NFL Nation: Caleb Hanie

IRVING, Texas – Most of the time when Kyle Orton’s absence was discussed in the offseason, Brandon Weeden was mentioned as the biggest beneficiary.

Hanie
While true, Caleb Hanie also benefited.

With Orton staying away, the Dallas Cowboys had to sign Hanie, a Forney, Texas, native. With Orton skipping all of the organized team activities and mandatory June minicamp and Tony Romo staying out of competitive drills, Hanie took most of the backup snaps behind Weeden.

“He knows how to play,” coach Jason Garrett said. “That’s one of the things we were attracted to when we signed him in the spring. Get a guy in here who can handle the huddle and handle situations at the line of scrimmage. He’s seen defenses in this league. He’s started games. He’s been in playoff games.”

He has a 0-4 record as a starter he completed 59 of 116 passes for 679 yards with three touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He has not thrown a pass in a regular-season game since 2011 and spent parts of the past two seasons with the Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns.

The Cowboys struck out on their first attempt to sign Hanie. In 2008, he chose to sign with the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent, despite a full-court press from the Cowboys.

“I felt it was a better opportunity for me in Chicago with the guys they had up there,” Hanie said. “At the time Tony was planted as the starter and I think Brad Johnson was on the roster then. It would’ve been a little uphill battle for me to get on the roster. It was tough turning them down, I can tell you that much, being the hometown team.”

Last December Hanie was among a handful of quarterbacks the Cowboys worked out after Romo got hurt. They eventually signed Jon Kitna for the final week of the season.

In April, Hanie and the Cowboys finally got together.

“It’s kind of come full circle now,” he said.

The Cowboys expect Orton to show up at training camp, but they also expected him to show up for the minicamp. The fines for skipping training camp practices are much more severe ($30,000 per day).

“If he’s here, I’ll notice,” Hanie said. “If he’s not, I don’t worry about that. I just worry about what I can do and control and see how it goes from here.”

Hanie had some solid moments in the offseason. He connected on a touchdown with Cole Beasley in the slot, splitting the cornerback and linebacker on a throw to the slot. Hanie pumped his fist as he went to the sideline.

“I think it’s gone well,” Hanie said. “Obviously you want to be perfect in everything you do, every check and throw and with 100 percent accuracy, but it’s just not realistic sometimes. You’ve just got to let things go and try to improve every way you can and take as much coaching as you can while you have the opportunity.”
IRVING, Texas -- How much does Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo want to practice during this week’s minicamp? He went so far as to snag Caleb Hanie’s practice jersey and sneak into the huddle during Tuesday’s practice.

“It was pretty obvious that the jersey was a little snug on him,” coach Jason Garrett said. “That’s when I looked and said, ‘Get him out of the huddle.’ He’s a competitive guy. He wants to play. He wants to be out there. We have the conversation every morning about how many reps he’s going to get and the answer is the same. We’re going to get through the minicamp. He’s going to continue to do what he’s been doing, do the walkthrough-type stuff, do the individual work and then once we get to training camp we think he’s going to be more ready to go.”

Romo
The Cowboys have followed the plan that was laid out after Romo underwent a discectomy last December, his second back surgery in less than 12 months. They report to Oxnard, California, for training camp on July 22 and will have their first practice July 24.

“We won’t run him up the middle drill several times,” owner and general manager Jerry Jones said, “but other than that he should be ready to do the things you’d expect him to do.”

Even though Romo has not taken a snap with the team in competitive drills, he believes the offseason has been a success. Last year Romo missed the entire offseason after having a cyst removed from his back and took part in every training camp practice.

He arrived in Southern California last summer before the Cowboys to work on his conditioning. Jones said Romo spent time, “uniquely running mountains.” Romo said he would probably go through a similar pre-training camp before reporting to camp.

“Miles ahead of last year,” Romo said of his conditioning. “I don’t think they’re comparable. I think last year I was just starting around this point so this year I’ve had whatever [number of] months to kind of get myself into feeling like I can go. Now it’s going to be more perfecting as opposed to just trying to hammer everything out in four weeks, three weeks.”
The Dallas Cowboys have done two things this offseason, add to the defensive line and to the quarterback position.

On Wednesday afternoon, the team signed Caleb Hanie to a one-year contract to become the fourth quarterback on the roster. Hanie's signing is insurance if Kyle Orton, the current No. 2, retires or forces the team to release him.

