Statistically, Caleb Hanie set the standard for Bears backup quarterbacks in the Jay Cutler era when he torched the Denver Broncos for 115 yards without throwing an interception for a 79.9 passer rating in a 13-10 overtime loss last year.
That’s how bad Bears backups have been since they acquired Jay Cutler.
Not even the 2-5 record of Cutler replacements does the discouraging scenario any justice. Hanie, Josh McCown and Todd Collins combined to throw five touchdown passes and 16 interceptions for a combined passer rating of 42.7. Collins has one of the two victories, a 23-6 rout of the Carolina Panthers, when he was 6-of-16 for 32 yards, no touchdowns and four interceptions.
Hanie was 0-4 as a replacement for Cutler last year. He threw three touchdowns but gave almost as many back — two of his nine interceptions were returned for touchdowns against the Seahawks. One against the Raiders was returned 73 yards to the Bears 6-yard line, not only killing a Bears’ scoring opportunity, but setting up the Raiders for a demoralizing field goal at the end of the first half.
”We didn’t handle last year well. It’s documented that we didn’t,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said when asked if the team is more confident with Campbell starting than it was with Hanie last year.
”That’s why we went out and felt like we upgraded the position. I know the guys have a lot of confidence in Jason. He’s played a lot of football. Started a lot of games. Yeah, we’re hopeful. That’s why we can’t wait to get to this game. Injuries happen and we’ll see exactly where we are. But we think we’re going to be OK.”
Campbell, who began last season as the Raiders’ starting quarterback, was recovering from a shoulder injury that ended his season after six games. He did not play against the Bears, but he was there.
”Last season I remember,” Campbell said Friday. ”I was with Oakland, similar situation; we were having a winning season, I broke my collarbone, Chicago came to play us and I was at that game. It was pretty much a field-goal blast that it came down to.
“So I understand the importance of it but at the same time it comes in a quarter that is the tough part of our season. I understand a year ago what happened but at the same time I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do within the system, different football team.”