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November 21, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Jeff Dickerson, Michael Wright

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:01 PM)

Just another quiet day at Halas Hall. Anything going on?

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Do you think that the Chicago Bears will make the Playoffs this season?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:03 PM)

I still believe the Bears can make the playoffs and beat teams like Denver, Kansas City, Seattle and Minnesota if Caleb Hanie is the starting QB. Not saying it's a guarantee, but the possibility does exist.

Sean (Chicago)

Here is a crazy one for you...Any shot the Bears take a look at Favre? It would be interesting considering the game against the Packers at Lambeau.

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:04 PM)

Don't believe Favre is in the mix.

DelawareBear (Wilmington, DE)

Was Chris Spencer injured during yesterday's game? I saw Omiyale come in - what's Spencer's status?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:06 PM)

Spencer missed only one play and finished the game. I'm sure Spencer is sore today, but haven't heard anything about the injury being serious. Bears offensive line cannot afford to suffer any more injuries.

vinnie (enfield,ct.)

whats the chances the bears look at kurt warner or marc bulgar as a cutler replacement,though i like hannie.

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:07 PM)

Warner alreay ruled himself out. Bulger told reporters back in the summer that he was done with football. The Colts try to lure him out of retirement in September without any luck. Not sure how close Bulger and Martz are. Guess I would say Bulger coming to the Chicago would be a surprise.

Bill M (The Loop)

With a majority of questions obviously being focused on the QB situation, I was wondering what your thoughts were on the Bear's secondary last night. While the yards given up were troubling, I think they came up big in the right moments with INTs and some good defensive stands. Do you think Conte and Wright can continue to be consistent down the stretch and (possibly) into the playoffs?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:09 PM)

Really pleased with the secondary. Vincent Jackson is a beast, so I can't kill Charles Tillman about yesterday. But Major Wright and Corey Graham came up with picks, Meriweather did an okay job and Bowman helped out in certain situations. All in all, I think the secondary has improved as much as any unit on the team since earlier in the year, and that includes the offensive line.

raz (north dakota)

With the loss of Patrick Mannelly, do you think the Bears will sign another specialist or will Clutts continue to handle that job? I think our special teams is going to be vital going forward w/out Jay.

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:11 PM)

Bears are looking to add another long snapper and I'm sure will work out a few players tomorrow. Clutts can do the job, but he already has a lot on his plate. But we'll see if they can find the right guy. If not, they'll go with Clutts vs. Oakland.

Clay (Minnesota)

How much of a difference will it make for the Bears if Cutler is back week 16 or 17? The Bears website says the team is hoping he can be back before the end of the regular season. Will it help the Bears out if he's back before the playoffs?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:12 PM)

In a perfect world, you'd like to see Cutler start at least one game before the postseason begins. But let's just see how it goes. He won't be back for an extended period of time. Just because Bears are hopeful Cutler will be back before end of regular season doesn't mean it's a slam dunk to happen. For right now, it's Hanie time.

Noah Dupes (Plainfield ,IL)

Obviously the bears are going to have a let off since cutlers hurt, but are they still the top NFC wildcard team with Hennie?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:15 PM)

Oh god, with Chad Henne? They wouldn't stand a chance! Just kidding Noah. Let's put it this way; the Bears remain very much in the Wildcard picture with Caleb Hanie as the No. 1 QB. I think that's fair.

Johnny (VA)

Think Knox will be back next season? He cant run routes to save his life. I know slipping wasn't totally his fault but he tried pivoting before planting his foot, which lead to Cutlers INT. He is the same player as Hester IMO. How can we get Brandon Marshall?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:16 PM)

Knox is under contract through 2012, so yes, I assume he'll be back next year. You have to give him credit for that TD catch yesterday, it was pretty sweet.

Don (Great Lakes, IL)

Will they sign a veteran QB to possibly start or just roll dice with Haine?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:18 PM)

Sounds like Bears are looking to sign another QB with experience to back-up Hanie.

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:19 PM)

Bears just waived DE Mario Addison. Now gives them two open roster spots (Mannelly to IR) to sign another QB and long snapper.

Jeff (Norcal)

What is going to be Oaklands game plan against us this week? How will they try to exploit us? Thanks!!

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:21 PM)

I assume Raiders will blitz the heck out of Hanie and try to rattle him.

Dom (Atlanta)

Who's call is it to decide on bringing in another QB? Martz?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:21 PM)

Martz has a lot of imput on the subject. But Angelo also has to sign off on it.