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Orton has missed the early stages of the offseason program, which started on Monday. While those programs are voluntary, the quarterback should always be at these affairs. Tony Romo, recovering from back surgery, was in full attendance at Valley Ranch on Monday and has been around the facility most of the offseason.

Financially, it just doesn't make sense for Orton to leave the Cowboys. He loses $3.2 million in base salary should he retire, and he could be forced to pay back roughly $3 million in bonuses. However, Orton might just be forced to repay $510,000, which is the signing bonus he picked up last year from a re-negotiated contract from last March.

However the financials work out, losing Orton in any way, means the team's quarterback position gets weaker behind Romo.

Orton was a solid backup and worth the money the Cowboys were paying him to support Romo. But if he's gone, the options are limited.

Brandon Weeden played two seasons in Cleveland and despite his age (30), he's still relatively young in NFL years.

Hanie, a Forney, Texas native, didn't play last season in Cleveland, yet in 2011 he went 0-4 as a starter for the Chicago Bears with three touchdown passes and nine interceptions thrown. When Romo injured his back and the Cowboys worked out a gaggle of quarterbacks last December, Hanie looked very good during his visit.

But the Cowboys went with Jon Kitna instead because he was familiar with Jason Garrett's offense.

Now, after another workout on Wednesday, Hanie looked sharp again and this time he was signed to the one-year deal.

Of course, Hanie, Weeden and Orton might not be here, if at all in 2014, should the Cowboys select a quarterback in the early rounds of next month's draft. We're not even going into the Johnny Manziel talk because it's doubtful he'll fall to No. 16 overall.

The Cowboys have greater needs for their team -- especially on defense, which finished last overall in 2013. Getting a defensive end and maybe a right tackle are priorities. Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said the offseason work, in terms of signing three defensive linemen, has prompted the team to draft for the best player available, instead of forcing to draft for a need.

Hanie gives the Cowboys flexibility as a No. 2 quarterback -- if he can beat out Weeden.

It's amazing how the Cowboys' backup quarterback, the same player, who almost beat the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2013 regular-season finale, has turned the offseason upside down with his indecision to play.

But the Cowboys made the right decision on Wednesday in getting Hanie, because there's nothing wrong with a little insurance.

Browns turn to Campbell ... again

December, 6, 2013
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Jason Campbell gave the Cleveland Browns two starts this season, two days of practice this week and seven years of mostly uninspired play coming into 2013.

It was enough for the team to make Campbell the starter for Sunday's game in New England against the Patriots.

That's where the Browns are at the quarterback position, ready to send up fireworks when a guy who struggled his last two games after splitting his previous two was back on the field. Campbell's return does mean the Browns don't have to face Bill Belichick's defense with completely untested Alex Tanney or relatively untested Caleb Hanie.

Which is something.

Campbell spoke to the media for the first time since he was hit in the head by William Gay of the Steelers in the Browns' Nov. 24 loss to Pittsburgh. He said the hit to the head caused the injury, but he did not think the play was dirty.

"He was coming in trying to hit me, and I think when I saw him at the last minute I kind of ducked down a little bit and that's when he hit me right across the face," Campbell said. "I don't think it was a dirty hit. I don't think he was trying to do it. It was just right in the middle of the action of the play."

Campbell said his symptoms included dizziness, being light-headed and an inability to look at glaring lights.

"I was quarantined for a little bit," he said.

The Auburn product was able to watch the school's win over Alabama in the Iron Bowl. He said he felt by Wednesday that he was confident he would play.

"[It's] probably the best I've felt since I had a chance to play," Campbell said.

He also admitted his injured ribs sent him to the sidelines in the Pittsburgh loss, and that he was in significant pain in the loss to Cincinnati.

The team said the ribs were not broken, so what was wrong?

"Just hurting," Campbell said.

The week of practice had the Browns scratching their heads and wondering if they would be facing the Patriots with one hand tied behind their back.

Campbell said he couldn't even try to do anything until he was symptom free, and that didn't happen until Monday.

But in a big way the Browns really only have themselves to thank for it.

It was the Browns, after all, who put Colt McCoy back into the game with a concussion after James Harrison's vicious and late hit in Pittsburgh in 2011.

Observation deck: Ravens-Rams

August, 29, 2013
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Running back Bobby Rainey made the strongest case for one of the final roster spots in the Baltimore Ravens' 24-21 loss at St. Louis in Thursday's preseason finale.

Rainey showed great determination in two first-half touchdowns, which could give him the edge over Anthony Allen and Delone Carter for the third tailback spot. In a busy night for the undrafted player out of Western Kentucky, he finished with 13 carries for 39 yards, one punt return for 16 yards, two kickoff returns for 25 yards and one special-teams tackle.

