I was never a fan of the Good Rex/Bad Rex chatter that surrounded former Bears QB Rex Grossman. I found that it seemed like lazy reporting after a while, like a sturdy crutch for every reporter or analyst in the media. Worst of all, is they’re still using it with Grossman playing in Washington. Lazy. I get the point, with an inconsistent QB sometimes they’re good and sometimes bad, but at some point enough should be enough. I really hope the Chicago media won’t pick up on the theme when describing Caleb Hanie’s play these next few weeks, but after his performance on Sunday I fear they may be itching to do so.
Hanie had an up and down debut in Oakland in the Bears 25-20 loss. At times he played exactly like a quarterback making his first NFL start, and at times he played like a 4 year veteran should play. I’m optimistic to see his growth the next few weeks, as I think he’ll learn from his mistakes, and his positives are something to build on.
For the game he was 18-36 for 254 yards, 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Three really bad interceptions. The first pick was one he should have just thrown the ball out of bounds, the second pick he tried to get to fine with the placement of the ball and it led to him floating the ball over the middle, and that 3rd pick… Yuck. Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz is taking some heat by Bears fans about the playcall, but I don’t have a problem with it.
At the end of the day, it’s on the players to execute the plays, and had Hanie thrown the pass in the dirt no one would even be talking about the play call, they’d be talking about the heady play he made throwing the ball away. All three of his interceptions came in the 1st half, his numbers before the half were 7 of 15, 72 yards, 1 TD and all 3 Ints.
His TD throw to Johnny Knox in the first half was a beautiful play. The Raiders blitzed and Hanie calmly hit Knox out of the slot, knowing he’d be open with the blitz on. He showed good awareness on his read, and good composure with the throw.
He made better decisions with the ball in the 2nd half. His numbers after the half were 11-21, for 182 yards and 1 TD, including a 107.4 QB rating in the 4th quarter. The long 81 yard bomb to Knox obviously helped his numbers, but that pass was pretty. It was a deep throw on the money and only his guy had a chance at the grab. He made some good throws in the hurry up, although to be fair, the Raiders were playing a soft zone in the middle. It was unfortunate that the final play he left us with was the boneheaded should I spike it, check my receivers, now I’ll spike it, intentional grounding play… Double Yuck.
Hanie will prove he’s a quality back up in the league, and as a free agent to be, he’s auditioning for the 31 other teams. He’s the 1st NFL QB since Rich Gannon way back in 1990 to throw for more than 250 yards and have 50 yards rushing in his 1st career start. He performed well for his 1st start and I’m excited to see him grow up as a quarterback.