Hanie talking big even if Bears aren't playing big
The feeling around Halas Hall has become one of quiet desperation—a stark contrast to just four weeks ago when the Bears seemed like the only team in the NFC that could challenge the Packers. But the Bears now seem bereft of their bravado. The Halas Hall of Justice became the Legion of Doom with the flick of a thumb.
This is a team in trouble slowly watching its season slip away. They are helpless to do anything about it. The only thing that can is for its two ailing stars on offense to get better. Which doesn't seem like it'll happen in time. Jay Cutler told ESPN 1000's Waddle and Silvie he's mostly pushing the ball as opposed to throwing it. You don't suddenly get your touch back in two weeks which is when they'll need him back to matter.
And because of that there wasn't a lot jubilation at the Hall today. There wasn't a lot of players to talk to. Most didn't make themselves available including Marion Barber who defies NFL policies by avoiding the media which is something he was apparently able to do without protest in Dallas.
Caleb Hanie offered the only brash comment regarding their upcoming opponent—the Seahawks, “I feel like we match up well versus them, upfront and on the outside. I’m confident we’ll handle these guys.”
But Hanie went on to add that the struggles are because the offense is still getting familiar with one another: “It’s not just the quarterback changing, it’s everybody getting used to everybody. It’s playing an NFL game, four quarters getting used to that. It’s a tough game and quarterback’s a tough position.”
Unfortunately the Bears situation falls at the feet of the men at the top—Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith. In the Bears blowout wins to Minnesota and the Lions instead of getting his backups some extra reps, Smith kept Cutler and Forte in the game. Hanie barely saw the field prior to Cutler’s injury and Kahlil Bell’s picture could have been on a milk carton.
Now these two have become the top playmakers on this Bears offense since Earl Bennett’s disappearance and Marion Barber’s bumbling and they’re still “getting used to everybody.”
The Bears did say they were going to address the absence of Bennett this week. Him not catching passes isn’t his fault when none are thrown to him. Hanie targeted Bennett once Sunday saying, “Defenses were keying on him more and on third down”.
Unfortunately, Angelo’s roster has been exposed for being, forgive the pun, painfully thin at most positions, except safety. If you think this is bad, imagine if the Bears sustained an injury at linebacker. Enter undrafted rookie Dom DeCicco and exit all hope. Given Brian Urlacher and Charles Tillman’s age and coming off an NFC Title appearance this was supposed to be an “All In” type season for the Bears. This is not how you stack the deck to improve your chances—especially with about 18 million in salary cap space.
But not having a quality backup QB doesn’t make the Bears unique (Indianapolis). However Curtis Painter does seem like an upgrade right now.
You need depth at every position in the NFL. The Packers proved that last year. And now the lesson has literally been painfully proven to the Bears brass.
Unfortunately it appears to be too late.