Call me crazy, but I enjoyed Caleb Hanie's play on Sunday during the 25-20 heartbreaking loss in Oakland. He showed he is capable.
He made plays when he had to—that's it. That's all that was asked of him. He is a playmaker but not a dynamic playmaker. He left the flashiness to Jay Cutler.
There are five glaring reasons that tell me he is capable of leading the Bears down the stretch of this cupcake schedule. Here they are:
The guy can run and he can run well. Yes, he took off a few times where he didn't need to but with more reps he will calm down. He showed he can make plays with his legs, just like Jay.
On Sunday, Hanie had 50 yards rushing, taking off five times. He was averaging 10 yards per carry! When the guy feels pressure, he will take off.
This means we can count on Hanie to get himself out of trouble. With the offensive line, he will find himself in trouble quite a bit but Hanie is quick enough to escape. That will bode well down the stretch until Cutler gets back.
You're probably wondering how his decision-making can be a high note of Sunday's loss when he threw three picks. Many reasons.
He did a great job going through his progressions. He looked at the highlighted receiver right away and scanned the width of the field with his eyes. That is definitely a high note for someone who doesn't get game action very much.
Hanie also was able to read defenses better as the game went on. The perfect example of this is his touchdown pass to Johnny Knox. I'll get into that later though.
His three picks were bad—very bad, actually. That will get better with time though. All three were throws he pretty much forced into somewhere where no one was. But so did Rex Grossman and Cutler has also been guilty of that. No one is complaining.
Watch mistakes be eliminated as he gets more reps.
Jay Cutler is possibly the best mentor Caleb Hanie could have right now.
After Hanie's first interception, Cutler was right there for Hanie reminding him it is a long game and he was doing fine. Cutler has been there before.
In practice this week Cutler will be a better mentor to Hanie than Martz will be. Expect big improvement out of Hanie next week against Kansas City at Soldier Field.
If you look back at Caleb Hanie's touchdown pass to Knox in the second quarter, it was quite the read by Hanie.
On the play, Oakland was set up in cover zero all-out blitz so the middle of the field was open. Knox ran a skinny post over the middle and he was wide open. Hanie made the read and completed a 29-yard touchdown pass to Knox.
Before this week, did you expect Hanie to make a great pass like that? Didn't think so. It's just another reason why you should have confidence in Hanie going forward.
Look at his body of work through the game. I understand he threw three interceptions but le'ts look past that. It was his first career NFL start.
Like I said in the previous slide, he made quite the read on a skinny post by Knox for a 29-yard touchdown pass. That was impressive.
Later in the game from the shadow of his own goalpost, Hanie connected with Knox on a 81-yard completion leading to a nine-yard touchdown pass to Kellen Davis.
In the fourth quarter while down five, Hanie led the Bears down the field quite easily before making a mistake to end the game. I will overlook that mistake because leading the Bears into Raiders territory from the 4-yard line was incredibly impressive. I'm excited to see what Hanie can do from here on out.