Chicago Bears: Why Not Claiming Donovan McNabb Was a Horrible Decision

Bob Warja@@bobwarjaSenior Writer IDecember 7, 2011

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 16: Donovan McNabb #5 Minnesota Vikings makes a play against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on October 16, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Tasos Katopodis /Getty Images)
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

I understand that he is puffy and can no longer throw the deep ball, but Donovan McNabb simply has to be a better option than Caleb Hanie, and especially Josh McCown.

When the Vikings released McNabb, the Bears should have put in a claim. The fact that they did not is one thing, but to not even take a chance with him after he went unclaimed is hard to fathom.

Look, even before Hanie went out and laid an egg on Sunday versus the Chiefs, we all knew that the Bears were one injury away from having to play a guy like McCown or—gasp!—rookie Nathan Enderle.

In fact, McCown didn't even dress for the game, meaning that an injury to Hanie would have resulted in the debut of a guy who has never thrown an NFL pass.

That is an insult to Bears fans, and it is a slap in the fact from management to teammates who are trying to win a wild-card spot in the playoffs.

I don't mean to encourage the meatballs with this article. I know that the argument against signing McNabb is that he is a bad quarterback.

But would he be any worse than Hanie? And, if Hanie went down, would he be worse than a guy who was a healthy scratch (McCown) or a kid still in diapers (Enderle)?

I don't think so, but the only way to find out is to give him a chance. Sure, he wouldn't have been ready for the Chiefs (then again, neither was Hanie).

But he might have been ready to play against Denver this weekend.

And, if nothing else, he would have offered an insurance policy in the event of an injury to Hanie. Look at how quickly Kyle Orton went down in his debut with Kansas City. It can and does happen.

Meanwhile, what risk would there be for the Bears to sign McNabb? It would cost a prorated share of the NFL minimum at this point, which is pocket lint to the McCaskeys.

The signing of a veteran like McNabb would have also sent a message to the team that we are not giving up on the season.

Yet as it stands now, after losing Jay Cutler and Matt Forte, and with a not-ready-for-prime-time Hanie, most Bears players must be feeling a real loss of confidence, though they will never tell us that.

Now, I'm not saying that McNabb would have saved the season. In fact, he may not have performed any better than Hanie.

But what's the harm in at least giving it a shot? While he may not have lit up the scoreboard, he would probably throw fewer interceptions and be a better game manager than Hanie has been thus far.

Signing McNabb is not as crazy as you may think. The Bears signed McCown to be Hanie's backup, and McCown's last pass attempt was in 2009.

And, in 2009, McCown only threw six passes, completing one. And the year before that (2008)? He did not attempt a single pass.

This means that for all intents and purposes McCown hasn't played in four years. You mean to tell me that a QB who hasn't played since 2007, and was never any good anyway, is better than McNabb?

McNabb, who grew up in Chicago, is not the same player who led the Eagles to five NFC championship appearances and a Super Bowl berth.

But you can't blame all of the Vikings problems on McNabb. They blew leads in six games and the team hasn't looked much better after making the switch to rookie Christian Ponder.

And, McNabb has playoff experience in case Cutler isn't ready to come back.

But no, this will apparently not happen. Lovie Smith had this to say: “We’re not looking on the outside. We’re not having a quarterback tryout or anything like that. These are our guys and we’re all going to get better.”

Allow me to show you two QBs stats after the first six games of this season.

QB1:   156 ATT;   94 CMP;   60.3 CMP%; 1,026 YDS; 6.58 AVG; 4 TD; 2 INT; 82.9 RAT

QB 2:  200 ATT; 120 CMP;   60.3 CMP%; 1,376 YDS; 7.40 AVG; 8 TD; 4 INT; 86.0 RAT 

Not a whole lot of difference, yet one QB was maligned while the other was celebrated. One lost his job, while the other was talked about as a Pro Bowl candidate.

Yes, QB1 is McNabb and QB2 is Cutler.

Makes you wonder, doesn't it?


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