Bears backup QB Hanie has Cutler's back

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Bears backup QB Hanie has Cutler's back

Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011
10:32 a.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Caleb Hanie spent the week leading up to the Green Bay game playing the role of Aaron Rodgers, running the scout team as he has since the mid-season off week.

He was in the role of defense attorney on Tuesday for Jay Cutler and he played it very, very well. Not that Cutler needs it, but his backup has his back.

In a phone interview on The Dan Patrick Show Hanie disputed any notion that Patrick himself had been pounding all morning, that Cutler wasnt involved enough after being taken out of the game. One TV shot showed Cutler sitting on the bench, in his Bears cape, uninterested and uninvolved.

No, that wasnt the case, Hanie said. Ive seen the shot on TV but that was just one five-second clip. He talked to me a lot coming off the field to calm me down, told me to trust my line, trust my reads and just go play and use your feet if you have to.

Didinger: Cutler doesn't deserve all the criticism

He did a great job doing that for me. I thought he was well into the game. I asked him a question at one point on the cards or pictures and he gave his input, told me the blitzes they were bringing and coverages they were running.

As far as Cutler not being right next to Hanie all the time, I think he was just trying to give me time when we were sitting on the bench, time to digest everything, then talk to me after, Hanie said.

Hanie was direct on one hypothetical: Had the Bears won the game, Cutler would have played in the Super Bowl, he said.

And as far as the NFC Championship, If he couldve played, he wouldve played, Hanie said. I was surprised because hes been getting hit all season but never seems to get hurt... Hes one of the toughest guys on our team...

One thing I know about him: Hes going to sell out for his teammates, no matter what. He cares about his teammates more than anyone else out there. If he could have played effectively, he would have been in there for sure.

Hes not a quitter. The kind of stuff other players via Twitter and elsewhere were saying, thats what aggravates the guys in our locker room. Because we know hes not a quitter.

Identity crises

Hanie wasnt sure the Packers knew his name when he came into the game. They probably didnt, he said. They were telling me I played good afterwards. They were good about that.

READ: Cutler vs. the Media - Day 2

What some people couldnt understand was how Hanie didnt see B.J. Raji before he threw a pass directly to the massive nose tackle. Someone was saying, How did you not see the guy? Hes 400 pounds. I said, Well, hes hiding behind the other 400-pound guy.

Youre kidding, right?

Patrick said hed rather have seen Cutler at least standing up on the sidelines rather than sitting on the bench. Just guessing here, but would the knock then have been that the guy was OK enough to stand, so...

This was all kind of interesting, and not restricted to Dan Patrick by any means. It has the feel that now that it is clear that Cutler has a knee injury, a torn ligament, some people need to do some fast face-saving or CYAing. Rather than acknowledge that Cutler bashing over the injury was off, people are taking off now after Cutlers demeanor.

Based on the isolated snippets of TV shots showing a morose Cutler on the bench, Patrick declared, This is the biggest game of his life... Hes guilty of indifference... Thats his crime, to me.

Wow. Now not only readings in body language, but mind-reading and character analysis?

OK, so, what, now the crime has shifted to not being sufficiently or visibly crushed? And crime? Dan does need to get out more. But thats seriously, seriously stupid. And Patrick is a fellow University of Dayton alum.
Stuckmeyer: Putting 'toughness in perspective

Maybe having had the pleasure of doing Mondays Chicago Tribune Live on Comcast SportsNet with two-time Super Bowl winner Howard Griffith is an advantage here. Howard had the same injury and was blunt; no way could someone go back in an NFL game with that injury.

Somehow, though, people cant let go of the toughness crap. A caller brought up Brett Favre and how youd have to drag him off the field. Patrick mentioned that Ben Roethlisberger played with a broken nose.

You can play with a broken nose. You can win heavyweight boxing championships with a broken nose. Comparing a broken nose and a torn knee ligament? No, Dan really needs to get out more.

A voice of reason

To his credit, Tony Dungy, who faced similar situations during his time coaching the Indianapolis Colts, even in the Super Bowl against the Bears, was blunt, but I dont think it was at all the direction Patrick was expecting.

Dungy immediately went right at critics, particularly among the ranks of players as well as people who clearly didnt know the situation at the time: I think its ridiculous... Im just really, really surprised.

DPs yeah, but was back at the appearance of indifference. But Dungy wasnt buying that either. Colts receiver Marvin Harrison was a similarly undemonstrative individual on the sidelines, which didnt bother Dungy because Harrisons play was anything but indifferent.

