Veteran backup QB nice idea in Chicago, but …

To sign a veteran quarterback or not sign a veteran quarterback.

There is a healthy debate in Chicago these days about whether or not the Bears should make a move to find someone with real experience to have behind Jay Cutler this coming season. Never mind the fact that Cutler has no history of injuries, and made it through 2009 unscathed.

Currently, the Bears have Caleb Hanie, an undrafted product from Colorado State in 2008 who they have liked enough to have around for the past two years, Brett Basanez and sixth-round pick Dan LeFevour. That’s one more than the team is going to need this season and adding a veteran would likely mean the subtraction of two from that group.

The Bears went with only two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster for the first 16 weeks last season before promoting Basanez, a Northwestern product, from the practice squad in the final week.

Two names that have been mentioned most prominently with the Bears are Marc Bulger and Josh McCown. Bulger took the reins to the Greatest Show on Turf in St. Louis after the departure of Kurt Warner when Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz was the head coach there. McCown played under Martz in Detroit.

Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune presented two interesting statistics when it comes to backup quarterbacks though:

For starters, when teams started a quarterback other than their primary one, struggled. Big time. They finished 17-48, winning only 26 percent of the time. The point Pompei makes is that when a club turns to its No. 2 quarterback, it’s in trouble.

Second, and maybe more surprising, is the fact that only 10 teams last season had a backup who had more than one season of previous starting experience in the league. The point is, an experienced backup quarterback is more of a nice theory than it is practical reality.

Also, practically speaking, the Bears don’t make a lot of sense for Bulger, a former Pro Bowl quarterback. He wants to prove he’s still starter material and while he may be ready to hold a clipboard in another city behind a starter less entrenched than Cutler knowing his chance could come, what’s the appeal to Chicago?

Bears general manager Jerry Angelo has a strong track record of sticking with draft picks, so figure LeFevour makes it. The team liked Hanie last season, probably enough for him to remain.

Do you really think a quarterback who has played in the system is going to get Cutler’s ear while elements of the offense are being stalled, anyway?

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