Bears coach Lovie Smith would not commit to Caleb Hanie as his starting quarterback after Hanie threw three interceptions and had two of them returned for touchdowns in the Bears' 38-14 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
''Who's going to be our quarterback?'' Smith said, repeating the question during his Monday press conference. ''Right now Caleb Hanie is our starting quarterback. He played yesterday. We felt we needed a boost, we needed to change the course a little bit yesterday. But we do that with all our players. None of those decisions have been made.
''With any of our positions, we evaluate the video, which we're doing right now. And come Wednesday, for you guys out there Wednesday, you'll have an idea then.''
Smith also indicated it's unlikely that rookie Nathan Enderle will play in an effort to get him experience.
''This isn't a tryout period,'' he said. ''We're trying to win a football game. So the best guys that give us an opportunity to do that -- of course [after] talking with our coaching staff -- will be on the field. No more than that.''
In four starts, Hanie has thrown three touchdown passes and nine interceptions and has a 41.8 passer rating. Josh McCown replaced Hanie after Hanie threw his second pick-six of the day against the Seahawks. But his second pass was intercepted.
Those performances continue a disturbing trend. Since Jay Cutler arrived in 2009, Bears backup quarterbacks have thrown four touchdown passes and 17 interceptions for a 33.8 passer rating. Three of the picks have been returned for touchdowns, so they've nearly given up as many points as they've scored.
Smith refused to single out Hanie as the problem, but he perhaps unintentionally pinpointed the Bears' problem when asked how the Bears could do a better job of evaluating and preparing a backup quarterback.
''You have to have the right player in that position as much as anything,'' he said. ''It's tough to prepare a No. 2 quarterback. You prepare the No. 1 guy and you do what you can with the No. 2 guy. How do you prepare him? Through the offseason. With him in meetings. But as far as actual work, it's hard to get a backup quarterback a lot of work. You just hope to have the right guy in that position.''
Preparing a No. 2 quarterback is tough for the Bears, but not so tough for other NFL teams. In fact, quarterbacks who began the season as backups have an 89.8 passer rating so in Week 15.
The Colts' Dan Orlovsky, who by the way spent two seasons in Mike Martz's system with Detroit, had a 95.7 passer rating (11-of-17 for 82 yards, one TD, no INTs) in a victory over the Titans on Sunday. Jake Locker replaced slumping Matt Hasselbeck in that game and was 11-of-16 for 108 yards, a TD and no INTs of a 108.3 rating, rallying the Titans to within a touchdown with 3:48 to play.
And it can't be ignored that Kyle Orton, who joined the Chiefs less than four weeks ago and was making his first start for them on Sunday, led Kansas City to a monumental upset of the previously unbeaten Green Bay Packers. He was 23-of-31 for 299 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions for a 104.1 rating.
Hanie, meanwhile, is making the same mistakes now that he did against the Packers in the NFC Championship Game. Smith acknowledged disappointment that the team has struggled with Hanie at quarterback and said they're working on it.
''WE are making some of the same mistakes that we made against Green Bay, as a football team,'' he said. ''Caleb is a part of that. You just keep working to get better. We are doing that.
''Anytime we see a guy making a mistake in that game, we're working to get it better. Sometimes it takes a little bit longer. And I'm going to say that about our football team. We're 7-7. We need to get that solved pretty quick.''