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Backup quarterback on agenda for Bears

2/23/2012
Two solid performances last season should keep Josh McCown in the mix for a backup job with the Bears. AP Photo/Jim Mone

INDIANAPOLIS -- With the Chicago Bears unable to win a game last year after Jay Cutler suffered his second serious injury in the past two seasons, coach Lovie Smith said Thursday the club plans to take a hard look at the No. 2 quarterback spot leading up to free agency and the NFL draft.

Caleb Hanie and veteran Josh McCown are both unrestricted free agents, which leaves untested 2011 fifth-round pick Nathan Enderle as the only reserve quarterback on the roster.

That will no doubt change.

"First off, each year you learn something," Smith said. "We thought we had a better plan at the quarterback position. I knew how valuable Jay was to us. That won't change. But we do need to get ourselves in a better position at that backup quarterback position. So you start with that.

"We have a lot of options out there. I think this is an attractive place for a quarterback. We're going to look at all people. And I'm talking Caleb, Josh and free agent quarterbacks out there. I just feel like we'll be able to strengthen that position more than we were this past year.'

"I should have mentioned Nathan Enderle also. Nathan by being a rookie and not really being a factor last year, you tend to forget him sometimes. But he'll be a part of the mix also."

McCown, however, might have the best shot to earn one of the backup roles after he turned in a pair of decent performances to wrap up the regular season. But the Bears would be wise to also explore other options, especially free agent Kyle Orton, who might welcome the opportunity to return to Chicago if he can't find work in the league as a starting quarterback.