Chicago Sun-Times

Day 3: Martz says Bears could use veteran QB

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Mike Martz continues to rave about Jay Cutler. He said backup Caleb Hanie has "unusual skills" and was impressed by sixth-round pick Dan LeFevour during a three-day minicamp that concluded on Sunday at Halas Hall.

But the first-year offensive coordinator said the Bears could still use a veteran backup.

"It makes you a little nervous, doesn't it?" Martz said when asked about the possibility of an injury sidelining Cutler. "Caleb is going to be a good player but you really don't know. ... Caleb will be all right. [But] it gives you that insurance. It would make us all feel a little easier with a veteran because you just never know."

Martz used his former Super Bowl-winning quarterback from St. Louis as an example. Kurt Warner didn't have much NFL experience when he was pressed into action by the Rams. But he had played in the Arena League and in NFL Europe, which gave Martz an idea of how he would perform with defenders zeroing in on him.

"The only thing we don't know is how well he responds under pressure," Martz said of Hanie. "Can he take this information and see things and react quickly? Sometimes that takes time. He needs experience. We'll see as much of Caleb as we can to get a feel for where he is."

The Bears opted not to sign a veteran quarterback last season and Cutler was able to start all 16 games. If the Bears were going to sign a veteran heading into 2010, it could be beneficial to sign a player familiar with Martz's system. Marc Bulger, who was cut the Rams last month, is one possibility.

"It would always help, that's for sure," Martz said when asked if he would prefer a quarterback he has worked with before. "It doesn't have to be. A good player is a good player. It's just harder for them to learn, basically. A veteran has been through several systems, usually, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Jon Kitna had been through a bunch of systems. It would give him a leg up and make it easier, especially if he joins us late, but a good player is a good player and we'll make it work."

As for LeFevour, Martz said he overloaded the rookie with information and details on fundamentals hoping he will be ready to digest even more during a full-squad minicamp later this month.

"Whatever you did in the past has no bearing on today," Martz said of rookies in general. "That's the biggest difference.They've got to learn a whole new offense and a different way of looking at things. Everything is different no matter what your background was or how successful you were. He's come here obviously with a completely open mind. He's terrific. He's very easy to coach. He's a sponge. He's trying to do things the right way but he's a long way away."

While Martz said he wouldn't mind if general manager Jerry Angelo added veteran depth at quarterback he's more than satisfied with the receiving corps as is.

"Our receiving corps will be a strength of this team," he said. "That's in granite. I can promise that. There's not many things I'm emphatic about but that's going to be a strength of this football team. It's a terrific group, it really is."

Martz rarely talks to the media without hearing the obligatory question about how tight end Greg Olsen will fit into his system. He gave what is becoming his stock answer.

"When you have a guy like Greg, he has to get grounded in the running game, obviously," he said. "But there are some things we'll do with him we've never done before. It's exciting for me as a coach [because I] get to explore some different avenues. Plus, you can have him on the field as kind of a third receiver on first down and do those kinds of things. It's unlimited.

"But before you get there you have to go back to the basics of getting your hand on the ground and coming off the ball and sustaining a block. If a tight end can't do that than his value is [diminished]. He can certainly do that. He's proven he can do that. We have to get him involved in that. It's easy to get him involved in the passing game. He's certainly capable of putting his hand on the ground and being a good blocker."

As or the minicamp itself, Lovie Smith always tells players before the rookie minicamp how Brandon McGowan and Cameron Worrell made the best of their tryouts and carved out careers for themselves in the NFL.

"When you come here you don't want to blend in," Smith said after the 54 players who participated were dismissed. "You want to do things that make coaches take notice and we had a few do that."

Smith wouldn't name names, but said some of the cornerbacks who participated might have an opportunity to compete for a roster spot.

As for the draft picks, Smith said third-round choice Major Wright, a safety, and fourth rounder Corey Wootton, defensive end, "performed about the way we thought they would." He also said he was impressed with LeFevour.

