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The two worst things that happened to the Chicago Bears in 2011 were (1) Jay Cutler breaking his thumb on a tackle attempt against the Detroit Lions and (2) Caleb Hanie performing admirably in the NFC title game against the Green Bay Packers. Cutler’s injury is self-explanatory but it was Hanie’s duping of the Bears organization, media and fans that caused this once promising 2011 campaign to fade into the oblivion of unprofessional quarterback play. It got sad bad with Hanie that last night at bars across the Chicagoland area could be heard the phrase, “You know, this McCown ain’t so bad.”
That is my fear. Yes Josh McCown was a significant improvement over the disaster that was Caleb Hanie but a majority of his success last night came when the Green Bay Packers had already packed in their regular season. One can not ignore that McCown was more confident with the ball, more poised in the pocket, more accurate down the field than Hanie but the Bears can not stake their backup quarterback position for 2012 on comparisons to Caleb Hanie. There are several commenters to this site who could have improved upon the work of Mr. Hanie.
McCown will get another start in Minnesota next week. It will be a lifeless game in a lifeless environment but one player will have something to play for: McCown. The former high school football coach (from about a month ago) will be playing for his invitation to Bourbonnais come the summer. A terrific performance will not (or at least should not) prohibit Jerry Angelo from inquiring about Jason Campbell or attempting to bring Kyle or Rex back to town as Jay Cutler’s primary backup. But a solid effort from McCown should relieve some of the pressure on Angelo to fill that vacancy and allow him to focus on the positions of primary importance: WR, OL, DE and now possibly corner.
I am rooting for McCown to succeed. I like his accuracy to the outside and I love his mobility. I also sensed that McCown played with an intensity last night Caleb Hanie lacked over his four ugly outings. But we have been fooled by the success of a QB opposing defenses had no tape on before. And one can never know how successful the signal caller can be until he plays meaningful competition over a substantial period of time. The Vikings will have tape on McCown next week, sure. But the game is meaningless. I just hope the Bears realize that.