Dungy said it all: People like you, DP, although Dungy didnt say it are wanting Jay Cutler to act a different way than he is and basically be something they want him to be.

Well said. If youre pre-disposed to dislike someone, for whatever reason, pretty much whatever that person does will confirm the baseline feeling. Hey, no one likes admitting they were wrong.

Correcting

Dan brought up Scottie Pippen the other day when I was on the show, Pippen as an example of someone who never got past the stigma of having migraines in playoffs. Pippen was part of enough championships (as Tonto to Jordans Lone Ranger) that the migraine issue was put in the past. Terrell Davis issues with that problem helped.

What wasnt was Pippens refusal to go in the game with 1.4 sec. remaining in a playoff game vs. the Knicks, because Pippen was hearing that he wasnt the No. 1 option on the play after the timeout. That, not migraines, is the stigma that Pippen carries.

Odd

Bears safety Chris Harris wasnt voted onto the NFC Pro Bowl roster. But he, along with linebacker Brian Urlacher, was named a second-team All-Pro. Go figure.

Easier to figure the Bears first-teamers: defensive end Julius Peppers and Devin Hester (as a returner, not a receiver). The Bears and Atlanta Falcons were the only NFC teams with two players named to the team.

Definitely not-odd

Defensive end Israel Idonije is one of the three finalists, along with Oakland Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and Madieu Williams of the Minnesota Vikings, for the prestigious Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award. The winner will be announced prior to the Super Bowl on Feb. 6.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

No sign Bears locked into drafting a QB in 2017 as Ryan Pace underscores 'best available' tack

No sign Bears locked into drafting a QB in 2017 as Ryan Pace underscores 'best available' tack

PHOENIX – NFL owners meetings, like the Scouting Combine, invariably involve hallway conversations regarding quarterbacks. Why doesn’t Colin Kaepernick have a job? Why does Mark Sanchez have one? Will Jay Cutler take one? This year, despite a 3-13 record last season and a continuing slide toward irrelevance, the Bears are in intriguing part of those conversations, or maybe, whispers.

The reason, beyond the obvious fact that the Bears stand at No. 3 in a QB-lite draft, is because the Bears not only have done significant things at the position – cutting Cutler, signing Sanchez and Mike Glennon, not signing Brian Hoyer – but one NFL source said to keep an eye on the Bears as potentially being involved in at least one future blockbuster after this season.

More on that in a moment.

First of all, every indication is that GM Ryan Pace is absolutely NOT locked into or about to allow himself to be pressured into drafting a quarterback in 2017. Certainly not at No. 3, maybe not at all. Maybe this is pre-draft posturing, misinformation or misdirection, and Pace has said in the past that he wants to draft quarterbacks but hasn’t in his first two Bears drafts. But still:

“We’re going to draft the best players available, wherever that may be,” Pace said on Tuesday. “And if it’s a quarterback, it’s a quarterback. But we’re going to take the best players available. I think now some of those things are unforeseen. You can’t predict some of those things. But right now I like the way Sanchez blends with Glennon and with Connor Shaw.”

Whether the public likes Pace’s moves at quarterback, or whether they’re good, bad or anywhere in between is just offseason speculation for now. The NFL will start giving him meaningful feedback sometime this September. What Pace has in fact done, regardless of analyses at this point, like it or not, is create options for himself and his coaches. And those extend beyond 2017.

Some context here: Even with some measure of job security in the short term, Pace is tasked with winning in the future as well as the present. He has addressed the 2017 quarterback situation, if not spectacularly, with Glennon and Sanchez specifically. But think beyond ’17; because Pace is.

More context: GM’s and head coaches like and need options. Doubts about Glennon, Sanchez, Connor Shaw or some rookie notwithstanding, Pace has the Bears positioned with options, not necessarily good options, but arguably best-available for the most part.

A little more context: Dowell Loggains may not have quelled all doubts about his play calling, but Cutler, Hoyer and Matt Barkley all had their best NFL stretches, albeit short, under his stewardship. 

Pace has effectively positioned the Bears for not one or two, but as many as a half-dozen spins of the quarterback wheel looking for a winner. It is a place the Bears were not in for most of Cutler’s tenure outside of brief Hoyer and Josh McCown bursts.

