Chicago Bears QB Caleb Hanie Is Playing His Way out of the NFL

Jim Poljak@@JimPoljakContributor IIIDecember 19, 2011

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 04: Caleb Hanie #12 of the Chicago Bears picks up the ball after it was stripped by the Kansas City Chief defense at Soldier Field on December 4, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Chiefs defeated the Bears 10-3. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Chicago Bears find themselves on the outside of the NFC playoffs looking in, after losing their fourth straight game on Sunday to the Seattle Seahawks.  They have failed to win a game since losing starting quarterback Jay Cutler to a thumb injury and have looked lost on the offensive side of the ball during that time.

Backup quarterback Caleb Hanie has taken a lot of heat for the Bears' losing streak and deservedly so.  In the four games he has started since Cutler's injury, he has turned the ball over 10 times (nine interceptions and one fumble) and thrown just three touchdown passes.  The Bears have been outscored 86-47 in Hanie's four starts and have not shown any indications that they can turn it around.

For Hanie, his atrocious play could not have come at a worse time for him.  He will be an unrestricted free agent after this season and most likely will not be returning to Chicago.  And with how poorly he has played the last four games, he may not be returning to the league, either. 

He took over a Bears team that was 7-3 and primed to make a run deep into the playoffs.  Now the team is 7-7 and all but eliminated from playoff contention.  He has been indecisive, inaccurate and looks like a man without confidence on the field. 

Hanie has been in the offense for two years and still has yet to learn it.  His inability to protect the ball led to his benching at the end of the Seattle game in favor of Josh McCown, who hasn't thrown an NFL pass since 2009. 

Caleb Hanie needed to prove that he belonged in the NFL and could help a team win.  He has essentially been auditioning for his next gig in the league with the hopes of competing for a starting job.  What he has shown is an inability to lead an offense and has wound up being a detriment to the Bears' season. 

With the NFL becoming a quarterback driven league, Hanie has not shown anything on the field to prove that he belongs.  At the rate he is playing, Hanie should be happy if a team signs him to hold a clipboard.