Praise of Caleb Hanie in the wake of his performance in relief of Jay Cutler in the NFC Championship Game continues.
So, why is it that it sometimes feels as if Hanie is more appreciated more outside Halas Hall?
Bucky Brooks ranks Caleb Hanie among the up-and-coming backup quarterbacks in the NFL, continuing a trend. Here's what the NFL.com analyst wrote:
"Hanie opened eyes around the league with his surprising performance against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game. His arm strength rates above average, and he throws the ball with exceptional velocity. Hanie's natural physical skills are also complemented by sound footwork and fundamentals in the pocket. Even though his inexperience will lead to some mistakes in his reads and progressions, his ability to play well against an elite defense in a high-pressure environment will prompt some to take a closer look."
I, too, was impressed by Hanie's performance against the Packers. He injected life into what had been a moribund unit under Cutler, leading the offense on two scoring drives in the second half.
He also threw two inexcusable picks that helped send the Packers to the Super Bowl, as offensive coordinator Mike Martz mentioned during an interview at the NFL Combine.
"Caleb still threw two picks," Martz said. "It's not like he had a great game or anything. But at least he moved the team and they responded to him. I thought he competed very well. You have to remember, he didn't take a snap all year since July. This was all from the classroom. That part of it was pretty remarkable."
I can't help but get the feeling that Martz --- for whatever reason --- is far from sold on Hanie.
"What's two times four," Martz said at the combine, projecting Hanie's two second-half interceptions over a full game. "That's eight picks. Let's temperate it. He's still got a ways to go. Let's temperate it. He's still got a chance but there's still some questions about Caleb we need to find out."
Hanie will be a restricted free agent after next season.
The Bears drafted Idaho's Nathan Enderle in the fifth round of the April draft with hopes of developing him into the quarterback of the future.