Lovie Smith not ready to announce a QB change just yet

Caleb Hanie struggled in his fourth consecutive start as the replacement for Jay Cutler, but Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith wasn’t ready to announce a quarterback change on Monday.

The Bears (7-7) have nearly been eliminated from postseason contention, and Hanie and the rest of the offense has been dreadful for the last month. He’s posted a 41.8 passer rating and the offense has produced just two touchdowns in the last 188 minutes.

The Bears led the Seattle Seahawks 14-7 at halftime on Sunday at Soldier Field before surrendering 31 unanswered points. Hanie was intercepted in the end zone during the first half and had two picks returned for touchdowns in the second half before he was benched with five minutes to play and replaced by Josh McCown, who was signed last month. McCown and rookie fifth-round pick Nathan Enderle are the only options right now with Cutler still on the shelf.

“Right now, Caleb Hanie is our starting quarterback,” Smith said. “He played yesterday, we finished up, we felt like we needed a boost, we needed to change the course a little bit yesterday. But we do that with all players. None of those decisions (for Sunday’s game at Green Bay) have been made.”

The Bears have been stung by ineffective play from their No. 2 quarterbacks for two seasons now. Todd Collins was awful in a start last season and as a replacement for Cutler in the NFC Championship Game. When Hanie replaced him in the fourth quarter of that game, he led the offense on two touchdown drives.

“That’s tough to prepare for a No. 2 quarterback,” Smith said. “You have to have the right player in that position as much as anything. But as far as preparing him, you prepare the No. 1 guy and you do what you can with the No. 2 guy. And it just doesn’t start during the season. You are doing that for the offseason. How do you prepare him? It’s hard to give the backup quarterback or the third quarterback a lot of work, you just hope you have the right guy in that position.”

The Bears have to know they don’t have the right guy.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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