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When you read an article like this, you have to wonder if the soup cans and string are really working up at Halas Hall. Don't you think Martz should have said something about a veteran QB BEFORE the draft? Now you have 2 young QB's on the roster, one of which has shown some of the qualities and tools to maybe be an effective starting QB in the NFL. The other guy was brought in this year with a much coveted draft pick. So, let's say you bring in a veteran. I don't think Hanie is eligible for the practice squad, and LeFevour would never make it through waivers. Where are all the "value pick" posters now?
You have to say one thing for Martz and that is, unlike Tice, he doesn't spew the "company line" garbage. Ever think that Martz wants Bulger in here due to his familiarity with Martz's system and with this ineffective OL, Martz sort of figures that at some point Cutler will go down. Maybe Martz should pick up the soup can and pull the string going to Tice's office and have Mike Tice tell him what a great group of veterans and young guys he has to work with.

wow so martz is saying he wants a vetweran qb ans than he says he deosnt want onew? yea ok.

"Our receiving corps will be a strength of this team," he said. "That's in granite. I can promise that. There's not many things I'm emphatic about but that's going to be a strength of this football team. It's a terrific group, it really is."

hahaha waht an idot. teh bears dont need any bakcups sense hansom jay cutler is the best player in the nfl. my jay jay wil never get hurt ans he wil be in the HOF in 3 years. i now sense i am alwwsyars right ans i only give FACST! oh but you didnt now taht di you brando/mick/dave/rosco/tripper/ hahaha..nice tyry tring to rtake down teh KING!!!!!!11

Oh yea olsen is another BUST by ANGELO! teh bears will LOOSE evry game tis season!! you herd it here first LOOSERS!

but you guys now me old crap-ton...just trying to be posative...

ps today was a GRATE day to be out ans about in pink panties! :) to bad i wanst cuz i was scurred of leaving my mommys basment!

From what I remember of Caleb Hanie from an exhibition game last year, he does not anticipate receivers' moves or situations; he waits to see clear situations, and that just doesn't happen unless you are playing a spread, where vision is unimportant. But Martz doesn't run a spread (or a West Coast) - his is a more macho offense -take it to the b------s!
Martz is telling us that he has real concerns about Hanie, and that management better be listening. Stay on the shirts, guys. Force them to get a veteran. We don't want to set ourselves up for second-guessing. He just wants some guy with experience in game situations. He isn't asking for that much. Listen to the man.

The CROW is marinating! You will all be loving all soon!

I don't like the idea of bringing in a veteran quarterback. Fact of the matter is Jay Cutler is gonna take his bumps and bruises, and probably throw a lot of picks along the way, especially early on. You bring in a guy like Mark Bulger, who Martz obviously likes, and he comes in during the pre-season and moves the Bears up and down the field, and hey presto, the Bears got themselves a quarterback controversy. And thats never good for a team, again, I don't like the idea, I say stick with Jay Cutler and Caleb Hanie. Work with Cutler and get him as many reps as possible, same with Hanie, and I think the Bears will be fine.

I like Caleb Hanie, he's looked pretty good the last couple pre-seasons, I really like the way the guy makes things happen when a play breaks down. I know that doesn't mean a lot that it was during the pre-season, but the thing about Hanie is the only way your ever gonna know about him is if he gets on the field. He's a three year vet, he should be NFL ready by now. You bring in any other vet backup QB, other than Bulger, and their not gonna know any more about Martz's offense than Hanie. I say get Hanie a lot of reps and run with him as the backup. Bulger has lost a step anyways, Hanie could be the better QB between the two of them. Bulger is very injury prone (which doesn't bold well with our line) and simply isn't an NFL starter anymore, Hanie is probably the better player between the two, especially when you consider he's a three year vet, if he was a rookie it would be a different story, I think he's ready GO BEARS!!

Tom is right on w/ Hanie. Martz wants better and is not going to rely on the rookie as #1 back up. Olsen is not physical. If u r not physical you better get open and catch everything. He does not do that. He will always show glimpses of greatness, but just enough to tease you and disappoint.

The Bears could definitely use a veteran QB. As long as he doesn't interfere with the development of Hanie. If Hanie continues to develop we will have a solid back-up in two years, and be ready to become a starter if needed. As far as our receivers go, I think the group we have now will become one of the top receiving corps in the NFL.
As far as "Gramps" goes, it is easy to say that you are right when no one can understand what the hell you are saying. I guess if confusion means you are right, then you have always been right in your own mind! Try to post something positive for a change and really confuse us all!