Jeff Dickerson
  (2:23 PM)

Hanie has thrown a lot of passes the last few years in practice to Earl Bennett and Knox. I believe they will be his main targets. Not sure how comfortable Hanie is with Roy Williams.

Jake (Somewhere)

JD, the Bears are doomed. Granted our defense has played well, but we are OLD. How much can the defense with stand the punsishement of other teams when Caleb throws a pick or two?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:25 PM)

Nah. They're not doomed per say. Obviously, Hanie isn't Cutler, but he can still make plays. It's not Todd Collins for the love of God!

Izzy (Chicago)

is bulger a real possibility?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:27 PM)

I'm sure the Bears would love Marc Bulger. But does he want to come out of retirement and give it one more shot? I just don't know that answer.

Mike (Warrenville)

What possible veteran QB's are out there ?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:30 PM)

Bulger, Jeff Garcia, Trent Edwards, Kellen Clemens, Brodie Croyle, Josh McCown, J.T. O'Sullivan, Jeff George (ha ha).

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:30 PM)

Thank you everybody. Mike is up next. Be on tonight with J Hood from 7-10 pm on ESPN 1000.

  (2:34 PM)

Hello everyone. We're beating the bushes like crazy trying to see if a quarterback will fall out. But I'll take a break from that to chat with you guys. Let's roll.

mario (eagle pas tex)

how many games do you "really" believe will caleb win?

  (2:38 PM)

Mario, I "really" think the Bears have a legit shot with Caleb Hanie at quarterback. The schedule sets up pretty nicely, and the toughest game in my mind before the Dec. 25 game at Green Bay is Sunday's matchup against the Oakland Raiders. If Hanie can move the chains when needed, the Bears can just rely on the running game, great defense, and strong special teams. All hope isn't lost. I've got a feeling that's not gonna be the first time in this half hour I type that.

Jay (Chicago)

It's too bad Johnny Jolly is in the clink now. The Bears could just sign him as a WR and Hanie would strive.

  (2:38 PM)

That's cold, Jay.

  (2:38 PM)

That's cold, Jay.

Melvin (North Carolina)

Mike, Are fans of every NFL team as pessimistic and critical as Chicago Bears Fans? From my perspective, Angelo and Lovie's run over the last 8 years has yielded the best results we've seen since the 80's and 60's. Why the lack of perspective and appreciation?

  (2:40 PM)

Melvin, as you know, football is a very emotional game. Cutler's injury definitely hurt a lot of folks, nationally. I don't think the pessimistic outlook comes from lack of perspective or appreciation. To me, it's about living in the moment. And at this very moment, I can understand why fans don't have an optimistic outlook.

Buckley (Chitown)

Is this somehow Martz's fault for putting his QB's in harms way? Cutler was standing back there with a target on his back. We might was well nicknamed him "Target".

  (2:41 PM)

C'mon, Buckley. Mike Martz isn't at fault for this. It's simple: it's football. Injuries occur at every position in every game. It's no more than that. Let's stop all the conspiracy theories because they don't go any of you guys any good.

Danny (Wisconsin)

Do you think with all the injuries on the o-line, that the bears will try and bolster the line in the offseason or do u think the d will be more if a focus?

  (2:42 PM)

I think they'll do more with the offensive line than the defense. But the defense will definitely need a "reloading."

MAN1MAL (Chicago)

MW- not sure if this has been mentioned yet. But you nailed the score to Sundays game. Nice call!

  (2:42 PM)

Did I?

geoff (VA)

Hanie has a huge arm, and no film study for the other devenses. Do you think Martz will air it out or shift to a ground and pound with Forte/Barber?

  (2:44 PM)

Geoff, I don't see Martz changing much from what they were doing with Cutler in the fold. If you remember, even with Cutler, the Bears eliminated some of the deeper passes because they wanted to get the ball out of his hands a little quicker. I see the Bears leaning on the ground game, for sure. But they were already doing that even with Cutler in the fold. I think the Bears will try to find a way to take advantage of Hanie's mobility. He's a tad more mobile in my opinion than Cutler.

Marco (Chicagoland)

Michael, can you please give us a scouting report on Caleb Hanie? You have seen so much more of him than the common fan.

