In his coaches opinions, Nathan Enderles future may not be quite at hand. But as to whether he is ready to step on an NFL field as soon as next Sunday in Minnesota, Enderle doesnt hesitate.
Yeah, I am, he said Thursday.
Quarterbacks are supposed to be confident. Enderle is. And there is one big reason why Enderle, who is working like a No. 2 quarterback this week, is considerably more ready and confident now than even as recently as two weeks ago.
Hes going to be a good one, that guy, McCown told CSNChicago.com, nodding toward Enderle.
Long after practice again Thursday, after coaches and teammates, including Caleb Hanie, had gone in and practice equipment was being broken down, McCown and Enderle were still doing passing drills inside the Walter Payton Center.
But Enderle, the only player to be on the Bears 53-man roster all season and play in no games, wasnt the quarterback. He was the tight end. And the wide receiver. All the wide receivers, in fact.
Studying and working off a sheet of paper on the turf, McCown went over different routes, adjustments and decisions, then positioned Enderle to run the routes while McCown went through the play fakes, sometimes from a simulated direct snap, sometimes working from the shotgun. If the pass or the connection was a little off, McCown placed Enderle precisely where the throw was supposed to be caught and threw the pass again.
McCown knows the drill and the real benefits for both players: He played some wide receiver under coordinator Mike Martz back when the two were in Detroit.
Even just running the routes gives me a better idea of depths and understanding why they do certain things and run the routes, and that makes me a better quarterback, Enderle said.
Quarterbacks know all the routes but its good for me to know how theyre run, their landmarks and when they adjust and when they dont. Plus, it helps me stay in shape.
Coaches said to put no stock in the fact that Hanie is not putting in the extra drill time. But where McCown is playing for a job opportunity next year and Enderle is assured of coming back for 2012, Hanie will not be. Hanie did not play in Green Bay and is not expected to get on the field in Minnesota.
Enderle, however, is another matter. If he in fact is not as ready as he believes he is, it ultimately reflects on a lack of player development by coordinator Martz and quarterbacks coach Shane Day.
The Bears are starting McCown because he gives them the best chance to win while at the same time giving them more of a body of work to evaluate for next season.
At this point, Enderle is the obvious play for next season. And if his work ethic even late in week 17 of a lost season is any indication, he may be the best chance to win after McCown as well.
He thinks hes ready, in any case.