NEW ORLEANS – Bears coach Lovie Smith said he’s comfortable with Caleb Hanie as his No. 2 quarterback but would not rule out adding another player at the position.
“There’s a lot of things that come into play. If there’s another quarterback that we feel like fits what we’re trying to do – whether that’s a veteran or a college quarterback right now – you cross that later on,” Smith said. “We’re not actually there yet.
“We just know that we love Jay Cutler as our starter, and we really like Caleb Hanie.”
Smith explained why Hanie was the third-string quarterback for most of the season, behind veteran Todd Collins, who struggled in each of his appearances.
“It’s based on what you’ve seen over a period of time. It’s based on the classroom, the game, and practice. There are a lot of factors, that come into play,” Smith said, noting that neither player got many looks because starter Jay Cutler took the bulk of the snaps at the position.
“And to me, whether it’s two or three, that doesn’t really matter an awful lot, because, eventually, if two can’t do it, three will get his opportunity right away, which happened,” Smith said. “Now, you don’t have to wonder about a veteran player.”
Smith said he had no problem with the NFC title game, when Collins played two series and failed to complete any of his four pass attempts. Hanie then entered the game late in the third quarter then rallied the Bears in a 21-14 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
“I liked the way it played out in the last game. We got a chance to see our veteran quarterback in Todd – didn’t think he was getting the job done – and went to Caleb,” Smith said. “We had the ball at the end of the game, to at least tie the game. So, I have no problem with how it worked out.”
Hanie finished 13 of 20 for 153 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.