After throwing three times as many interceptions (nine) as touchdowns (three) in his four-game stretch as the starter, Caleb Hanie has been benched. The Chicago Bears will go forward for the remainder of the season with Josh McCown under center.
Hanie completed 50 percent of his passes for 613 yards with a quarterback rating of 41.8. With him in charge, the team went 11 for 50 on third downs, which never allowed the offense to get in rhythm and put up points consistently. Hanie's accuracy was lacking, but it was his decision-making that compelled Chicago's coaches to sit him.
McCown now takes over. He has played for four teams prior to Chicago, including a stint in Detroit under coordinator Mike Martz in 2006. Having familiarity with Martz's offense was one of the main reasons the Bears signed him two weeks ago. We'll now get to see how comfortable he still is with the scheme.
"It's not ideal to come in this late," McCown said Wednesday. "But at the same time, as a competitor, you understand where the other guys are at. You've got to get yourself up to speed and ready to play. Everybody expects you just to go play and play well. That's the expectation for myself also — just to go out and do things to help us win the football game.
"If I keep looking back and saying, 'I only got here six weeks ago,' then it becomes an excuse [and] I think you leave an area for you not to play well because you're leaving something to fall back on. I'm trying to refuse to do that and just say, 'You know what, you have to play well. The team's depending on you.' That's my stance."
For his career, McCown has completed 611 of 1,060 pass attempts (57.6 percent) for 6,596 yards, 35 touchdowns and 41 interceptions. He last started an NFL game in 2007 with the Oakland Raiders. On Sunday, he'll be thrust into one of the most difficult situations for any Bears quarterback: a road game at Lambeau Field against the Green Bay Packers.
"You can't be anything but excited," McCown said of the rivalry. "To get to be a part of that in this atmosphere, I'm very excited. I'm very thankful. It's a great opportunity to go play and have fun, to play on Christmas and all that. Absolutely it's neat."
Follow me on Twitter: @BearReport
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.