"Caleb is going to be a good player but you really don't know. ... Caleb will be all right. [But] it gives you that insurance. It would make us all feel a little easier with a veteran because you just never know."

Of course you don't know. That's because these young guys never get to see the field. Put them in a game and then you'll know what you have. I really hate this about the Bears. They'll take proven mediocrity over young potential every single time. Guys like Aromoshodou and Bennet sat around for a few years because the Bears were so enthralled with the "experience" of Booker, Lloyd, and Davis. How long will Gilbert, Melton, and Wooton have to watch from the sidelines because of all that impressive experience in Idonije and Anderson? I don't know if any of these young guys will ever be all-pros but we'll never know if they don't play. But we do know what these veterans are and that's average, at best. This team isn't talented enough to go far with their 2nd string QB, so who really cares. If Cutler goes down, play Hanie. If he stinks it up, we'll know what we have and can cut him and move on. If he's good, then we'll have that trade bait that so many people have been talking about.

Seems like Martz is only trying to protect his own (BUTT) if this experiment fails this year as Lovie and Angelo will be pulling up stake and riding GReyhound to the nearest town.

At this point, asking for a new experienced QB is simply unrealistic given the Bears just spent some significant money on a draft pick and the backup Hanie has been with the Bears for two years.

Martz make it work or move on as you have done quite a bit lately after your fantastic success at St. Louis. You do have to wonder why Detroit and San Francisco were such short stints for Martz with the team wishing for a change in direction and removing Martz from the core of these teams.

Wow, I'm so sick of the negative fans who read a couple of lines in an article and starting running their mouths. Who is to say they weren't talking about a veteran QB before the draft. As for the comment that Martz thinks Cutler will go down sometime....Of course you do. That;s why you have back ups. You don't want to be in a situation when a QB gets injured and out for a month and have an unpolished rookie in when you could have signed a vet who is familiar with the system to get us through a few weeks.

One of the best offseasons in a long time and so far Ive seen people whining about a 6th round draft pick and now about signing a veteran. Ridiculous!

Wow! It's been a while since my last post and things haven't changed. Creighton's still upsetting people and other bloggers think it's proper to respond in kind. Well, back to the topic at hand (and lets stay on it shall we?).

Mike isn't full of hot air when he talks about Hanie's unorthodox skills or LeFevour's promise, but no one has any field experience to match Cutler's (a big concern indeed). I still support Angelo's selections (though Wotton's health and Moore's strength trouble me still), because for example, Lefevour was the best available player and the remaining OL were slim pickings to be sure. He's not an insurance policy for Jay, but there to develop depth for 2012 (or to be trade bait, I am still not certain).

WRs is an underestimated team strength this year, ranked right behind LBs and special teams. The corps has some real gems, if not fully polished (due to experience or measurables). Let's not forget Martz likes them fast smart, then fast or big.

OL has been the need least addressed since 2009, though they were admittedly a better unit the last four games of the season. Williams and Omiyale are certain to win the LT and RT positions respectively. However, Kreutz is a question mark and (like Garza) isn't getting any younger. LG is a three way race between Beekman, Asiata, and either Shaffer or Webb will be converted to guard if no veteran is signed before camp (since Louis is too raw as of yet).

The DB carousel has finally stopped, for now. Graham has to fend off Moore and Turenne to earn that third corner spot. Same goes for Jennings at nickelback, with Manning and another Moore are probably after that slot. Wright HAS to win the FS job and Harris is solid. Steltz, Bullocks, and Scott provide serviceable depth as well (they should all benefit from Peppers' presence).

Now the DL, TEs, LBs, and RBs are set with upgrades (questions abound here too, but such is life). Do I really need to mention the kicker, LS, or punters?

How refreshing, a coach at Halas that actually answers questions instead of giving some canned phrase. Martz seems to (1) have a plan and (2) be willing to speak up when a player personal issue is present e.g. Mally Mal a Nu Ma and C. Taylor. This is significant for the Bears who historically seem to want to make there existing staff/players fit the mold.

