Chicago Sun-Times

No Hail Mary here: Hanie in position to be the No. 2 quarterback

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INDIANAPOLIS--While Bears coach Lovie Smith repeatedly refused to rule anything out at the quarterback position, he also made it quite clear the Bears envision Caleb Hanie in a position to be the backup quarterback this season.

You don't have to extrapolate anything Smith said Saturday afternoon at the combine to realize the Bears are not expected to make a play for a free agent. No, they won't be in a Kurt Warner derby if the two-time MVP does not re-sign with the Arizona Cardinals before Friday. They're also not expected to court Byron Leftwich or Chris Simms. Leftwich wouldn't want to join the Bears any way, he's seeking a starting job. Simms has stated his preference to return to Tennessee, where the Titans want him back. After those two, the discard pile is a short list of has been and never were type passers.

"I think sometimes you have to go with young talent,'' Smith said.

"You keep all the options open and you see what is available and see if it is a good fit for our football team,'' he said. "That's the way we've looked at it every year. Nothing has changed this year. But if you ask me if I feel comfortable at the quarterback position right now? Yes, I do."

Young talent would be Hanie, who playing with the No. 3's put up the best numbers of any Bears quarterbacks in the preseason last summer. The undrafted free agent from Colorado State wasn't a lock to make the roster but he really opened some eyes for the Bears and apparently they have not forgotten. Newly signed Brett Basanez could also be in the mix. The St. Viator and Northwestern star was a career No. 3 and practice squad player in Carolina.

But who is the No. 2 moving forward is really insignificant in the big picture. The coming season will be defined, in large part, by Kyle Orton's ability to improve. If he does, the Bears could have a stable future at the position. If he doesn't, the club might as well rewind to 2003 when it was trying to move past the Jim Miller-Chris Chandler (and don't forget Henry Burris) era and ended up selecting Rex Grossman with the second of two first-round draft picks.

"What stood out to me the most was how he started out the football season,'' Smith said of Orton. ``This time last year, competing for the job, he earned it. And then starting off the football season, before Kyle injured his ankle I thought he was doing all of the things we thought he could do and we needed him to do. After the injury, he didn't play as well.

"He is working out already. He is on a mission. I loved his leadership throughout. Got a chance to see him in some tough situations. Guys need to go through a little adversity, all quarterbacks do, you need to be able to handle it. He's solid. He'll be able to handle it. He'll come back strong this season.''

Smith said Orton's injured right ankle would be "95 percent" or better for minicamp, which is just more than three weeks off.

Check back soon for more updates. Jerry Angelo will face the media in less than an hour.

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Geez there's another one!! Orton will be 95% in three weeks? What the heck was he at the end of the season then? I thought the company line was that he was already healed up at Houston!

Dude you are on a roll. I didn't miss something about him having a scope or something did I?

Quick, someone put NeckBeardSucks on suicide watch! ... On 2nd thought, that may imply we want to stop him.

First, before all the Orton haters get in here: there is no real free agent available who'd be more than a stop-gap.

Second, for those that want to bash Orton how is it that Chicago had no receiving corp and a makshift o-line last year and Orton put up numbers on par than Super Bowl winner Ben Rongrastname? And NO I am not saying we should have won the Super Bowl so don't get your collective panties in a tither.

Lastly, Chicago's offense has sucked for years so suddenly that's the fault of Orton? Give the guy another year - like you have a choice - and see what he can do.

With that said, I am excited for and about young Caleb Hanie. That kid has A LOT of talent and I am hoping (against hope) that he can develop into a star if Orton cannot. Both of these guys are young and seem to have a lot of upside. I wish Orton was given the years to develop instead of going from Rookie starter to 3rd-string QB for two seasons but wish in one hand and crap in another and see which gets filled the fastest.

Finally, for Jerry Angelo who said "It all starts at the quarterback." KISS MY BLUE AND ORANGE ARSE! If it all starts there why haven't you drafted a QB since Kyle Orton??? Sell that crap to the tourists you inept blowhard!