Those numbers didn't accurately reflect Rainey's toughness or the countless tackles he broke. On the first touchdown, he was stopped by the pile at the goal line but got the ball across on a second effort. On his second score, Rainey was bottled up at the 5-yard line and bounced to his left to reach the end zone.

Last season, Rainey spent the first six weeks on the practice squad before being promoted to the active roster. He was inactive for three games before going on injured reserve with a knee injury.

His scores were magnified when Allen and Carter failed to punch the ball in the end zone with carries inside the 10-yard line; Allen made it worse by fumbling at the 1. Allen and Carter combined for 3 yards on 13 carries. This will be a tough roster decision because Allen does so much on special teams, especially as the lead blocker on kickoffs.

Here are my other thoughts on the final preseason game for the Ravens, who finished 2-2:
  • The Ravens' top two draft picks were impressive. Safety Matt Elam, the first-round pick, made four first-quarter tackles and punched the ball out of Tavon Austin's grasp for a forced fumble. Linebacker Arthur Brown, the second-round pick, hit Kellen Clemens so hard that he made the Rams' backup quarterback's nose bleed and made a nice open-field tackle. The rookies both won't start right away, but these performances provide glimpses of the future.
  • There was a Tandon Doss sighting. For the first time this preseason, Doss did what the Ravens had envisioned, catching passes over the middle and beating defenders straight down the field out of the slot. He had five catches for 75 yards. But Marlon Brown didn't give up any ground in the wide receiver battle. The undrafted rookie scored on a 50-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. I will provide more thoughts on the wide receiver situation on Friday.
  • Omar Brown made the roster last year because he made big plays in the preseason. He came up big Thursday night as he looks to become the team's fourth safety. Brown forced a fumble over the middle of the field in the first quarter and nearly picked off a pass in the third quarter. The Ravens' top three safety spots are set with Elam, Michael Huff and James Ihedigbo.
  • The center battle appears to be over. Gino Gradkowski didn't play in the finale, which suggests that the Ravens didn't need to see any more from him. A.Q. Shipley started, but he hasn't done enough in the preseason to push Gradkowski for the job.
  • Joe Flacco didn't play, and Tyrod Taylor received the night off after suffering a head injury in the last preseason game. Third-stringer Caleb Hanie got to play the entire game, and it wasn't pretty. He was 20-of-39 for 272 yards, and he didn't receive much support. Hanie was pressured repeatedly and was charged with a fumble after Reggie Stephens (who also had a critical false start late in the fourth quarter) delivered a shotgun snap wide right. Hanie's final pass was intercepted in the final minute of the game.
Drew Stanton knows Bruce Arians’ system quite well from working as Andrew Luck’s backup, and could have a chance for some playing time in Arizona.

His departure to the Cardinals means the Indianapolis Colts have a new need: A No. 2 behind Luck. It's hard to envision Chandler Harnish, the last pick of last year's draft, seizing the job. He'll be learning a second offense in his second year.

The list of free-agent quarterbacks is a poor one.

Ryan Fitzpatrick was just cut in Buffalo. Jason Campbell could be a functional spot starter.

The Colts might need to pounce on one of them given the other options: Josh Johnson, Charlie Batch, Rex Grossman, Kellen Clemens, Byron Leftwich, Tyler Thigpen, David Carr, Josh McCown, Brady Quinn, Luke McCown, Caleb Hanie, Matt Leinart or Jordan Palmer.

I’m thinking the same thing you’re thinking: I sure hope Gosder Cherilus and Donald Thomas upgrade Luck’s protection, because the Colts can’t afford for him to be hurt.
The Denver Broncos’ release of linebacker D.J. Williams was merely a formality. It has been a foregone conclusion that Williams was on his way out in Denver.

Williams, a first-round pick in 2004, simply wore out his welcome. He was suspended for a total of nine games in 2012, and when he returned, he was merely a backup.

Wesley Woodyard received the chance to play full time thanks to Williams’ suspension. Williams had a solid overall career in Denver, but he had too many off–field problems for it be worthwhile to keep him.

Williams, 30, will likely get some interest around the league. Williams is very versatile, so he can play virtually any linebacker spot and could probably start for the next couple of years. A potential landing spot could be Oakland, because the Raiders need a linebacker and Williams played for Oakland coach Dennis Allen when Allen was the Broncos’ defensive coordinator in 2011. Also, Williams is from the Bay Area and could be interested in a return.

