The Chicago Bears signed veteran quarterback Todd Collins to a one year contract (including a signing bonus) making the Bears QB position packed with more than a few potential back ups.
With the Bears already having long time back Caleb Hanie on the roster, but recovering from a sprained shoulder, rookie sixth round pick Dan LeFevour and recently signed third year player Matt Gutierrez, there should be quite a competition over the next two preseason games.
That said, as Bradd Biggs has reported, it would appear that the bonus given to Collins would point to him being a mainstay on the roster for this season. And with the signing, it would appear that the Bears figure that out of their four reserve options, they should have at least two suitable back up choices by seasons start.
Now after Cutler, odds are high that Collins will be the primary back up, at least until Hanie recovers from injury. With Hanie there as the second/third option, the best bet would be that LeFevour gets sent to the practice squad and Gutierrez finds himself looking for another team.
Unfortunately, that means that if Cutler goes down with any sort of injury, which after watching him get sacked five times in the first half versus the Raiders last weekend doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility, the Bears will be led by either:
- a 38 year old, 14 season veteran who has started just a total of three (count them, THREE) games since 1998, or...
- a third year player who has not started a single game in the NFL, thrown only seven passes in real games and who just suffered a should injury last week.
Not exactly reassuring to the Bear faithful.
Don't get be wrong, Collins is a very capable backup QB. He would not have lasted 14 seasons in the NFL if he couldn't provide some sort of help.
And I can appreciate that he has skills.
I remember Collins all to well from the 2007 season. The Chicago Bears were facing the Washington Redskins in a Thursday night game and Jason Campbell went down with a knee injury in the second quarter. Todd Collins came in and proceed to go 15 for 20 with 224 yards and two touchdowns while leading the 'Skins to a 24-16 victory.
So the man has the capabilities, but the fact that he is 38 years old and has had so few of starts the past decade makes one nervous. Plus, the older you get, generally the more prone to injuries you become. And after watching Chris Williams gets schooled for the entire first half of the Raider game, whoever our QB is will be taking some hits.
On the other side, Hanie has shown flashes of potential and has improved from each year previous but he still may not be fully ready to shoulder the responsibilities (or take the hits) that a starting quarterback is required to in the NFL.
The only reassuring factor to all this is that at least the Bears made the effort to improve the depth at QB. After Collins, the only other players who may have been willing to sign as back ups would be from the Canadian league.
And while LeFevour had some good passes against the Raiders, it was against the back ups and he still has much to learn before getting any real game time experience. He will benefit greatly from getting reps on the practice squad.
While the signing of Collins adds veteran depth, the truth of it is if Jay Cutler goes down, it does not matter which back up QB comes in because the Bears will not win without him.