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Chicago Bears 2012: Is It Time to Start Auditioning Backup QBs in Chicago?

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - NOVEMBER 19: Jason Campbell #2 of the Chicago Bears walks off the field after the Bears lost the ball on downs during their game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on November 19, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Laura LudlumContributor IINovember 21, 2012

If you’re a Chicago Bears fan, you might be getting the feeling that this season is beginning to mirror 2011.  Completing a five-game win streak, the Bears boasted a 7-3 record when everyone learned that quarterback Jay Cutler would most likely miss the rest of the season with a broken thumb.

This is why the backup quarterback position exists though, right?  The backup should be able to enter a game at any point during any game of the season and give their team a genuine shot at winning.

Perhaps the Bears need to be made aware of this.

Backup Caleb Hanie threw three interceptions in back-to-back games, and eventually went on to lose the four games he started, killing the Bears' playoff dreams, which once seemed a guarantee.

This year’s Bears were on a six-game win streak, and atop of the NFC North when Jay Cutler was taken out of the game against the Houston Texans with a concussion.  And so the importance of the backup would prove itself again.

This time the backup is Jason Campbell, former starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins and the Oakland Raiders, where his role began to diminish.

Campbell completed 11-of-19 passes for 94 yards when he came in for Cutler against the Texans, and the Bears lost that game 13-6.  Then, on Monday night against the San Francisco 49ers, Campbell went on to have a downright embarrassing night on a national stage, completing 14-of-22 attempts, with two interceptions.

There is a reason Campbell made the transition from starting quarterback to backup quarterback to not making the team at all in Oakland.

So where do the Bears go from here?  Not just in terms of Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings (if Cutler doesn’t get cleared to play by doctors), but long-term.

For a short-term solution I say let third-stringer Josh McCown get the next available starting opportunity, if there is one.  For a long-term solution I say it’s time for the Bears to start doing some shopping.

One option would be Tarvaris Jackson, who will be a free agent at the end of this season.  Jackson threw a career best 3,091 yards in 2011 and yet now is sitting on the bench of the Buffalo Bills.  Another option would be fellow soon-to-be free agent Matt Moore, who was bumped to Ryan Tannehill’s backup after being named the Dolphin’s MVP last season.

No matter what they do, the Bears cannot allow themselves to be a team who gives up all chances of winning just because their starting quarterback isn’t available.

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