You have got to be kidding me, Lovie!!!....well, I guess I'll try to look on the bright side....Hanie is one play away from starting but if not, we'll have a new GM and Head Coach next year because ORTON SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Orton played injured last year because he was afraid Rex would outplay him while he was out and take his job!!!!!!Please, Lovie, give Hanie a chance this training camp!! Go into camp with an opened mind, not this "Kyle is our QB" crap like you did with Rex. If Caleb Hanie gets a fair shot, I guarantee he will prove he is better than that slow, weakarmed, reject Ornot!!!!!! PLEASE!!!..........ORTON SUCKS!!!!!!!!!

Coach you got to remember one thing about Big Ben last year, he had the second worst line in football and was sacked 46 times, and Parker and Mendenhal were both injured. So he had no running game and no line. You forget Orton had a better line, two pass recieviving TE's and Forte. The Steelers are letting two or 3 of there starting line go this year. This is also not considered a good year for Big Ben, it is considered a great year for Orton. Ben and Orotn are game managers but Ben can take over a game with that cannon and his feet, Orton can't throw the ball 30 yards and sometimes trips over his beard. Not to mention the Steelers play baltimore twice, thats gotta suck. I nfact the Steelers had the toughest schedual in football this year, the Bears had one the easiest.

Good for Hannie, kids got good feet a nice arm and is athletic. Seems like he is very personable too. Orton must hate him.

Coach Kyle can hav eall the years to start he wants, it still won't change the fact that he has a butter arm. Be glad this is the Bears who the NFL love to see do well and give them really easy scheduals, like this year we will be playing one of if not the weakest schedual in football.

Personally I get tired of people saying he didn't have any weapons and then claim Greg Olsen is one of the Best recieving TE's in football and that Forte is the best recieving RB in Football and Hester looked good. The Eagles had the sixth best passing offense in the NFL and don't even run the ball so other teams know what they are doing and who are there recievers? Curtis who had 390 yards, Jackson had 912 yards, Westbrook had 400 yards, Smith had 298 yards.

So spare me the whole the Bears don't have any weapons Forte out performed Westbrook, Hester had a better year than Curtis, Olsen had a better year than Smith, so at 3 out of 4 positions the Bears were better than the Eagles. Who managed to be a much better passing team and were even better at running the ball even though they don't run the ball.

Da Church......Why do you and everyone else want to "give the guy another year"??? Are you also a CUBS fan?? Wait til next year, wait til next year.........I'm sick of this sh!!.....none of us Bear fans are getting any younger...either are those players on defense (Urlacher, Wale, etc, etc,) Our frigging window is closing and all everybody says is "Let's wait and give him one more chance"....I think we all know what Orton can do..or should I say CAN'T much more can he improve?????? He is limited...He SUCKS!!!!...If we can't make some blockbuster deal and get a proven starter from somewhere else, PLAY HANIE!!!!!..he has tons more upside then Orton ever dreamed of having!!!!!.....we are wasting away with Orton.....we'll be sorry when we are 0-4 and wondering what happened............

Agree completely w/ part of NBS's post, GIVE HANIE a FAIR chance during camps and Pre-S. Forget any QBsw this draft. OL, WR, FS/CB, DT/DE
this draft, oh yeah and another OL and DT. C'mon Jerrula, gotta think yer jobs on the line this time...

This was the direction I was hoping the Bears would go in as far as the quarterback situation. Kyle Orton can get the job done, before the ankle injury he was putting up good numbers, and behind a subpar offensive line. In week 17 vs the Texans Ortons ankle was probably as good as it was gonna get all season, and he was getting back to his mid-season form throwing for 244 yds, 2tds, 0ints, and a 97.1 rating. If Chris Williams and whoever is brought in to play right tackle can give Orton enough time in the pocket to execute a simple 5-7 step drop, his numbers will go up big time. If Orton can put up almost 3000yds and 18td passes in a 3-step drop like he was in for most of the season, think how his numbers would look with a little more time in the pocket in a 5-7 step drop.