On "Our receiving corps will be a strength of this team": They may not be the elite of the NFL, but one could consider Knox and Hester to be two of the quickest and shiftiest guys out there. Bennett is solid, with undetermined upside, Iglesias a complete unknown. Both should be better. However, I've said this before and I'll write it again. I'M NOT CONVINCED THAT THE FEILD CONDITIONS AT SOLDIERS ARE IDEAL FOR THIS OFFENSE, I SEE A LOT OF GUYS CUTTING AND FALLING WITH RESULTING INTERCEPTIONS.

On "It would make us all feel a little easier with a veteran because you just never know." I agree with gear head boy. It sure looks like Lefevor was brought in to give Martz raw material, and its Hanie's backup job to loose. How hard is it to 'unlearn' a Ron Turner offense. Personally, I thought Hanie has showed nice pocket presence, certainly better than Grossman :-)

On Olsen, Matrz will not comprise his need for effective blocking from the tight end position. Olsen will need to master this if he expects to see anything more than limited playing time, Clark on the other hand, will see the field regularly. I see something like a 50-35-15 mix for number of plays played by Mally-Clark & Olsen

At least we can dispense with the "We get off the bus running" phrase. This team will need to score lots of points if they expect to compete, thats the trend in the NFL. I doubt this team will be boring or in as much disarray as last year, and thats a good thing.

Side note: The fact that niether Mark Anderson or Daniel Manning was aggressively pursued (we think) by other teams speaks volumes about both of these guys.

Martz is fun because he says what is on his mind and his mind sometimes moves in mysterious ways. If y'all would only listen, all the dude said was that the lack of an experienced backup made him nervous. How is this a revelation? Lovie said the same thing about 6 months ago.

Then he brings up how much more comfortable he was with (back in the day) Warner as backup? I'm trying to form in my mind the image of this blog if the Bear's backup QB had been sacking groceries to pay rent this winter? Can't make the stretch.

"Veteran" is a relative term. By definition they have a veteran. He just hasn't played much. A player is either a rookie or a veteran and Hanie is going into his third year.

To me there are only two reasons to bring in another "veteran" QB at this stage. One reason would be that the "new" coaching staff has looked at Hanie and decided he does not have what it takes to play in the NFL. Two would be that there are teams in the league who have contacted the Bears about Hanie and want to trade a decent pick for him.

There has been no sign that either case is true and I can't think of another scenerio that would make sense. My guess is Martz is just going to have to deal with being nervous. BFD

I guess you have to suck up to JA and Lovie, agree with every coaches word, and have no tangible thought of your own to be a great fan. Must be really hard to taste your food with the lingering aroma of JA on your lips.
Let's rank these "football" minds. Polian, Sean Payton, Belichick, Kevin Colbert {Steelers' GM}, Ted Thompson, and our Jerry Angelo. Anyone...come on rank them. On any list, Angelo is last. Hmmm, Polian and Belichick would be right up there. Payton is really good. Not one of these teams are beating down the door of Bulger or any other veteran out there. Why? Because they're smart enough to realize that if their number 1 goes down, the season is over. Go look up the Saints', Colts', Cowboys', Patriots' backup QB. They're not that good. If you have a team where the backup is even close to having the talent of the starter, then the starter isn't that good. But, in Chicago, some vastly over hyped Offensive Coordinator, who wants to make a name for himself, mentions bringing in a veteran backup and it's taken as "football gospel." {True, he's the best Chicago has seen in decades, but that's like being the tallest midget.} These other teams realize that the best way to protect your offensive system is with a quality OL.
And the argument above that the Bear's just HAD to take Lefevour because he was the highest rated player on the board is like saying a vegetarian should buy a 36 oz Porterhouse because it's priced like a strip steak. Again, for the 15th time, a player is only valuable if he brings value to the team. And, oh, by the way, your argument is false to begin with because there were 3 or 4 players on the board when LeFevour was taken that were graded higher than him. One being a RB {are you really sold on Forte?} and the other was a big, fast WR. Nevermind, we couldn't use another WR, ours are headed to Honolulu this year. Speaking of the WR's, can we put the kool-aid down for just a few months and let our heads clear. I am as excited as anyone about Devin Aromashodu, but let's see him produce for a full year. Can we see Knox run something other than a "9" route and let's see him have a productive sophomore season? Look at Eddie Royal who had 91 catches his rookie season and dropped to less than 40 loast year. Bennett is nothing special. A moderately fast possession receiver. And Hester is what he is. Possibly the greatest return man of all time turned into an average receiver. What was I thinking? No way we could have used Dezmon Briscoe from Kansas.