Within this context, consider the Pace’s chances for a strike at THE priority position for the franchise:

Spin 1: Mike Glennon

Pace announced the former Bucs quarterback as the Bears’ starter. Probably is. But Matt Flynn was the Seahawks’ starter when they free-agent signed him away from Green Bay in 2012. He lost his starting job by the end of training camp to a rookie third-round draft choice, Russell Wilson.

The Bears chose Glennon over Cutler and Hoyer because of upside; if Glennon plays to his perceived ceiling, the Bears have him under contract for two more years.

Spin 2: Mark Sanchez

When all the cynical subsides, consider him a low-risk spin who has been good enough to stand a career 37-35 as a starter. McCown amounted to something and still is after age 30, even with bad teams. Hoyer played some of his best football the past two seasons, after age 30. If Loggains resuscitates Sanchez’s career at age 30… .

Spin 3: The rookie

How, where and even if – make that a big IF – the Bears make their first Ryan Pace draft pick of a quarterback doesn’t come around for another month. But whomever the Bears select, if they select a quarterback this draft, gives Pace another spin of the QB wheel.

Spin 4: Kirk Cousins

CSNChicago.com confirmed that the Bears called on Cousins’ availability, even with the specter of Washington’s franchise tag hanging over him. But as one NFL source noted, Cousins is on a one-year deal ($23.94 million tag guarantee), it is his second and presumably last tag, and he has spurned long-term Washington offers to this point.

Glennon’s contract commits the Bears to $16 million this year. After that, minimal guarantee. Sanchez, one-year deal. Cousins, one-year deal.

Next offseason… . 

Spin 5: Jimmy Garoppolo

The Eastern Illinois quarterback wasn’t deemed worth a No. 3 pick in 2014, in either round one or two. He hasn’t put enough on film to make him worth that pick now.

But if the Cleveland Browns don’t trade for him, or New England hasn’t turned to him and locked him up contractually, he would be an unrestricted free agent next offseason. It will take a long-term market deal but at least he wouldn’t cost a high No. 1.

Spin 6: Connor Shaw

He is already clearly getting a preseason look, as he did last year, and is ahead of evaluations that accompanied David Fales and some other Bears hopefuls. He’s found money if he develops into something, but Warren Moon, Tony Romo and Kurt Warner were all undrafted free agents, too.

Bears believe they got more than just a No. 2 QB in signing Mark Sanchez

Bears believe they got more than just a No. 2 QB in signing Mark Sanchez

PHOENIX – The signing of Mark Sanchez last week gave the Bears what they view as a bona fide No. 2 quarterback, something they have needed at least one of in each of the last seven seasons. Sanchez has started 72 NFL games vs. the 18 of Mike Glennon but GM Ryan Pace reiterated on Tuesday that Glennon is ensconced as the starter.
 
More than just finding a viable backup has been at stake in the Bears' quest for a backup, and in a clear statement of philosophy, Pace affirmed that intangibles played a significant part in deciding on Sanchez. Part of those specifically involved an assessment of how Sanchez would work off the field with Glennon.
 
"He's knowledgeable, he's smart and him and Mike have already kind of clicked," Pace said. "They're together and they're organizing workouts on their own and those kind of things are important.
 
"We've talked about it before: There's no more important room than the quarterback room and we put a lot of thought as to how that room blends together, especially with the number two position. Obviously we're evaluating the physical traits and what he can do physically but how they fit in as teammates, how they help each other, how they support each other. I think we've all seen really good rooms that are better as a whole because of the people that are in there. And maybe some rooms that don't click well together. I think we've created an environment not only with him but also with Connor Shaw where it's a room that can really click together and make each other better."

[MORE BEARS: No Bears move yet on CB Deiondre' Hall except maybe to safety]
 
While Pace and coach John Fox have preached competition throughout the depth chart, that does not appear to apply at quarterback the same way. Indeed, a true quarterback competition can divide teams and become a distraction cloud over more than just that one position.
 
Glennon in fact may not need a lot of external competition. He is effectively playing to restart his NFL career, with $16 million guaranteed for the 2017 season but only $2.5 million guaranteed beyond that on a contract with a top-out of $45 million over three years.
 
"I think it's good for them to always be pushing each other so there's competition," Pace said. "Glennon's our starter… but that doesn't mean they're not pushing each other throughout practice and I think that goes with Connor Shaw, too. So those guys are all competitive guys, we wouldn't want them if they weren't competitive, and I just think it's a healthy competition."