Mike Mulligan at the Chicago Sun-Times tells us what most Bears have been saying for most of the season. That Caleb Hanie should have been second on the depth chart all along:
“The big questions about him now are: Why was he ever behind [backup quarterback Todd Collins] to begin with and what might have been if he had gotten into the game earlier? Did the Bears give away two possessions because of bad coaching decisions?”
These are good questions.
I doubt very much that getting Hanie into the game earlier would have helped all that much. He did throw two interceptions after all. And even had he been second on the depth chart, I’m quite certain that with a new offense being installed, Cutler still got virtually all the reps. I’m sure that’s why offensive coordinator Mike Martz wanted a veteran backup in the first place.
“Hanie played well enough to make everyone wonder why he was the third-string quarterback and not the second-stringer. He also made a strong statement about where he belongs on the depth chart moving forward.”
The real issue, the one where the organization really needs to look critically at itself, was how they handled the back up position from the time they drafted sixth-round pick Dan LeFevour until now.
The Bears drafted LeFevour instead of Packer running back James Starks in a move which former Bears personnel man Greg Gabriel called an embarrassment for the organization. Karma is a bitch.
Though general manager Jerry Angelo was ultimately responsible for this move, my advice to him would be to look very closely next time at who is influencing him when it comes to these personnel moves and when it comes to how the depth chart is stacked. If its Martz then Angelo needs to think carefully about what happened to the Rams roster as Martz acculumated more power over personnel. It wasn’t good over time.
Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune would seem to agree:
“The addition of coordinator Mike Martz remains a good topic for debate, and his insistence on having the 39-year-old Collins ahead of Hanie on the depth chart was a head scratcher.”
This was a tough way to learn a lesson. It shouldn’t be wasted.