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Bears bungled backup quarterback situation

NFC Championship Football

Lost in all the talk about the knee injury that sidelined Jay Cutler in the Bears’ NFC Championship Game loss has been the fact that the Bears completely botched their backup quarterback situation on Sunday by foolishly installing Todd Collins, and not Caleb Hanie, as their No. 2 quarterback.

When Cutler went out, Collins went in, and he was horrible: He threw four ugly incompletions before Bears coach Lovie Smith yanked him for Hanie.

But why was Collins ahead of Hanie on the depth chart in the first place? Collins got into two games in the regular season, and he was absolutely terrible: He completed 10 of 27 passes for 68 yards, with no touchdowns, five interceptions and a passer rating of 5.9. At this point, the 39-year-old Collins simply doesn’t belong on an NFL roster. And he certainly doesn’t belong ahead of Hanie on the Bears’ depth chart.

And yet even when the Bears made the right call of pulling Collins and inserting Hanie, they did it at an incredibly stupid time: With less than a minute remaining in the third quarter. It’s important to remember that the NFL’s third quarterback rule means that once Hanie got into the game in the third quarter, the Bears couldn’t put Collins (or Cutler) back in. If Hanie had gotten hurt, the Bears would have been stuck without a quarterback for the rest of the game. (And as bad as Collins is, he’s better than not having a quarterback at all.)

Particularly stunning is that the Bears put Hanie in only to have him hand off twice before the clock ran out on the third quarter. If they were just going to call two straight handoffs, the Bears should have had Collins hand off and wait until the first play of the fourth quarter to insert Hanie.

We’ll never know what would have happened if the Bears had made Hanie the No. 2 quarterback instead of Collins, but it would have been nice for Chicago to get that spark Hanie provided in the third quarter, instead of the fourth. The Bears botched their quarterback situation on Sunday, and Cutler isn’t the only one who deserves criticism.

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37 Responses to “Bears bungled backup quarterback situation”
  1. knucklebucket says: Jan 24, 2011 11:14 AM

    That was quite the headscratching move. All they had to do was have Collins hand off for two plays and kill a minute off the clock and get to the fourth quater. How many former head coaches are on the Bears staff? guess thats why they’re no longer head coaches…
    Bears fans must be pissed because they certainly had a chance to win that game.

  2. slieyf says: Jan 24, 2011 11:15 AM

    This explains perfectly why the Bears just don’t belong (just like the Jets btw)!

  3. iluvwikileaks says: Jan 24, 2011 11:15 AM

    The word “bungled” should be strickly reserved for Cincy:)

  4. gbfanforever says: Jan 24, 2011 11:17 AM

    “We’ll never know what would have happened if the Bears had made Hanie the No. 2 quarterback instead of Collins, but it would have been nice for Chicago to get that spark Hanie provided in the third quarter, instead of the fourth. ”

    Here’s a guess at what would have happened, he would have thrown more than just two picks and the bears still lose. He had some nice throws but he also made the crucial mistakes.

  5. dfeltz says: Jan 24, 2011 11:20 AM

    Before mouthing off completely, Michael David Smith why don’t you check the status of Collins left shoulder. He got pulled because he too could no longer play in the game.

  6. thereisalwaysnextyear says: Jan 24, 2011 11:20 AM

    “(And as bad as Collins is, he’s better than not having a quarterback at all.)”

    I might disagree. I think Hester would be better than Collins!!!!

  7. dansyndersux says: Jan 24, 2011 11:21 AM

    Collins should have been cut after his week 5 game vs the Panthers. His stats were: 6/16 for 32 yards and 4 picks. If he puts up stats like that vs the leagues worst team; its no surprise he couldnt be counted against anyone else.

  8. clayjayhawk says: Jan 24, 2011 11:24 AM

    It looks like the bears had the depth chart “bungled” up all season. They should have been starting Haine all year. LOL!

  9. 4dabears says: Jan 24, 2011 11:25 AM

    And another boneheaded move by this staff surprises us because…

  10. windycitygobears says: Jan 24, 2011 11:26 AM

    This is the most frustrating part of having Lovie as a head coach. He manages the game horribly. From challenges, to in-game adjustments to player decisions, it’s really frustrating how stubborn he is. His players love him and leave it all out on the field though.

