Veteran Todd Collins said he's ''ready to go'' and is looking forward to starting for the Bears against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. That the previous starter was sacked nine times in less than one half and left with a concussion doesn't really faze him.
''You can't really think about that,'' Collins said. ''If you're thinking about the protection and the offensive line, I've got more and better things to think about because you simply can't control it. I'm going to let those guys do their jobs, I'll do mine and get the ball to the playmakers.''
Collins, 38, said he was told by coach Lovie Smith late Thursday morning that he would be starting in place of Jay Cutler, who suffered a concussion against the Giants.
''I was kind of expecting it so I was excited, getting ready to go. Weve got a big game in Carolina so I'm looking forward to it.''
Collins' has not started since 2007 with the Washington Redskins, when he started the final three games after replacing Jason Campbell midway through a victory over the Bears. With the Redskins riding a wave of emotion after the death of Sean Taylor, Collins led them to victories over the Giants, Vikings and Cowboys to complete an improbable run to the playoffs.
For what it's worth, Collins struggled against the Giants in his first start (8-of-25, 166 yards, 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 56.4 rating). But he was sharp in victories over he Vikings (124.8 rating) and Cowboys (104.8). In the four-game stretch he threw five touchdowns and no interceptions and had a 106.4 passer rating.
''It helps,'' he said about his experience in 2007. ''I've been around a while. It's a team game, but I look forward to go out and do my part and contribute to a victory.''
Operating in Mike Martz' offense could be a hitch. Collins played with the Redskins in 1997 when Martz was the quarterbacks coach. And he played five seasons in Kansas City when Al Saunders -- a Martz protege -- was the offensive coordinator. But he only played in 12 games and threw 27 passes in that time.
"It's pretty complex,'' he said. ''I have some background in it and I don't think it's anything insurmountable. It helps that I have some experience in it, all the different shifts and formations, so we're going to take advantage of that.''
Furthermore, he said he expects to have the full complement of Martz' playbook at his disposal.
''I don't see why not,'' Collins said. ''I don't call the plays so you'll have ask coach Martz, but I don't think he's one to limit playbooks much.''
Collins was not sacked after replacing Cutler against the Giants. But he was knocked out of the game himself with a neck-stinger. Having started three NFL games in the past 13 years, he's not going to let that stop him
''I feel fine,'' Collins said. ''I'm ready to go.''