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Thoughts on Caleb Hanie’s Rather Dismal Debut and a Bears Loss

| November 28th, 2011

  • It was very clear to me that Caleb Hanie never found solid footing the entire afternoon. He never looked comfortable in the pocket and looked less comfortable when he was intentionally rolled out. I thought he’d have been instructed to take off running once the play broke down around him but apparently he was instructed to lob balls into traffic. Overall a supremely poor debut for Hanie but he’ll be given the Chiefs at Solider Field next week to improve.
  • This game changed at the end of the first half and I blame Lovie Smith. Down 9-7, with a chip shot field goal there for the taking and a touchdown attainable, Lovie allowed Mike Martz to call a throwback screen with Hanie. Picked off. The Bears defense continued their valiant play and held the game at 12-7 but the Bears were unable to play catch-up the rest of the afternoon.
  • Lance Louis’ tackle on that play should go in the Plays of the Year reel.
  • Marian Barber ran the ball more consistently and with more authority than Matt Forte yesterday and I would have given him more snaps.
  • So Johnny Knox will be Caleb’s number one receiver, huh? Okay. But if you’re going to be the number one you need to catch the ball consistently.
  • I warned you all about Shane Lechler’s punting. He negates all punt returns because he’s one of the greatest punters in the history of the game.
  • Nice kicking, Robbie Gould.
  • Why I can’t get too upset with games like yesterday? There were half a dozen plays where Hanie simply bailed before he needed to. At times when Cutler would have stood strong and delivered a rocket down the field, Hanie started sprinting away from defenders. Life with a backup…
  • Hanie’s limitations might provide impetus to work Devin Hester back into the receiver rotation.
  • Very strange to see LoveRod leave Jennings on an island on the game-winning, third-and-long go route toss from Carson Palmer. Seemed that would be the ideal time to be in the zone.
  • Jennings also dropped two interceptions. He catches those balls, Bears win.
  • Overall the defense played exactly how you’d expect them to play on an afternoon where the QB looked as inept at Hanie did. They gave the Bears a chance to win the game.
  • Don’t let the special teams penalties get lost in the headlines. The return team buried the offense with holds on the first two returns.
  • Nick Roach continues his improvement. He might have been the best linebacker on the field for the Bears this week.
  • Corey Graham has picks in three straight games? Does any team in the league have more depth at nickel corner than the Chicago Bears?
  • Have we abandoned any designed outside runs?

Overall it is a loss to a good team on the road and hopefully Mr. Hanie will have worked through whatever led him to play the way he played. The Bears now embark on a winnable three-game stretch, starting with Kansas City at home, and Hanie cannot allow this offense to regress to the 2002-2005 era. He cannot make touchdowns rarer than foie gras hot dogs with a side of duck fat fries. It is incumbent upon Lovie, Martz and Hanie to spend the next six days making this thing work. If they don’t, there might not be a postseason for Cutler to return to.

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Extra note: Jeff Pearlman will discuss Sweetness on the Weekend Show! Friday. He’ll also be in the city this week. Check him out:

Nov. 28:  Jeff Pearlman will discuss and sign “Sweetness,” 7 p.m. at
Anderson’s Bookshop, 123 W. Jefferson Ave., Naperville.

Nov. 30: Jeff Pearlman will discuss his book, “Sweetness: The
Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton,” at 7:30 p.m. at KAM Isaiah Israel
Congregation, 1100 E. Hyde Park Boulevard. The event is free and open
to the public.

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