Sunday, January 23, 2011
Hanie proved himself a solid backup
By Jeff Dickerson
CHICAGO -- Caleb Hanie was diplomatic following the Bears’ 21-14 defeat at the hands of the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game on Sunday at Soldier Field.
After serving as the Bears No. 2 quarterback the entire 2009 season, Hanie was demoted to third string by Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz in all but three games. Just like he did against the Carolina Panthers in Week 5, Hanie gave the Bears offense a lift upon replacing veteran backup Todd Collins -- who replaced injured starter Jay Cutler -- late in the third quarter.
Although Hanie had a few rough moments Sunday, he clearly outperformed Collins, which raises questions about the Bears depth chart at quarterback.
“They just liked the way Todd was doing things at that time and felt comfortable with him," Hanie said. "He’s been in the league 16 years and he’s done a great job when he’s been elsewhere and so that’s why they go [that way].”
“I’d like to think that I don’t need that type of motivation, but when you get demoted you always have a little extra fire in you to come back and show that they made the wrong decision. But that’s just the coach’s decision at that time and you can’t argue with a guy with 16 years of experience like Todd has.”
Hanie finished the game 13 of 20 for 153 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. The numbers, however, don't paint the entire picture.
“He went out there and laid it all out on the line," Bears cornerback Tim Jennings said. "He came in, stepped up and played great. You have to take your hat off to the Green Bay defense. That’s a great team, but you have to tip your cap to Caleb and the whole offensive team effort. Caleb came in and gave us a good spark. We just fell a little short.”
“I thought his play was awesome," fellow cornerback Charles Tillman added. "He came in there and I thought he showed tremendous poise on such short notice. For what they asked him to do, I thought he did a good job.”