Denver also cut quarterback Caleb Hanie. Denver saved $6 million by cutting Williams and $1.5 million in cutting Hanie. The Broncos are still trying to cut back Elvis Dumervil's pay. If Dumervil doesn’t agree -- and he has been hesitating -- the pass-rusher could be released.

As for as Hanie goes, his release was expected. He was the No. 3 quarterback. The Broncos like second-year quarterback Brock Osweiler as Peyton Manning’s backup. Expect Denver to add a young, cheap No. 3 quarterback.

In other AFC West notes:

The Chiefs are reportedly interested in Seattle’s Jason Jones. He’d probably play inside in a 3-4 defense and be a rotational player.

Beanie Wells, cut by Arizona on Monday, fits the Chargers' mold for a running back. But I’m not sure we’d see a Ken Whisenhunt-Wells reunion.

Pregame thoughts from Denver

January, 12, 2013
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DENVER -- There are no surprises on Denver’s inactive list for Saturday’s AFC divisional playoff game against Baltimore.

Here are Denver’s inactives: Tracy Porter, Andre Caldwell, C.J. Davis, Chris Gronkowski, Caleb Hanie, Sealver Siliga and Julius Thomas. Porter is the most important injured player of the group. He has a concussion. Denver is remarkably healthy going into this game.

Here are Baltimore’s inactive: Deonte Thompson, David Reed, Ramon Harewood, Chris Johnson, Bryan Hall, Omar Brown and Adrian Hamilton.

As expected, it is quite chilly here. But the skies are clearing up, and it is not as gloomy as it was a couple of hours ago when it was snowing lightly. The field is in good condition.

I think here is a chance the game will be played in dry conditions, although there are reports that the wind-chill factor might be near zero late in the game.

Denver Broncos cut-down analysis

August, 31, 2012
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Click here for the complete list of Denver Broncos' roster moves.

Most significant move: The Broncos kept newly signed veterans, linebacker Keith Brooking and safety Jim Leonhard. They have both been dealing with injuries. Both should fill rotational roles as well as offer leadership. It is a bit surprising Denver cut veteran cornerback Drayton Florence. The Broncos beat several teams to sign Florence this year. In the end, the Broncos liked their young cornerbacks such as Chris Harris, Tony Carter and rookie Omar Bolden. Watch for San Diego to make a full-court press to sign Florence. The team tried to sign the former Charger before Denver signed him and it needs a cornerback.

Onward and upward: Two interesting players who were kept in Denver were running back Knowshon Moreno and tight end Julius Thomas. Moreno, a first-round pick in 2009, had a decent preseason after coming back from an ACL. There was speculation he could be traded. But Moreno will be given a chance to help Denver off the bench. Thomas, a fourth-round pick last year, was considered on the bubble. But the former college basketball player turned NFL player will get more time to develop. The Broncos will likely try to sign Ben Garland to the practice squad. The defensive tackle from Air Force has a lot of promise and the team loves his spirit. I could potentially see quarterback Adam Weber being put on the practice squad again. Denver likes him. He is not going to leapfrog backup Caleb Hanie or No. 3 quarterback, second-round pick Brock Osweiler, but Denver may want him to stick around.

What’s next: The Broncos will likely look for linebackers. They are young and thin there, especially on the outside with D.J. Williams facing, at least, a six-game NFL suspension. Denver will likely look for experienced veterans, who could, at least, log some situational time on defense. Denver did keep undrafted rookie Steven Johnson. He was a preseason star and he should help on special teams, so the need for more linebacker help is still necessary. I could see Denver being interested in defensive players regardless of the position if they are the right fit and I think it can look for help on the offensive line as well. Expect Denver to make, at least, a couple of moves in the next couple of days.

Observation deck: Broncos-49ers

August, 26, 2012
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A look at the Broncos’ 29-24 home loss Sunday:

Earlier we looked at the great, but short, outing by Denver quarterback Peyton Manning.

Here are other thoughts: Starting receiver Eric Decker looked good against a strong defense as he had two touchdown catches from Manning. Decker is a competitor who fights for everything he gets.

Backup Caleb Hanie had his moments but ended up 8-of-12 passing for 92 yards. Expect Hanie to start the season as Manning’s backup while rookie Brock Osweiler continues to develop.

Denver’s first-team defense looked active and strong early in the game aside from a few big plays for the 49ers.

Denver kicker Matt Prater nailed a 53-yard field goal.

