The sky has officially fallen in Chicago. Jay Cutler’s right thumb will require surgery and he’s going to be out six-to-eight weeks. At a minimum, he will miss the regular season. Welcome to the party Caleb Hanie.
While Hanie will be best known for almost leading the Chicago Bears to a tie with the Green Bay Packers last season during the championship game, he’s not exactly what the doctor ordered. The Bears have been finally getting an offense in place that plays to Cutler’s strengths, and now, it has to be revamped and quickly.
The only silver lining on this extremely dark cloud is the Bears are playing the easier part of their schedule. Next weekend they travel to Oakland. While the Raiders are playing solid football they’re not a dominant team. Then the Bears come home for the Chiefs that are without their quarterback Matt Cassel, The following week the Bears visit Tim Tebow and the surging Broncos before returning home to play the Seahawks. The Bears close out the regular season with visits to Green Bay and Minnesota. With a 7-3 record, the Bears need to win three games to get to what many consider the magical number of 10 wins. We won’t know what the game will mean to Green Bay, but there’s not a game left on the schedule that the Bears can’t win. If the Bears continue to play solid defense and special teams, they will have an edge over some of the above-mentioned teams. The biggest challenge will be obviously on offense. Teams will be bringing up guys to stop the run so Hanie needs to prove that he can complete even some passes. Obviously it won’t be the same thing as Cutler, but he just has to be steady.
The option of bringing in another starting quarterback at this part of the season is pointless. While there’s going to be fans calling for Brett Favre, who knows if he’s even in football shape. Even if he is, it will take some time for him to figure things out. My guess is the Bears will sign a veteran of some sort not named Todd Collins. While I am not even sure who’s even available, they will need an emergency quarterback. I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Nathan Enderle, but a playoff team probably doesn’t want to rely on a rookie quarterback at this juncture of the season in case Hanie goes down.
I will have much more to say about this obviously. Like many of you, I am still in shock at the moment. Follow me on Twitter for the latest and greatest on the Bears at ChicagoBearJew.