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Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Carr to Bears: Invest in proven backup QB

By Jeff Dickerson

INDIANAPOLIS -- David Carr has some advice for the Chicago Bears: Spend money to sign a proven, veteran No. 2 quarterback in the offseason.

Shaun Ellis
David Carr has played in 92 games in a 10-year NFL career, giving the Giants a veteran insurance policy for Eli Manning.
Carr, the former No. 1 overall pick of the 2002 NFL draft by the Houston Texans, now spends his days as the primary insurance policy behind quarterback Eli Manning in New York. After a 10-year pro career that has also included stops in Carolina and San Francisco, Carr believes he knows what it takes to be a successful second-string quarterback in the NFL: experience and practice reps.

"Look, I started almost 100 games (79), so I know what to expect when I go out on the field," Carr said Wednesday. "[Giants] coach [Tom] Coughlin has always been smart about keeping a veteran guy. Look at the situation the Cowboys got into a couple of years ago. Jon Kitna, now maybe his best days athletically were behind him, but it was like his 14th or 15th year. The guy knows what to expect. He's not seeing a defense on a Sunday that he hasn't seen before or already faced at some point in his career. There is a lot of value to veteran quarterbacks. Young guys are great to have, and great to develop, and that's where you find the talent to push on for the next decade. But when you are in a situation like that, it's better to have a guy who has been there before.

"You look at it as an insurance policy. You want to have one that's sound and has been in that situation before. As nice and as fancy as it is to get a strong-armed quarterback who has tremendous upside, there is something to be said for the Jon Kitnas of the world. I think the coaches realize that, I think general managers realize that and they start to see that. Like I said, it's great to have the young guys in there and eventually they can be starters in this league, but in situations like what came up in Chicago, you have to have a guy ready."

Being a reserve quarterback under former Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz was tricky. Martz worked exclusively with starter Jay Cutler, virtually ignoring the other quarterbacks on the roster, until he was forced to watch tape with Caleb Hanie after Cutler broke his right thumb in November. Even then, Martz didn't have much time for Hanie outside of one private film session following Hanie's first start against Oakland. Further complicating matters was Martz's philosophy toward backup quarterbacks receiving legitimate practice reps.

Basically, the backup never got meaningful practice reps outside of the bye week. That's a big problem, according to Carr.

"Here as a backup it's a little bit easier just because, most of the time there is a real young guy taking the scout team reps or the defensive look reps, but coach Coughlin gives me every one of them," Carr said. "So I'm taking just as many snaps as Eli. Now, it's not the offense we are really running, but I try to translate it to our terminology. If I see the card, or see the play we are running, I try to switch it over to our language just so guys, who might play, who are in there with me will also get some reps.'

"When I was in San Francisco, I got zero reps all year as a backup quarterback. It's a tough situation, especially when you are asked to go into a game or start a football game when you haven't had a snap in three or four months.

"People can't imagine how hard that is."

Paging Jason Licht: New England won't make pro personnel director Jason Licht available to the media during Super Bowl week even though Licht was a finalist for the Bears general manager job. Licht was a no-show Tuesday at Super Bowl XLVI media day at Lucas Oil Stadium, then on Wednesday, a Patriots media relations director said Licht will not be made available the entire week.