    I would be OK with Smith for another couple of years because of the effort the players put forth and to give the offense another year to gel. What I’d love to see happen is Angelo to be shown the door and get a competent GM in.

  11. jbl429 says: Jan 24, 2011 11:29 AM

    Good thing they lost… Packers vs. a Bears team QB’d by Hanie is not something anyone would want to see in the Superbowl. Well, except for Steelers fans.

  12. joetoronto says: Jan 24, 2011 11:29 AM

    It really was a mess.

    Every HC in the NFL, should know the rules.

  13. gregjennings85 says: Jan 24, 2011 11:35 AM

    I have to admit, before I knew of Hanie, and just after Jay went down, when I saw Todd Collins running on to the field, my eyes were replaced with $ signs.

    That man is done. Become a QB coach. You’re ancient. He seemed to be putting everything into his throws, and they were going 10 feet.

  14. ninjapleazee says: Jan 24, 2011 11:39 AM

    I wanna know who in Gods green earth decided to keep Collins at number 2 after the horrible previous game.

  15. tenotnamedmiller says: Jan 24, 2011 11:39 AM

    No QB would be better than Collins. That’s for sure.

  16. oxycode30 says: Jan 24, 2011 11:41 AM

    Just another example of Lovie Smith’s lack of coaching acumen.
    I love the Bears but have been calling for Lovie’s job for years. He doesn’t have the football smarts or the temperament to run the Bears.

  17. songbre says: Jan 24, 2011 11:43 AM

    yea, they did mess that one up … Collins was def the the 3rd string pretending to be the 2nd string. He should have taken himself out after the 1st interception …

  18. polegojim says: Jan 24, 2011 11:46 AM

    Sorry Lovie – I like you, but this is a classic example of a HC without a plan, without foresight, without the skills needed to complete a Super Bowl run.

    Time for a change in Chicago, the fans deserve better quality at the top of the Bear Coaching Org.

  19. parkerfly says: Jan 24, 2011 11:47 AM

    Hanie played admirably for a 3rd stringer. If he only could have gotten the 2nd team reps instead of running the scout team all week he might have been just good enough to pull it off.

  20. jc1958coo says: Jan 24, 2011 11:48 AM

    mike undermining martz is to blame! it’s a conspiracy!

  21. kosarsmyidol says: Jan 24, 2011 11:48 AM

    Hell, they screwed up the backup quarterback situation when they cut Basanez, who looked better than Hanie at the time. In Collins’s defense, he played well a few years ago when he was pressed into action for the Redskins.

  22. niceguyshawne says: Jan 24, 2011 11:48 AM

    That Todd Collins was even on the roster at all, let alone the second string QB, should be a bigger story than how badly Cutler was hurt.

  23. savocabol1 says: Jan 24, 2011 11:52 AM

    I don’t understand why no one has brought up what a riduculus rule this is. What kind of competitive advantage could this possibly create for one team? I felt like Mcnabb being told overtime rules when I heard about this stupid third qb rule. Get rid of it.

  24. 212mel says: Jan 24, 2011 11:59 AM

    I thought that Joe Buck and Troy Aikman did a terrible job near the end of the game. There was a clear shot of Todd Collins holding his what appeared to me an immobile left arm going off of the field at the end of the 3rd Quarter……but neither of them mentioned it. Additionally, near the end of the 4th quarter on the Packers last possession when they were trying to run out the clock they handed off to Starks on 2nd down on a running play. Rather than falling to the turf to keep the clock running he allowed himself to be pushed out of bounds thereby stopping the clock….obviously a rookie mistake. Yet no mention of that by either Buck or Aikman. These are but 2 of several examples I noticed.

  25. BC says: Jan 24, 2011 12:02 PM

    Should’ve thrown Hester back there and run Wildcat the whole 4th Quarter.

  26. thehighhat says: Jan 24, 2011 12:04 PM

    I don’t believe this is on Lovie, this sounds like a typical Martz move.

