They say when you are under duress, your true colors come out. When the Bears are bad or have a losing record, fans revolt and want to Occupy Halas Hall. As an optimistic Bears fan, it's a tough pill to swallow but the sentiment is understood.
When news started to spread Sunday night about Jay Cutler injuring his thumb on his throwing hand and was expected to miss at least the regular season, panic spread across the city.
After letting the news settle in, I think Bears fans are little more confident than not. Sure the 4th Phase is going to miss Cutler but they are generally confident in Caleb Hanie. He doesn't have Cutler's arm strength or the quick release but has passed the eye test in the limited action he's seen.
Even though Hanie has not started an NFL game and has only thrown 14 career passes, the confidence comes from what we saw in the NFC Championship against the Packers. Entering the game down 14-0, Hanie gave the Bears a fighting chance. He was an interception away from tying the ball game and sending it into overtime.
Hanie is in his contract year and will look to prove his worth as an NFL quarterback. This is his audition to prove he is an NFL quarterback. He'll get another shot at the Packers on Christmas Day that will have playoff implications.
The Bears have been getting some love from their biggest critics as they continue to move up the various power rankings and many have thought they are legitimate contenders to unseat the Packers but many have retracted their previous optimism.
I remain optimistic because the Bears will always have an advantage on defense and special teams. On offense, they will continue to lean on Matt Forte, who should be in the running for both MVP and Offensive Player of the Year honors.
The key for making this work is Mike Martz's ability to adjust the play calling to Hanie's strengths and give him an opportunity to succeed. In other words, don't get Hanie killed. With a schedule that favors the Bears, I wouldn't be surprised if they finish (at least) 4-2.