Im glad Caleb Hanie is gonna get a shot as the back up, he's probably a better option than anyone coming out of college anyways. Hanie's got an arm, many scouts felt he had the second strongets arm to Joe Flacco comig out last april, and on top of it Hanie can move around in the pocket, he could be something special. Hanie, unlike a rookie, has a year in the league, and he should know Turners system pretty good by now. Last april was a freak year for QB's with Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, and don't forget Chad Henne down in Miami, I still think that kid is gonna be a good one also. Not this season, especially with the top two prospects being juniors, ask the 49ers [Alex Smith], Titans [Vince Young], and Falcons [Michael Vick] about what happens when you draft junior quarterbacks? Im not saying all junior QB's aren't ready, but most aren't, theres to much to the position, a prospect needs the full time in college to learn the position as good as possible. I think that position [QB's] should stay in school the full four seasons, just my opinion on college QB's. Bottom line, if healthy, and with better line play, Orton will be fine. And Caleb Hanie must really be coming along if the Bears have that much confidence in him to let him compete for the #2 job, remember, they see stuff behind the scenes that we as fans don't. Im really excited to check him and Orton out next pre-season. GO BEARS!!

I really like Hanie and think he has a lot of talent too. Is he the future, who knows? But he looked far better in the preseason than the other two QBs.

As far as Orton is concerned, what the hell is Coach Smith and Mr. Angelo looking at? What great first half did he have? He played TWO or THREE pretty good games before his injury, and then he sucked. Yes, the injury caused that.

Those two or three games showed a lot of potential and upside, I just wish he hadn't gotten injured so we could have seen if it was going to continue.

Orton 24/34 334yds 2 TDs 0 INT vs. Lions 10-05-08
looked good, good decisions

Orton 26/43 286yds 1 TDs 0 INT vs. Falcons 10-12-08
wasn't bad, no consistency though (22-20 horrible loss)

Orton 21/32 283yds 2 TDs 0 INT vs. Viqueens 10-19-08
not bad, something to build on 48-41 win

Orton 8/14 108yds 0 TDs 0 INT vs. Lions 11-02-08
Game Orton was hurt in

NBS a high Ankle Sprain is not actually a Sprain.

Injury to the ankle syndesmosis is commonly referred to as "high ankle sprain" because the symptoms are found just above the ankle joint. High ankle sprains have been associated with long-term disability, recurrent ankle sprains, chronic pain, swelling, and heterotopic ossification in the interosseous membrane.

It usually takes about 2-6 weeks to recover from this, in more sever cases it takes 4-8 weeks. This is conservative treatment. Sometimes a screw needs to be placed and recovery time for that is 4 months. Plus a second surgery that will add 8-10 weeks. Also a walking boot should be worn at all times allowing more flexability than a cast.

High Ankle Sprains tend to be a reaccuring injury and the only true way to fix them is with surgery. However even that may not be successful. His ankle will never be 100% he will always have some pain and swelling. The more action your ankle sees the more you play with fire. But if it was a mild version he should be 95%.

I told everyone this last time but they were all like you don't know what your talking about. It's just a sprain.

This is not a position I would want to go into the season with not having an established back-up, yes Hanie looked good but the real bullets were not flying around in pre-season to make me say he's ready to be a number 2 yet, as for Basanez, I don't know enough about him to have an opinion, what I do know is that there are QB's out in the market who have proven they could play in the league. Are we really expected to believe that Basanez is better than Losman, or Leftwich, at leaset these guys have taken some snaps and you know what you would have to do to make them serviceable in either case if they had to play....This does not bode well for the BEARS if we do not look at other options and then let them decide who should be on the field, plus if we put Hanie in too soon and he does not have success we could ruin the kid, look at what happened to Kolb in Philly for a example.....Orton has shown he can win games but right now is no where near an elite QB, nor has he shown real durability that would suggest we take this kind of chance at that position.....I say bring in another vet and have all three compete for number two in the first two Pre-season games, give Orton his reps in game three and settle the issue for number two in game four, this way we go into the season with real competition from the positon and a player we can have some confidence in if they do indeed have to play.......Go BEARS