Can some of you obvious Rhodes scholars please show me which CREIGHTON post you are responding to? I see CRAP-TON who is simply a moron that posts and largely just wastes space. At least you can tell the difference between the two posters starting by - oh let me see - looking at THE NAME.

Martz is coming out and saying he'd like a veteran backup. Good for him. He may have been saying this all along no one really knows for sure so that's pure speculation. If Chicago does add a veteran then you can 100% say that either they wasted a 6th-round pick or they wasted 2 years with Hanie and that falls on Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith.

Personally, I'd rather take my chances with Hanie. He seems to be mobile and strong-armed. I have been impressed with him in preseason games and feel comfortable going forward. The problem is that Mike Martz is here for one year and one year only. He wants someone who can provenly run his system because he knows this is a make-or-break year for himself. So Chicago gives him what he wants or he can try to CYA if things do not workout.

I do like him putting his neck on the line saying our receivers are going to be the strength of this team this year. I hope so. With the emergence of DA, Knox, and one more year for Hester, I do hope we can see a vast improvement. I still wish Chicago had drafted differently (on my blog I put up my annual 2nd-guess draft) and picked up South Florida's Carlton Mitchell; he's big, physical and the kind of WR Cutler loves to throw to.

Aside from that I do like the soundbites from Martz. Definitely different from what we're used to. However, keep in mind this was the knock on Martz as well. He's always been a "me first" kinda guy that has caused problems in previous stints. Just because he's worked with Lovie before is not going to change his attitude or demeanor.

NO NO NO... We are fine with what we have, how about spending that money you would spend on a back and get some O line help to keep OUR Pro Bowl QB healthy !

I guess I don't follow the logic.

Martz wants an experienced backup and uses Warner as an example.

Because Warner was toooootallly an experienced QB when Trent Green went down.

Look. Either we develop Hanie, Levklsjdvklsjvljkour, or Basenez into someone who can start if Cutler goes down, or we get someone who can.

If there were other options than Bulger(too old and gunshy) or McNown(not really all that better than what we currently), I wouldn't be opposed to it. But I think it's best just to stick to what we've got.

So did anyone else watch the highlight video from the mini-camp on the Bears site?
The QBs were pretty vanilla, which is to be expected in their first action, but the one thing that stood out to me is that Freddie Barnes was shown twice on deep square-ins, and he fell out of his break on both of them, allowing the DB to make a play on the ball. That is certainly not a good thing, since Martz uses the ins and outs downfield in almost every passing formation. But it got me thinking about our receiver group, and the strengths they have vs. the strengths of Martz's offense.

Hester, Knox, and Olsen are not precise or sharp route runners, and if I remember right, the knock on Iglesias is that he wasn't either. This is going to be interesting, especially if they can't sell the fakes and get a step or two on the defender. If Aromashodu and Bennett are our only solid route runners, that does not bode well. Hopefully Knox and Hester can be taught to run better routes, but they didn't seem to get a lot better during the season last year.

Martz relies on deep, downfield routes, and in most cases, they are stop motion routes, where they stop the downfield press, and break, left, right, or back towards the ball. Defensive coordinators know this, so if they can't make the defender turn his hips and run, they not only won't be open, but they will get a lot of Cutler's passes intercepted. The deep speed they have should help, but they need to be very good at selling the deep route, or making the defender think they are going a different way than they are.

That also means Cutler is going to have to trust them to be where they are supposed to be, and on time. He is going to have to rifle the ball down the field on timing, and trust that they can get their heads around to catch the ball. In 2009, that didn't work out so well, as they didn't seem to locate the ball on the break as well as they could have.

I have to admit, my concerns about the receivers have not been relieved. This could either be really good, or really bad. I don't see how it could end up in between.

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on May 2, 2010 2:50 PM.

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