Denver’s reserves did not look good for the second consecutive game -- the second consecutive game in which the Broncos didn't score in the second half. Depth is necessary, so the team might need some bottom-of-the-roster tweaking.

Denver running back Knowshon Moreno looked decent. At this point, I think, he has a good shot to make the 53-man roster.

Denver was penalized eight times for 81 yards. Not ideal.

It was extremely hot on the field, which will benefit both teams when they play in the early-season heat.

Manning’s preseason line: 30-of-42, 343 yards, two touchdowns, three interceptions and a quarterback rating of 96.9. That’s nice work other than the picks.

Denver undrafted rookie linebacker Steven Johnson continued to look good and he has a real chance to make the 53-man roster.
A look at Denver's 30-10 home loss against Seattle on Saturday night:

For Peyton Manning, statistics really don’t matter this summer.

It’s all about getting ready for the regular season and shaking off the rust.

Sure, the quarterback threw two interceptions Saturday against the Seahawks. He has three interceptions in about three quarters this summer.

I’m sure Manning will take throwing three interceptions in a game that doesn't matter after enduring multiple neck surgeries last year.

As a whole, Manning looked sharp and showed good arm strength as he played the entire first half and completed 16 of 23 passes for 177 yards. He even took his first hit since his injury. He quickly got up.

Manning will likely play well into the third quarter next week against San Francisco in what should be his final preseason tune-up. Again, Manning is making great progress as he continues to pass tests on his way back from his devastating injury.

Through the first half Saturday, the Broncos defense had held opponents to 2 of 19 on third-down conversations. That’s a trend you want to see.

Defensive lineman Derek Wolfe, a second-round draft pick, had another strong performance.

Running back Lance Ball continued to make a push for a roster spot.

Rookie Brock Osweiler replaced Manning. His first two series were three-and-outs, but it is a sign that Denver could be looking to Osweiler over Caleb Hanie as Manning's backup.

Safety David Bruton was a beast on special teams, which will help make a roster claim.
Reviewing Thursday's action at Soldier Field:

Denver Broncos 31, Chicago Bears 3

Preseason record: 0-1

Of interest: Heavy storms probably contributed to the Bears' decision to hold out quarterback Jay Cutler, tailback Matt Forte and defensive end Julius Peppers. … Linebacker Brian Urlacher reportedly was not at Soldier Field, and overall the Bears had a forgettable night. … Left tackle J'Marcus Webb can't feel too comfortable after being left on the field into the fourth quarter, long after the rest of the starting line had completed its work. Webb is young and could use the work, but he was probably also on the receiving end of a message sent to reinforce that he has not yet officially won the starting spot. (There are just no other candidates at the moment.) … Rookie Shea McClellin showed up with a sack of former Bears quarterback Caleb Hanie, who is now the Broncos' backup. … Nickelback D.J. Moore was on point, tipping away a Peyton Manning pass near the goal line so that safety Major Wright could make a score-saving interception. Wright later left with a hamstring injury, an event concerning not for its severity but because he has a history of middling injuries that dig into his playing time and progress. … Rookie receiver Alshon Jeffery led the team with four receptions. … As for Urlacher, Bears general manager Phil Emery told the team's flagship radio station that his knee needs rest and that he will rejoin the team soon. Emery offered no other details of Urlacher's condition, nor did he say if it is related to his recent leave from the team.

Local coverage (in lieu of BBAO): If Emery is telling the truth, writes Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com, Urlacher should return to training camp sometime this weekend. … The people who paid $76 per ticket for Thursday's game have a right to feel taken advantage of, writes Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune. … McClellin, via ESPNChicago.com: "I had fun. It's a start. You know I definitely have a lot of learning to do. Overall, it was good. It was a little bit faster than we've been practicing. When you get into the game, it's always faster than normal, but as it went along I kind of got into it and felt good. You know, like I said, there is a lot of stuff I can work on and get better at. But the sack felt good. It's always good to get a sack, no matter what kind it is, because it boosts your confidence a bit. After that you can kind of relax and just go out and play." … McClellin struggled versus the run, according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. … The decision not to play Cutler reminded Melissa Isaacson of ESPNChicago.com that the Bears have a legitimate backup in Jason Campbell. Isaacson: "So astounding is it that for the first time, well, ever, that the Bears have a solid backup quarterback behind a potentially exceptional starter, you're almost skeptical."

Up next: Saturday, Aug. 18 vs. Washington Redskins

Observation deck: Broncos-Bears

August, 9, 2012
8/09/12
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A look at the Broncos’ 31-3 road win Thursday night:

Yes, Peyton Manning's first game action in 19 months ended with an interception near the goal line.