Jay: "Orton 26/43 286yds 1 TDs 0 INT vs. Falcons 10-12-08
wasn't bad, no consistency though (22-20 horrible loss)"

Yup, driving Chicago 77 yards for the go ahead TD with 2:43 left on the clock ... No consistency. That's how I'd sum it up. On the road against a playoff team ... sorry Kyle no consistency buddy. You didn't single-handedly keep Chicago in a game they should have won. You should have thrown that TD pass with no time left you idiot how dare you leave 11 whole seconds!?!? YOU SUCK!!!

// Morons ... we all know one!

Damn Creighton...You JUST had to mention Mendenhall!!! At this time last year ,he was everybodies dream pick. just let it go man, just let it go.

Coach Atlanta has one of the worst Pass defenses in football, Milloy is still starting at SS.

Texmex what does Mendenhall have to do with letting something go. I was pointing out Pit lost both there running backs at one point in the season as to one of the reasons there offense struggled. What does that have to do with anyone liking him.

Da Moron,

You idiot, even your example proves my point. Orton put together one good drive when he needed to, great. That game should have been a win, however, if Orton HAD BEEN consistent, as I said, he wouldn't have waited for the last drive to get the TD and the Bears would have scored more than 20 points.

Like I said, Orton put together a couple good games, but not a whole first half like everyone at Halas Hall said. Da Moron, instead of trying to find reasons to disagree with me, try actually reading my posts first.

//Morons...we all know Da Moron

I saw enough of Hanie last preseason to not be worried if he was #2.
For those that are worred, watch the preseason this year when he plays.
If the bears are going to get a backup, get Kitna.

Get a grip ,Bro! It was a simple joke how everybody drooled over him last year..plain and simple.
But let's go ahead and dissect your point. first...Mendenhal managed a TOTAL of 75 yards in 4 games w/ a Bensonesc 3 yards a carry... not very hard to replace that.
Second, injuries are always a part of the game and it's the cardinal rule not to use it as an excuse. The Steelers never bitched, instead their COACHING came thru and ADAPTED !
I don't know where the Bears had a better line than them...they let Faneca walk last year, and as you said are ditching at least 2 more this year.Our "SAVIOR" had a bum back. Tells me that they have replacements in hand.
I know your just trying to use the 2 offenses as a comparison, but our offense is more under the microscope because of our lack of defense .
p.s. my Granny got a kick outta the "TexMex"...she's currently busy whipping up a special batch of her pierogis for ya ...just need coordinates for her potatoe-launcher!

Orton is not the second coming or a franchise quarterback but compared to some of those quarterbacks in Chicago Bears past history Chris Chandler and Henry Burris etc etc, Orton is OK but not special.

Lets say Orton is a serviceable pro quarterback that hasn't shown that he can throw deep but certainly can help the team win. He seems to be a good decison maker and team leader, quick release and has decent accuracy up to 20 yards. However, remember his best games were against bad pass defenses, the LIONS twice speaks volumes.

I am OK with Orton as numero uno with Hanie as a number two: I would prefer however to have Orton #1 with a pro like Leftwich competing for the #1 role and Caleb getting one more year to develop as #3 or two if anyone gets hurt. One more year of development for Caleb Hanie may make a huge difference and possibly set him up to be a franchise style QB for the Bears. But don't kill him this year with a weak O line and WR's that are young.

Just wait one more year for Caleb Hanie then the sun will shine and the BEars will be the dominant force they used to be.

I think this is the clearest sign we could get that we'll be drafting a QB in one of the first 3 rounds in April.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on February 21, 2009 2:15 PM.

Loviefest: Smith speaks for first time since end of '08 season was the previous entry in this blog.

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