  (2:48 PM)

Marco, I like Hanie's moxie most of all. You won't see him lighting it up during practice against the scout team because he's a guy that turns it on once the lights are bright. Against the Packers in the NFC championship, Hanie came in cold. He didn't take any practice reps during he week because Todd Collins was the No. 2 QB. But when Hanie entered the game, he sparked the offense, leading them to a couple of scoring drives before the INT to B.J. Raji. Hanie doesn't have as big of an arm as Cutler, but I'd say he does a little bit better job of anticipating throws. Cutler relied a little more on that big arm, and threw to the receivers once they broke open. Hanie throws before the receivers make their breaks to the spot their supposed to be in. I actually think you'll see the offense move a little more like a "Martz" offense with Hanie under center, believe it or not.

Tim (Libertyville)

When do you think we will know more about the timetable for Cutler's return? Is that something the doctors will know after they do the procedure?

  (2:49 PM)

Tim, I don't think we'll ever know "officially." All we'll know is what our sources tell us. The Bears are very evasive about injuries, and they don't deny that. They feel it's a competitive disadvantage to disclose injuries.

Danny (Wisconsin)

Did you notice how poorly hanie performed in the preseason, are all those picks going to be something we have to get use to, or do you think he can play with a low turnover numbers?

  (2:50 PM)

Danny, we definitely noticed the interceptions. Caleb Hanie does have a tendency to be a bit of a gunslinger in that respect. But I don't think the Bears feel that's "something we have to get used to." I don't think the Bears will tolerate all the turnovers. So Hanie will have to cut down on those, or the Bears won't hesitate to go another direction.

Mike (Warrenville)

Hey Mike, Where is David garrard these days ? What kind of fill in at QB would he make and is he even a possibility ?

  (2:53 PM)

Not a possibility at this point because he's just starting rehab from back surgery. We exchanged text messages last night. Garrard said that surgery was perfect, but he was slowed by back spasms for 9 days in the two weeks after the surgery, which caused him to start rehab later than he wanted. Garrard said he feels much better now, but is basically just starting basic core work. Garrard thinks it'll be at least three weeks before he's able to take any contact.

Nick (OB)

Don't these clowns reralize that this isn't Madden and you can't just pick up a QB and things will move seamlessley? Hanie gives us the best chance right now because he's familiar with the system.

  (2:54 PM)

They're not clowns, Nick. But I agree with you. It's tough for a new quarterback to come in and play well.

Scooter (Peoria)

Does Forte have any nicknames? Like Turbo, Scooter, The Thief, Flash, Shades, Sponge, etc.?

  (2:55 PM)

Not that I know of, but Maurice Jones-Drew says he speaks like Prince.

Nathan (DC)

Do we know if Cutler injured his thumb on the INT hit, or on that other play that ESPN kept showing this morning?

  (2:57 PM)

The coaches and the players are saying the injury happened on the interception. So I'm gonna take their words for it.

Rob (Outside)

Thoughts on Roy Williams performance? Is it time to remove his picture for the milk carton yet?

  (2:58 PM)

Yep, Rob. Time to take it off. Roy Williams put together a nice performance. The key though is to do more of it moving forward to help out Caleb Hanie. Williams didn't have a catch the week before against Detroit. So it was nice to see him step up and have a season high in receptions.

Jim (Loyola)

Hey Michael, do you think Cutler could make a comeback during the wild card game of the playoffs? It would be pretty ironic.

  (2:59 PM)

That's what Lovie Smith is saying. Actually, the coach said that Cutler would be back before the end of the regular season. I think he's thinking of it from the perspective of a best case scenario. If you remember, the Bears expected to have Gabe Carimi back pretty quickly, and we saw how that panned out. A source told me last night that he'd be out the rest of the regular season at a minimum. So we'll see.

Oliver (Lincoln)

If you had to coach this Sunday regardless of which team we are talking about who would you rather have under center Hanie or Lienart?

  (3:00 PM)

Oliver, gimme Hanie. Lefties throw like girls.

Woody (Chicago )

Do you think Martz will pull out his bag of tricks these next couple of weeks...(i.e. nfc championship game bennett reverse)

  (3:00 PM)

Is that what you want, Woody? Please tell me you're kidding.

Shane (Florida)

If you had to pick right now of the 6 remaining games, which games can Caleb Hanie reasonably win at this point?

  (3:01 PM)

Oakland, Kansas City, Denver, Seattle and Minnesota. What's that, five more wins? How do you guys say it, "Bear Down?"

  (3:02 PM)

Whew, this chat went by quickly. Guys that's my time. But I appreciate you stopping by to chat. Please remember that the season is far from over. Have faith in Caleb Hanie until he proves otherwise. Y'all be cool.