Minicamp Chat: QB Caleb Hanie

A lot of experts have criticized the Chicago Bears for not selecting a passer in the NFL Draft and just signing Caleb Hanie and Nick Hill as undrafted free agents. Who's going to win that battle for No. 3 duties? Hanie spent some time with Bear Report after Sunday's minicamp workout at Halas Hall.

John Crist: You've been here for the entire offseason program since you signed as an undrafted free agent. What was veteran minicamp like compared to what you had been doing so far with the other rookies and the OTA workouts?

Caleb Hanie: Obviously, you get a lot less reps is one thing. You're getting a lot of mental reps. Every time the vets go, you try to learn something new on each play. Each play has its little facet and niche. That's what you're trying to figure out. Trying to get the protections down. There's a lot of stuff to learn and other things. The speed of the offense. The speed of the defense. You're getting a lot more used to that with the vets here. With the rookies, you got used to that speed. And then it's a little bit faster now.

JC: One of the cliches for young quarterbacks in this league is the speed of the game compared to what you saw in college. Is that with regard to the speed of the defense, the speed of the play developing, the speed of you going through your reads? What does that cliche mean to you right now?

CH: It's mainly the overall speed of the defense. The players in college, you'll have two or three players on each team that are burners. But here you've got guys at every position that can run. So in turn, that speeds up the decision-making process and the mechanical parts of having to get the ball out. Because if you're just a second late, or even a half-second late coming back to your second read, that guy from the back side is going to come and be underneath it. So they kind of work hand in hand. The speed of the play actually speeds up your reads, and [then] your mechanics having to speed up to get the ball out.

JC: In college, the NCAA only allows you to have so many hours of football activity every week. But in the NFL, you're a pro now and you have all day and every day to get better. Does that make it easier to learn because you have all that extra time, or is it even harder because there's so much more to digest at this level?

CH: It's harder because it's more complex. There's obviously a lot more stuff to put in. A lot more. The big thing is the protections. In college, you might have four or five protections. Here you have 10 or 12 protections. It's harder in that there's more to digest. One of the cliches is that you have all this time to do it, but you're trying to compete for jobs out here right away so you try and learn it as fast as possible. So it's definitely harder to pick it up now, but you're right. The fact that there's nothing else going on in your life, no school or anything like that, you have all day to look things over. So it's a little easier to pick up, but there's just a lot more stuff. So it kind of balances itself out.

QB Caleb Hanie
Scott Boehm/AP Images

JC: Let's face it, you and Nick Hill are in competition with each other for the No. 3 job on this team. In all likelihood, one of you will be gone at some point before the season. How has your relationship been with him so far?

CH: It's been friendly competition. Around the field, we both have a lot to think about, so we're trying to help each other out as far as the mental part. We'll both pick it up. Nick is a smart guy. We'll both pick up the offense. That's not the issue. It's just who can execute better, and so we're both trying to help each other out with the reads and all that stuff. But it comes down to who can throw the ball better, who can move around better, and just execute and make plays for the team. And then off the field, we're as friendly as two competitors would be. We talk. We'll hang out every now and then. We'll go eat. We'll go play some golf, whatever we need to do. But when we get out here, it's a little more every-man-for-himself. It's nothing cut-throat or anything.

JC: What part of your game do you believe is NFL-ready right now, and then what part of your game do you know is a long way's away from being NFL-ready?

CH: Just as far as mechanic-wise, I think my arm strength is good to go up here at this level. Beforehand coming in, I didn't know how it would be because I'd never been around NFL camps or anything like that. I just see it on TV. But I'm there in that aspect, I think. The footwork is going to take some work, but it's getting there.

John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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