In the midst of a four-game slide, the Chicago Bears made about the only move they coulod Wednesday when they announced Josh McCown will start Sunday night at Lambeau Field, pulling the plug on backup quarterback Caleb Hanie.
Hanie struggled mightily in four starts since Jay Cutler suffered a fractured right thumb in a Nov. 20 victory over the San Diego Chargers. The Bears haven’t won since and what looked like a promising season now might not even end with a .500 record.
McCown, signed Nov. 23 after the Bears failed to land Kyle Orton in waivers from the Denver Broncos, has not started an NFL game since 2007 when he was a member of the Oakland Raiders.
“It’s not ideal,” McCown said. “For anybody in any offense, it’s not ideal to come in this late. But at the same time, like I said, as a competitor and you understand where the other guys are at is you’ve got to get yourself up to speed and get ready to play. Everybody expects you just to go play and play well, and that’s the expectation for myself also, just to go out and do things to help us win a football game. If I keep looking back and saying, ‘I only got here six weeks ago,’ then it becomes an excuse and you leave an area for you not to play well because you’re leaving something to fall back on. I’m trying to refuse to do that and just say, ‘You have to play well. The team’s depending on you.’ That’s my stance.”
The Bears didn’t offer much of the way in explanations for the struggles of Hanie, who is in his fourth season. His passer rating is a dreadful 41.8 and he’s thrown three touchdowns and nine interceptions, the last two returned for touchdowns in a 38-14 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday at Soldier Field.
“We just felt like we needed a boost,” Smith said. “Caleb had played four games. I felt like that was enough to prove who you are and if you could help our team win. No more than that.”
Why didn’t Hanie work out?
“Oh, I’m not sure,” offensive coordinator Mike Martz said. “I think there are probably some reasons, none of which … those are all things that we have to look back at and reflect and make sure that we spend time going over that with Caleb, make sure that we can fix that.”
Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs
Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune