Basanez, Hanie could compete to back up Orton
INDIANAPOLIS -- A day after one NFC North coach suggested he is satisfied with the status quo at quarterback, another expressed similar sentiments.
Chicago's Lovie Smith went out of his way Saturday to say he would be comfortable entering training camp with an inexperienced backup for starter Kyle Orton. His roster currently includes Orton, second-year player Caleb Hanie and newcomer Brett Basanez. Asked if he would be fine with that trio in 2009, Smith said:
"Yes I would," Smith said. "I mean, everybody wants a veteran. And that's good. And who knows? We haven't shut the door on any of our positions right now. But I think sometimes you have to go with young talent. Of course, Brett has played a little bit in the league. And what I saw from Caleb Hanie last year, it gets you excited."
The Bears have been connected in media reports to a handful of veteran free agents, including Byron Leftwich and Chris Simms. It's always possible that Smith is positioning the Bears to reduce the leverage of any veteran they might enter into negotiations with. And on follow-up, Smith didn't rule out pursuing a veteran, saying: "In the offseason we don't shut the door on anyone."
If necessary, however, Smith is ready to let Basanez and Hanie compete for the No. 2 position this summer.