Notebook: Hanie disappointed in himself
QB Caleb Hanie (Jerry Lai/US Presswire)
QB Caleb Hanie (Jerry Lai/US Presswire)
Special to BearReport.com
Posted Dec 22, 2011


After an extremely disappointing four-week stretch, Caleb Hanie's future in the NFL is uncertain. We also have the injury impact, the game plan for this weekend, matchups to watch and more.

--So, where does quarterback Caleb Hanie go from here?

"Just keep working every day; keep grinding," Hanie said Wednesday, after his demotion in favor of Josh McCown. "That's all you can do. Just try to fix all the mistakes that you make and learn from them. I'm obviously disappointed. You don't want to play bad ever or lose games, so it is what it is at this point. Just got to roll with it."

In four starts, Hanie was 0-4. He completed 50 percent of his 102 passes and threw nine interceptions and three touchdown passes for a 41.8 passer rating. Hanie said he wasn't a big fan of the philosophy that players can learn from watching after they're benched.

"Sometimes it's good I guess," he said. "Just on a situational basis."

Coach Lovie Smith doesn't know exactly what to expect from McCown, but he said it was time for a switch, as the Bears prepare for Sunday's matchup with the Packers at Lambeau Field.

"Sometimes if you don't like what you have, you have to look at your other options," Smith said. "We just have to have faith that we can play better, that we can do some things to help him out a little bit more, (that) people around him can play a little bit better.

"We're going up there with the intent to win the football game, and for us to do that, our quarterback position has to play better."

--When he was in Mike Martz's offense with the Lions in 2006, McCown didn't throw a single pass, but he caught two for 15 yards as an emergency receiver.

The Bears are thin at wide receiver with Johnny Knox on injured reserve, Devin Hester battling a sprained ankle and Sam Hurd fighting the law. But don't look for McCown to be catching any passes.

"I haven't pulled off the throwing it and catching it yet," he said. "If that's where the team needed me, then absolutely, I'd go out there in a heartbeat. Some of the funnest football I played was that year in Detroit, playing receiver and getting a different perspective on their world out there. I would do anything to help our team."

--Nickel back D.J. Moore says in some ways the Packers' Aaron Rodgers is just like any other quarterback.

"If you have pressure on them, he's going to struggle as a quarterback," Moore said. "If he has a lot of time, or buys more time, he's going to be great."

For most of the season, Rodgers has been much better than great. His passer rating of 120.1 would be the highest for a single season in NFL history, and he has 40 touchdown passes and just six interceptions.

INJURY IMPACT

--QB Jay Cutler (right thumb) did not practice Wednesday and will not play Sunday.

--RB Marion Barber (calf) did not practice Wednesday, but he is expected to play Sunday.

--RB Matt Forte (knee) did not practice Wednesday and will not play Sunday.

--LB Lance Briggs did not practice Wednesday but will play Sunday.

--TE Kellen Davis (back) did not practice Wednesday and is day-to-day with a recurring problem.

--DT Henry Melton (shin) did not practice Wednesday and is probably no better than questionable for Sunday.

--DE Julius Peppers did not practice Wednesday, but it was not injury related.

SERIES HISTORY: 182nd regular-season meeting. Bears lead 91-84-6, but the Packers have won four of the past five meetings. The Packers also won the only postseason game between the long-time rivals, defeating the Bears 21-14 at Soldier Field last season in the NFC Championship Game. The Bears had a chance to keep the Packers out of the playoffs in the 2010 regular-season finale, but Green Bay won 10-3, defeated the Bears in the NFC title game and went on to win the Super Bowl. A Packers victory Sunday night eliminates the Bears from the playoff picture.

GAME PLAN: The past four weeks have demonstrated just how valuable Jay Cutler's instincts, athleticism and movement skills are in the pocket. The offensive line hasn't gotten that much worse, but Caleb Hanie does not have the same ability to sense the rush, sidestep it or buy time in the pocket that Cutler did. Even though the Bears have switched to Josh McCown at quarterback now, they will have the same problem, despite the fact that McCown has above-average athleticism. So they have to establish the run game, and line coach Mike Tice said they're looking to run it more often than they did last week, when they ran 31 times and passed 25. Especially with Marion Barber (calf) nicked up, Kahlil Bell might be the featured back this week. Even if Barber is healthy, Bell looked like the much better all-around back last week.

Defensively, the Bears have to take the ball away, and they see the Packers' injury-ravaged offensive line as an area they can attack. The Bears' defensive line isn't nearly as good as they like to think it is, but it's still very solid, especially if DT Henry Melton (shin) is back in the lineup. The only advantage the Bears have in this game is their line against the Packers' line, so if they're going to make it interesting, they need to dominate at the line and put pressure on Aaron Rodgers, although he has shown in past games vs. the Bears that he can get the ball out before he's in danger.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Bears DRE Julius Peppers, who leads the team with 10 sacks and 51 QB pressures (according to team statistics) vs. Packers OLT Marshall Newhouse, who has been beaten badly in each of the past two weeks.

Bears RT Lance Louis, who has been a disaster in pass protection in recent weeks, vs. Packers LOLB Clay Matthews.

BY THE NUMBERS: 33.8 -- Combined passer rating of all Bears quarterbacks other than Jay Cutler since Cutler joined the Bears in 2009. Those backups have combined to throw four touchdown passes and 17 interceptions. Three of the interceptions have been pick-sixes.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We felt like we needed a change, someone to give us a little bit of a spark." -- Bears coach Lovie Smith on the quarterback switch from Caleb Hanie to Josh McCown.


Bear Report: The only publication exclusively dedicated to your Chicago Bears.


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