However, there is no other way to slice it -- Manning’s Denver Broncos debut was a success.

"He was remarkable," Denver coach John Fox said in halftime quotes distributed by the team. "He came back -- he’s worked very hard. He hasn’t played football in [almost] two years. I thought it was a good first drive in these conditions -- it was sloppy. It was sloppy by the receivers as far as the conditions but I thought it was a very good first outing."

On a rainy night in Chicago, Manning, who missed all of last season with a neck injury, completed 4 of 7 passes for 44 yards. He had a dropped pass and his interception came from a deflection of a pass intended for Brandon Stokley on what could have been a touchdown. I’m sure Manning and the Broncos will live with his first preseason game ending on a deflected interception.

Manning looked crisp and he led the offense at a fast tempo. He showed his patented anticipation and accuracy on a 19-yard bullet to Eric Decker on third-and-17.

This is a work in progress and the Broncos have to be pleased with the first step.

Meanwhile, it was a strong overall night from the Broncos. Denver looked pretty good.

Defensive lineman Derek Wolfe, a second-round pick, was a stud. He had two sacks. He has been outstanding in the training camp and he was just as aggressive against the Bears.

Overall, Denver’s defense looked good. It was aggressive and made a lot of plays on every layer of the defense.

Second-round pick Brock Osweiler looked comfortable at quarterback, completing 4 of 7 passes for 38 yards. Caleb Hanie was OK, but I can see Osweiler pushing him for the No. 2 job at some point this year.

Overall, this was a good first night for Manning and his new team.
Thoughts after noting that the San Francisco 49ers' Colin Kaepernick has gone from undisputed No. 2 quarterback as a rookie in 2011 to fighting for the role on equal footing with two others:
  • Going from second to third on the depth chart would look like a regression for Kaepernick, but it might not mean much for the long term. Circumstances have changed. Alex Smith outperformed expectations last season, earning a new contract and tightening his grip on the starting position. The team signed Josh Johnson, Harbaugh's former quarterback at the University of San Diego. Scott Tolzien, another passer the 49ers liked coming out of college, has gained some seasoning.
  • Kaepernick was facing a significant transition from the system he ran in college. His development was going to take time. It'll be good for him to get extensive reps in the preseason, but Johnson will need playing time, too. The goal, of course, is to upgrade the quarterback position, not make sure Kaepernick appears instantly worthy of the second-round choice San Francisco used to select him. As coach Jim Harbaugh said on the day the 49ers drafted Kaepernick: "We believe in competition. We believe in earning positions around here."
  • The 49ers ideally would have found competition for Kaepernick last offseason. A lockout-shortened signing period complicated those efforts. That cleared the way for Kaepernick to land the No. 2 job unopposed. The 49ers got away with having an inexperienced backup when Smith started all 16 games, plus two playoff games, without encountering the injury problems that sidelined him in past seasons.
  • There's no precedent for developing quarterbacks drafted in second rounds. Each situation has its own dynamics. A year ago, developing Kaepernick on a fast schedule seemed important. Those still skeptical of Smith might feel that way yet. But Johnson, with more experience than Kaepernick, might be better prepared to take over a playoff-caliber team on short notice, should Smith struggle or suffer an injury. It's up to Kaepernick to prove otherwise.

As the chart shows, five of the nine second-round quarterbacks drafted from 2007 to 2011 were third-stringers or had been released heading into their second regular seasons. Chad Henne and Kevin Kolb were second string. Andy Dalton remains a starter heading into his second year. Brock Osweiler, a second-rounder in Denver this year, hasn't had a second season, obviously.

Broncos: Backup QB plan

June, 6, 2012
6/06/12
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NFC Backup QBs: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Assessing the Broncos’ backup QB situation if Peyton Manning is injured and misses time.

Caleb Hanie was a bust in Chicago, but the Broncos believe he fits their system and he can be a solid backup to Manning this year. He is big and strong and has some skill. Yet, he was a disaster last season in Chicago when Jay Cutler went down. He was 0-4 as a starter. He is in an interesting position because Manning has to prove he is healed from a neck injury that cost him the entire 2011 season. If Manning can’t come back, the Broncos will be banking on Hanie early. It’s a major risk. The Broncos drafted long-term prospect Brock Osweiler, but the team doesn’t plan on him being a No. 2 this early in his career.

Confidence rating (out of 100) if Manning goes out for an extended period: 30.

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