The reason why Todd Collins will start for the Bears on Sunday against the Panthers rather than Caleb Hanie is because of his experience and game management skills.
"Todd has played a lot of football in the league," Bears coach Lovie Smith said of the 12-year veteran. "He's anxious to get another opportunity to start in a game, so we're going to pick up the pieces around Todd and play our butts off this week."
Hanie, who was entrenched as the backup before being injured in the preseason, was disappointed when he learned of coach Lovie Smith's decision on Thursday morning, but is taking it in stride.
"I'd like to start," Hanie said. "Who doesn't? But I try not to worry about that stuff."
While Collins will replace Jay Cutler this week, Smith said he does not expect Cutler to be out for an extended period.
"There's no reason to think that," he said. "He's making progress. You guys see him around here right now. Hopefully, that won't be the case. Of course, all we know right now is he's not playing this week. Hopefully, he'll be ready to go next week."
Smith would not divulge who the emergency third-string quarterback would be this week, although it could be Devin Hester or Matt Forte, who could take direct snaps out of the "wildcat" formation.
"We have an emergency plan," Smith said. "Most of the time, you don't get to that third quarterback in a game. Very, very seldom does it happen. But I'll just say without going into that and giving away too much more about our game plan, we have a guy in mind, maybe a couple of guys in mind, if we get down to No. 3. Hopefully we won't get down to No. 3."