for a roster spot based on his draft pick status, but if he doesn't show anything to warrant it, he'll be shown the door.

David Garrard: This is a possible option - while he last saw action as a starter, a year off from football might have lowered his expectations. He was a Pro-Bowl quarterback in 2009 and in 2010 still had a 90.8 quarterback rating in 14 games. There's no reason to think he can't still play, though he might be a more expensive option that most.

Kyle Orton: It's coming, so let's get it out of the way. He's solid, but he's a guy that, like Garrard, might still consider himself a starter in the league, and thus would be more expensive.

Shaun Hill: When Matthew Stafford went down in 2011, Hill put up a fairly solid campaign when he was healthy. He's a career backup with more touchdowns than interceptions, a QB rating over 80 in both seasons he played at least 8 games, and has a career rating of 84.7. You can't ask for a lot more than that in a backup. Detroit will probably want him back, but he would definitely fit the backup solution for the Bears.

Dan Orlovsky: Laugh. Laugh loudly. Laugh at the time he ran out of the endzone or at the numerous times I've complained about his fantasy edition card in Madden Ultimate Team being rated a 90. But last season with the 2-14 Colts, he had 1,201 yards in 8 games (5 starts), 6 touchdowns to 4 interceptions, and an 82.4 quarterback rating.

There's a few of the options I've got for you, what do you think? Any guys you see as being good options here? Who do you want to see come in as the backup?