In his two games as a starter, Caleb Hanie has been awful. He's completed just 48 percent of his passes, with 2 TDs and 6 INTs. He led an offense yesterday against the Chiefs that gained just 181 total net yards on the day. Accuracy, timing, decision-making … everything has been off.
His poor play has led to widespread speculation as to whether or not the team will continue its search for a more-qualified passer. Donovan McNabb, who grew up in Chicago, seems like the logical answer. The 13-year veteran cleared waivers last week and is currently a free agent. The six-time Pro Bowler has been to five NFC Championship games and a Super Bowl.
There have even been rumors that Brett Favre might be willing to come out of retirement to help his old rivals – although that would have been more likely before the injury to Matt Forte.
"That's our group. We're going to make improvements with our group, like all positions," Smith said. "We're not looking on the outside. We're not having a quarterback tryout or anything like that. These are our guys and they're all going to get better."
McCown, who was signed just a few weeks back, was inactive against the Chiefs. The reason? Smith said that the team has only dressed two quarterbacks all season and that, right now, Enderle is the team's No. 2.
"I think it's hard to just come in off the street," said Smith. "You know, Josh is listed as our third quarterback, and third quarterbacks are not getting a lot of reps.
"Unless there's an injury, Nathan Enderle is our backup quarterback right now. We'll see how the week goes. I can't look that far into the future. But Josh is doing everything we're asking him to do, and he is making progress. But our focus is somewhere else right now."
For now, the focus will be on putting Hanie in positions to succeed, while hoping he can show improvement over the next month.
"I think most teams, if they're using their backup quarterback, will struggle a little bit," Smith said. "Sometimes right away a guy will have a good game. But struggles are part of it. Caleb's our quarterback. And he, like the rest of or team, didn't play well yesterday. But give us a little bit of time. There's this week — hopefully we'll see some improvements this week, for our football team."
-Cornerback Corey Graham offered some flimsy support for Hanie this week when asked if the team should consider signing McNabb.
"Honestly, Donovan, he's done a lot in this league. I can't say too much about that. If they feel like he can help us win games, then that's the number," Graham said. "But as of right now, we actually believe in Caleb. We've seen him do a lot of great things in practice and things of that nature, so we believe in what he can do. Yea, it's been a rough couple of games for him, but I'm pretty sure he can bounce back and I'm pretty sure he can be OK for us."
-S Major Wright was having one of the best games of his career until a shoulder injury knocked him out of the Chiefs contest just before halftime. Surprisingly, he was replaced by Craig Steltz and not Brandon Meriweather, who had been rotating with Wright at the strong safety spot the past two weeks.
"The decision coming into the football game … it's hard to backup at both safety positions. We just let him, Brandon, last week, concentrate backing up the free safety position, and have Craig be the primary backup at the strong position," Smith said.
Wright's injury is a shoulder sprain, which will likely keep him out the next 1-2 weeks.
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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.