Chicago Bears: Josh McCown Not the Answer at Backup QB

Bob BajekAnalyst IIIDecember 29, 2011

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 25:  Josh McCown #15 of the Chicago Bears throws a pass against the Green Bay Packers on December 25, 2011 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
David Banks/Getty Images

While many are clamoring after Chicago Bears quarterback Josh McCown had a decent performance against the Green Bay Packers, the journeyman should not be counted on to be Jay Cutler's backup.

McCown, a nine-year NFL veteran who has 36 touchdowns and 43 interceptions, did not start since 2007 and hasn't played an NFL game since 2009 before this Sunday.

The San Francisco 49ers invited McCown to their training camp, but McCown failed to make the roster cut.

The Sam Houston State product then went to Waxhaw, N.C. to coach high school football before the Bears showed interested after Cutler injured his right thumb.

The Bears coaches did not give McCown a chance as he was out of the NFL for a couple years. Chicago backup Caleb Hanie started the first four games and couldn't do anything productive. 

McCown got the nod to start against the Packers in a 35-21 losing effort. He had some decent numbers, going 19-of-28 for 243 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.

Bears coach Lovie Smith has given a vote of confidence for McCown to start the final game of the year against the Minnesota Vikings, but the Bears can't trust the small sample size they are getting from McCown.

For one thing, McCown inflated his numbers after the Packers took a 35-10 fourth quarter lead. The Packers benched star linebackers Clay Matthews (who intercepted McCown earlier in the game) and A.J. Hawk while playing a soft zone defense.


McCown was 11-of-14 for 107 yards and a one-yard touchdown to Bears tight end Kellen Davis during that stretch.

This stretch greatly inflated McCown's numbers and quarterback rating, which was at 76.8. Also, McCown looked better than Hanie as he didn't throw any pick-sixes and actually got into the end zone.

Hanie makes any quarterback look good because he doesn't even hit his check-down receivers. Just because McCown can it doesn't make him a viable backup to Cutler.

The Vikings (3-12) are another struggling team with a shoddy defensive unit. They are 26th in yards allowed (372.9 per game) and 31st in points allowed (28.8 per game).

Minnesota is also without star running back Adrian Peterson and quarterback Christian Ponder is questionable with third-stringer Joe Webb ready to go if needed. With these offensive weapons hurting, the Vikings' defense will be on the field a long time and will tire.

The Bears need to go after an established player to be Cutler's backup. General manager Jerry Angelo has made this mistake two years running now with Hanie and former backup Todd Collins.

A viable backup quarterback is required for NFL success. The Bears lost last year's NFC Championship Game to the Packers 21-14 and dropped five consecutive games and a playoff chance this season because Angelo didn't go after someone like Donovan McNabb or Vince Young.

No matter what McCown does Sunday against the Vikings, Angelo has to find a good backup or the Bears will be in the same deplorable situation once again.

Bob Bajek is a Featured Columnist. He is also a freelance reporter, and can be followed on and Twitter.