Camp Chat: QB Caleb Hanie

A lot of NFL experts just figured the Chicago Bears would be in the market for an experienced backup quarterback after getting Jay Cutler. Nevertheless, the decision makers stuck with Caleb Hanie. Here's what Hanie told Bear Report after Friday's training camp practice in this exclusive interview.

John Crist: Last year, you had to engineer an impressive training camp and preseason just to ensure a spot on the 53-man roster. But this year, you're entrenched as the backup quarterback behind Jay Cutler. Can you possibly describe how different this year feels compared to last year?

Caleb Hanie: It feels the same, actually. It's a constant struggle. You want to be confident in your position, but at the same time you can't get too comfortable where you're not improving. That's when guys come and take your position. I'm just going to keep working hard and take it like I did last year, like a life-or-death type of situation, because you never know what's going to happen in this league.

JC: A lot of the supposed experts out there figured the Bears would be in the market for an experienced backup passer after acquiring Cutler. However, the coaching staff has expressed confidence in you all offseason long. How did that make you feel?

CH: Hearing that is nice. It's good to know that people have confidence in you. But like I said, that's not to say that if I go out and perform bad here or in a couple of games that they won't bring in another guy and they won't change their mind on that. While it feels good to hear that and it feels good that I'm on the right track, I just need to stay focused.

JC: You and Cutler have a similar style to some degree, especially when it comes to footwork both in and out of the pocket. Does that mean the integrity of the offense will be held intact for the most part should your number be called for any reason in 2009?


Hanie has everybody's confidence as the No. 2.
Warren Wimmer Photography

CH: We have similar styles of play, I guess. We both kind of run around a little bit if we need to, and we like to throw it around. That's a bonus. I've got to adapt to his style also. That way I can be ready to come in and we don't have to change everything just for me.

JC: Since you and Cutler are both fairly light on your feet, has offensive coordinator Ron Turner made more of an effort to make things such as rollouts and bootlegs a bigger part of the overall scheme?

CH: No, we're doing about the same as normal. A lot of boots and sprintouts, it's just an integral part of our offense. We stopped running them last year a little bit, or got away from them some, because of Kyle [Orton]'s ankle injury, but hopefully we'll get back to them because it's a good play to run.

JC: The amount of fans that showed up in Bourbonnais on Day 1 is simply incredible. We in the media get a different feel for this team than we did last season. Can the same be said for the players in that locker room?

CH: Yeah, I mean, there's a lot more people it seems like this year. A lot louder and more positive, I guess. Jay's a big part of that, but also just because we got better up front. We got better in all facets, I think. Guys are healthy and back to playing again. There's a lot to be excited about.


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


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