Armchair Quarterback

Lake Forest - The Bears quarterback situation has become so desperate that scanning the waiver wire presents better options than anything currently on the roster. Tim Couch will take a physical and workout for the Bears today. If there's a glimpse of something left in the 27-year-old the Bears will likely ink him to a deal.

"We will always look to improve our football team," Lovie Smith said. "Hopefully he will have a great workout and we'll try to do something with him. But right now it's nothing more than a physical and a workout."

The 1st overall pick in the 1999 draft spent five seasons with the Cleveland Browns. He started 59 of 62 games, compiling 64 touchdowns to 67 interceptions.

The Browns released Couch in the off-season after signing Jeff Garcia to be their starter and not being able to workout a trade for his services. He eventually signed with Green Bay, but he failed to make the 53-man roster because of rotator-cuff tendonitis in his right arm, which decreased his velocity.

"He left Green Bay, he was injured early, he's well now, so we want to get him a physical and see exactly where he is, let him work out and see exactly where he is there and kind of go from there," Smith said.

Despite Doug Pederson, who was Brett Favre's backup, going down in Week 4 the Packers made a trade for a quarterback rather than re-signing Couch.

The Bears initially showed interest in Couch during the off-season with the hope that he could be Rex Grossman's backup. When a deal couldn't be worked out, the Bears made Jonathan Quinn the second QB on the depth chart.

Even if the six-foot-4, 225-pound Couch is healthy, his immediate impact would be limited without knowing Terry Shea's offense.

Chad Hutchinson has been with the team for nearly a month and he hasn't elevated past Quinn or Craig Krenzel because he doesn't know the offense.

Desmond Clark has spent eight months in the offense and is still getting familiar with the intricacies of the playbook.

"Every week it's a learning process. I haven't got comfortable yet. I'm always going back to that book trying to make sure I've got everything that I need to have down," Clark said.

"It's not like you can just come in for a couple months and think that you got it because there's always little nuances that come up with an offense."

It would seem if the team signs Couch that Hutchinson would be the odd man out, but Smith said there is a chance the team could carry four quarterbacks.

"Very seldom do you let a guy go that you think can really help your team. You find a way," Smith said. "Most of the time you don't keep four quarterbacks but in our situation we're keeping all options open."

The Bears see Couch as a short-term solution in Grossman's absence this year. He would instantly be the most experienced quarterback on the roster and if healthy would add legitimacy to an offense that has produced just 12 points under Quinn.

With the rest of the season to learn the offense, Couch could push Grossman next year and at the very least provide depth behind center.

"We all know who Tim Couch is and what his background is. And I'm intrigued by that," Smith said.

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