Chicago Bears' QB Controversy: Why Caleb Hanie Might Be a Perfect Fit in Chicago
After the Bear's heartbreaking loss last Sunday in the NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers, most Bear's fans are a little skeptical about trusting Jay Cutler with the franchise.
After Cutler had a decent first half, he decided that he wasn't okay to keep playing in the second. It's the NFC Championship Game, the winner goes to the Super Bowl, and our starting quarterback decides that he's too injured play. At first, I was concerned about his health and the fate of the team. However, once I saw Cutler walking around the sideline, not even gingerly, I was concerned about the attitude of the face of Chicago.
After Todd Collins' dismal performance as the backup, it was Hanie time.
Caleb Hanie, the second-year man out of Colorado State was the last hope for Chicago. Down by 14 going into the fourth quarter, Hanie had a huge opportunity to make a name for himself and earn himself at least a backup job somewhere.
After throwing for 153 yards on 13 of 20 passing with a touchdown, Hanie did just that. If the Bears don't resign him, they're making a mistake.
As a Bears fan, though, it makes me a little mad that it takes a third-stringer to score against Green Bay, instead of the guy we traded the previous starting quarterback, two first-round picks and a second-round pick for.
The decision between Caleb Hanie and Jay Cutler is a tough one and must be examined through all facets of the game, so here goes.
Experience and Performance
This one is a no-brainer.
Both quarterbacks are young, but Cutler has been a starter ever since his induction into the league, and he's put up pretty solid stats (except the 2009-10 season where he threw 26 interceptions). And even though he didn't bring the Bears back to the promise land, he disproved all the analysts who said the Bears would do next to nothing this season.
On the other hand, you have Hanie, who has only played in five games in his pro career, and none of those have been a start.
This counts for 4 points, just cause performance and experience are the two most important things.
Cutler: 4, Hanie: 0
Mobility and Awareness
Jay Cutler got sacked 57 times in 17 games this season. I'm not saying that's his fault, it is probably the offensive line's. However, he knows very well that he's going to have the front seven of practically every team coming at him game in and game out. He didn't change his mindset very much and often took too long to make decisions, which can be seen in getting sacked 57 times.
Hanie looked very aware in the pocket against Green Bay, avoiding sacks on several plays. While Cutler is also a fairly mobile quarterback, he lacks the instinct that Hanie has to avoid pass rushers.
Hanie: 1, Cutler: 4
"Da Haniac" is just way too cool of a nickname to pass up on. When will I be able to call him that if he isn't starting? Probably not often, so either start him, or give Jay Cutler a new nickname, because all I've heard Cutler called is "the interception machine."
Hanie: 2, Cutler: 4
The Face of The Franchise
Let's be honest. Caleb Hanie is clearly a better looking guy than Jay Cutler. I'd rather have Hanie be the franchise's face just because he looks so lovable. The girls would go nuts for him, and Chicago would have a whole 'nother fan base. He'd be like the Justin Bieber of pro football—although Tom Brady might already hold that position.
Hanie: 3, Cutler: 4
Who's The Better Quarterback
Despite Hanie's solid performance in Sunday's game, I have to pull rank on this one. Cutler is clearly the better quarterback just by looking at his statistics. Hanie surely earned himself a backup job in Chicago. He might be the single best backup quarterback in the NFL now. Who would be prepared as the emergency third quarterback to come in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship game and do something neither the starter nor backup could accomplish: score. And he did that twice. Number 12 will be at least no. 2 on the depth chart next year, and if he isn't, Chicago is making a big mistake.