  27. willeyb296 says: Jan 24, 2011 12:16 PM

    They should have picked up Jamarcus Russell before the playoffs. That guy is WAY underrated!!!!! He would have led this team to the Superbowl,, no doubt about it. He just needs a chance…

    HAHAHAHAHA….lol

  28. griblets says: Jan 24, 2011 12:24 PM

    @savocabol1:

    “I don’t understand why no one has brought up what a riduculus rule this is. What kind of competitive advantage could this possibly create for one team? I felt like Mcnabb being told overtime rules when I heard about this stupid third qb rule. Get rid of it.”

    The rule isn’t as ridiculous as it seems if you understand the whole rule… and I’ll preface the rest of this as my understanding of the rule. Each team is allowed to dress 45 players. A 46th player may dress as the emergency QB. If a team decides to carry only 45 players and dresses 3 QB’s, then this rule would not apply. So, it’s actually an added benefit, not a hindrance, to a team to even be able to use a 46th roster spot.

    But if a fan like me can understand the rule, why can’t Smith, or any of the other 3 former head coaches on staff, or the quarterbacks coach?

  29. xtb3 says: Jan 24, 2011 12:26 PM

    collins should have been cut after the carolina game after his 4 interception plus fumble display.

    praise martz some more!

  30. zaggs says: Jan 24, 2011 12:46 PM

    Where as its true Collins has sucked when he has gotten the ball this year, he is experienced. Hanie has 1 year experience?

  31. freedomispopular says: Jan 24, 2011 12:53 PM

    I love how you sportswriters know everything that goes on in the NFL. Perhaps Hanie is just terrible during practice, so when he came in and did so well, maybe it was a pleasant surprise to the coaching staff. Kurt Warner was a bad practice quarterback. That’s why he was Trent Green’s backup.

  32. bigbear12 says: Jan 24, 2011 1:04 PM

    Why does Cutler deserve criticism?
    Played all year with a make shift O-line and no true 1 or #2 receiver and never complained.
    Take Greg Jennings away from Rodger and he looks worse, still solid but not the same.

  33. chobes68 says: Jan 24, 2011 1:08 PM

    Hanie was listed as inactive for the game. is there a protocol when the team would have to play their active qb, Collins, before their inactive guy?

  34. lonespeed says: Jan 24, 2011 1:13 PM

    Todd Collins probably had the most to lose by getting into the game. Had they not screwed up, Collins might have had a shot of hanging on with the team for another year in a posh backup role.

    Instead, he got into the game, looked awful and will now be out of a job.

    Reminds me of quarterbacks like Jim Sorge. The last person who wanted to actually play was Sorge himself. Otherwise, his backup job would come at risk.

  35. lrt79 says: Jan 24, 2011 1:23 PM

    Why does Cutler deserve criticism? Because he tore his MCL in the first half, tried to play through the injury in the second half and was removed from the game by the coaches?

    At least try to be objective here. I know it’s just the internet but isn’t there still journalistic integrity?

  36. purpleisreallypinkyouknow says: Jan 24, 2011 1:52 PM

    212mel says:
    Jan 24, 2011 11:59 AM
    I thought that Joe Buck and Troy Aikman did a terrible job near the end of the game. There was a clear shot of Todd Collins holding his what appeared to me an immobile left arm going off of the field at the end of the 3rd Quarter……but neither of them mentioned it. Additionally, near the end of the 4th quarter on the Packers last possession when they were trying to run out the clock they handed off to Starks on 2nd down on a running play. Rather than falling to the turf to keep the clock running he allowed himself to be pushed out of bounds thereby stopping the clock….obviously a rookie mistake. Yet no mention of that by either Buck or Aikman. These are but 2 of several examples I noticed.
    ___________________________________

    And I thought I was the only guy that noticed that.

    Almost as bad as Simms and Nance having complete mental shutdown over the recovered fumble TD for Pittsburgh. Both of them hovering on the “Sanchez’s arm was going forward…” when the ball landed a full yard behind him. Result: backwards pass=lateral=fumble. Called perfectly by Hochuli and the crew.

    I’ve seen countless announcers screw that up over the years.

  37. firejerry says: Jan 24, 2011 3:57 PM

    Angelo wanted a veteran QB and signed Collins for 2 years…..I figure he will be back next year.
    Fire Jerry Angelo now before the draft!!!!!

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