Second Chance for Hutchinson

Lake Forest - Offensive coordinator Terry Shea believes that quarterback Chad Hutchinson has a unique opportunity to resurrect a career that didn't look very promising after he was released by the Dallas Cowboys last summer.

Hutchinson was a two-year starter at Stanford but left with two years of football eligibility remaining to play professional baseball.

"He didn't even have a chance to start very much in college," Shea said. "And he was scarred, I think, emotionally from the Dallas Cowboys experience. So this certainly has been his breath of fresh air, and I think it gives him a great opportunity to establish himself as a viable, winning NFL quarterback, and hopefully it'll be a great future for the Bears."

If Hutchinson's performance for the remainder of the season approaches his debut effort, he'll be a factor in the Bears' quarterback picture for next season. Shea said that in a best-case scenario, Hutchinson could contend for the starting job next training camp. But Shea said that Hutchinson would, at best, be a clear-cut No. 2 behind Rex Grossman.

"We have a tremendous amount of respect for Rex Grossman," Shea said of the injured starter. "When Rex was the quarterback of this offense for the first three games of this season, if we had maintained the same average of total yards, we'd be the sixth-rated team in the NFC and the AFC in terms of total offense. So you can't discount what Rex was able to do while he was part of this offense.

"Lovie (Smith) and I would get together, and it would surprise me that it would be anything less than Rex as No. 1 and the next quarterback as No. 2."

Last week, the Jaguars lost to Pittsburgh rookie Ben Roethlisberger, who was making his 10th start. This week, they're facing Hutchinson, who'll be making his 11th NFL start.

One of those starts was against the Jaguars in 2002. He threw for 301 yards and posted a 102.8 quarterback rating in a 21-19 victory over the Jaguars.

When Bill Parcells became the Cowboys head coach last year, Hutchinson lost the starting job to Quincy Carter and then was dumped this year.

Hutchinson has the pressure of keeping his production at a level similar to what he had last week. He was the first Chicago QB to throw three touchdown passes in a game since Jim Miller did it on October of 2002. Now he faces a Jaguar pass defense that has allowed the opposing quarterback in seven of the last nine games to post a 93.9 quarterback rating or better.

"I'm definitely not the savior. I'm just a little piece of the puzzle that's been inserted," Hutchinson said. "The quarterback I've always believed gets too much credit and too much blame."


Bear Report Top Stories