It seems a meatball fan-panic is underway across Bear Nation. Seriously guys … just relax. Does anyone remember what it’s like for a QB to make his first NFL start? Let alone making his first start on the road in a hostile environment. The Bears will survive.
Now, I'm not making any excuses for three terrible throws. But you cannot sit here and say that the lack of offensive game-plan adjustment for Hanie doesn't mean anything. That's absurd. Mike Martz’s play calling was atrocious in the first 30 minutes of that game. While he usually will throw quarterbacks right into the fire and adjust from there, I never feel like that's the right thing to do. The screen play on second and one was a terrible call, and it was followed by an even worse decision. But that’s the Martz style … being ridiculous.
For those of you saying "well he’s been in the NFL for four years, and he should be ready now,” well, from taking practice reps, to playing in a regular season game on the road, it’s a night and day difference. As a young quarterback, he’s going to try to force throws and over-think things. Anyone remember the growing pains of a young quarterback? I certainly do, and I certainly understand that there will be ups and downs while he plays.
The first half was terrible. No doubt about it. He was trying to force balls into places that he just can’t go yet and as holding onto the ball too long. He has to get rid of the ball faster if the Bears plan on scoring points on offense. He needs to realize that if he is not seeing things perfectly clear, run or just throw it away. That will come with more experience just like it did with Cutler.
The second half was much improved for Caleb. He went from a 43.6 rating in the first half to a 97.7 in the second half. He limited his mistakes in the second half, and the play calling was also improved. The one thing I will say about Hanie is that he throws a good ball; accurate for the most part as well.
The Knox touchdown was a great QB play. It was a hot read to Knox, and he identified what he had to do and delivered a great pass that the Bears got seven out of. There's something to take with you moving forward as you continue to analyze Hanie. Even though it was in basically garbage time, the big play deep to Knox was a fantastic throw.
But the muffed spike at the end just felt so fitting, and it put the exclamation point on the game. The lack of experienced shows completely there.
I saw nothing I didn't expect from him in his first start. Moving forward, he should improve. Martz has to adjust his game plan some more and get Caleb to use his legs and run more. He’s very athletic and fast for the most part. I don’t want to say run like he’s Tim Tebow, but at this point, if it’s a risky throw and you can run, just use your legs. All the Bears are trying to do is stumble to a 10 or 11 win season till Jay (hopefully) gets back. Caleb can do it, not quite like #CuttyDoesIt, but he can handle it.
With the Chiefs next on the schedule, this might be a game that Hanie can get some good plays under his belt and get into some rhythm.
P.S. - Remember back when everyone said Cutler sucked, that he was soft and that Hanie should be the starter. Where are you at now? The value of Jay Cutler was on display in that loss at Oakland. With Jay, that isn't even a game; Bears would have won in a blowout.