In 2011, Hanie appeared in 6 games for the Bears, starting 4 games in Cutler’s place. He went 51 of 102 for 613 yards with 3 TD’s and 9 INT’s. The Bears went 0-4 with very winnable games to derail another season. In fact, that season brought Josh McCown to the Bears where he was pressed into action the last two games of the season as the overmatched Hanie was benched.
Hanie benefited from the element of surprise against the Packers in the NFC CG. They didn’t know what to expect from him and hadn’t prepared for him. His plucky performance gave the Bears false hope. I’m not saying that McCown is just like Caleb Hanie, because the comparisons are few and the differences are clear, but like Hanie, McCown benefited from the element of surprise. A lot of Redskins admitted that they didn’t even know who the Bears backup was.
McCown is an experienced vet who’s been around the block a few times, so he’s a solid choice for game manager. He has a chance to keep the Bears offense afloat, regardless of how long it takes Cutler to hurry back from his torn groin, but he’s not going to replace Jay Cutler. He’ll be the first one to tell you that.
As you’re reading this, the Green Bay Packers are studying tape of McCown not only from last week’s Redskins game but McCown’s 2011 performance against them and putting together a game plan specific to stopping him. They’ll look for trends, weaknesses, strengths and scheme to shut him down. He doesn’t get the element of surprise.
“But Boomer, the Bears offense is better in 2013 than is was in 2011. We have Marc Trestman, real weapons and an improved offensive line,” you’re thinking to yourself. Yes, those points are all true, but is McCown, a journeyman career backup who was coaching high school football when the Bears called in 2011, good enough to take advantage of those possible benefits when teams have had time to prepare for him? Is Marc Trestman’s offense ‘Cutler-proof,’ that is, not relying on Cutler to run effectively? Those are the questions we’re going to answer a week from Monday. I’m not doubting McCown can get the job done, but I’m also not ready to see Cutler in a Cardinals jersey in 2014 either.
What do you think? Do you think McCown can guide the Bears to a couple of wins while Cutler is out? Do you think he’ll come back down to Earth with Green Bay and Detroit preparing for him the next couple of weeks?