With Josh McCown expected to be named this week as the Bears game-15 starting quarterback (I just want to be available if they do call my number, just be ready to go, McCown said), the Bears are hoping that he proves to be a surprise continuation of a Bears pattern under GM Jerry Angelo.
There is in fact one position that Angelo has been consistent in addressing very well in his tenure as Bears general manager: Back-up quarterback.
Angelo arguably has had better luck solving the No. 2 spot than the No. 1 job.
The carnage of the four Caleb Hanie starts has obscured the fact that in the last decade, Angelo has regularly put pieces in place at the linchpin second-level position that have produced not only wins, but occasional playoffs. Angelo has had suspect results in the draft, but he has regularly assembled a roster with a proven veteran backup quarterback.
One primary personnel change over the past two years may account for the current QB problems. More on that later.
Consider (by offensive coordinator):
The John Shoop Time
2001 Starter: Shane Matthews Backup: Jim Miller
Matthews is injured in the week-two game against Minnesota. Miller leads the Bears to a 13-3 finish.
2002 Starter: Jim Miller Backup: Chris Chandler
Injuries throughout the offense and defense derail the season. Chandler, with injuries of his own, finishes 2-5 as a relief starter with a passer rating of nearly 80.
2003 Starter: Kordell Stewart Backup: Chandler, rookie No. 1 Rex Grossman
Behind an offensive line with Steve Edwards and Aaron Gibson at tackles, nothing at QB goes real well in a 7-9 season, Dick Jaurons last.
The Terry Shea Interlude
2004 Starter: Grossman Backups: Chad Hutchinson, Craig Krenzel, Jonathan Quinn
Grossmans ruptured ACL in game three starts QB freefall. Quinn had played for Terry Shea. Krenzel a draft choice, Hutchinson never mind.
Enter: Ron Turner
2005 Starter: Grossman Backup: Kyle Orton
Grossman goes down early, rookie Orton operates down-sized offense of new coordinator Turner. Bears finish 11-5 and in the playoffs.
2006 Starter: Grossman Backups: Brian Griese, Orton
Even with Orton, Bears add Griese but Grossman stays healthy.
2007 Starter: Grossman Backups: Griese, Orton
Grossman starts three, gets hurt. Griese starts six, gets hurt. Grossman starts four, gets hurt. Orton goes 2-1 in final three.
2008 Starter: Orton Backup: Grossman
Orton starts 15, Grossman one. Orton tries to play through ankle injury, Bears come up a half-game short of playoffs.
2009 Starter: Jay Cutler Backup: Hanie
Turner and Cutler clash, QB struggles but stays healthy. Hanie mops up in Cincinnati, Baltimore blowouts.
The Martz Waltz
2010 Starter: Cutler Backups: Todd Collins, Hanie
Mike Martz lobbies through the offseason for a veteran backup, Bears bring Collins off the NFL shelf for 1 million, three relief nightmares. Hanie nearly salvages NFC Championship game.
2011 Starter: Cutler Backups: Hanie, McCown, Nathan Enderle
Martz OK with Hanie as No. 2, Cutler goes down vs. San Diego with Bears 7-3, assessment of Hanie turns out to be in error.
Trying a few things
McCown has been expected since Sunday to replace Hanie after the latters latest failure to get the offense into any sort of rhythm or state of momentum. Ironically, neither would be playing if Angelo had his way.
The Bears attempted to regain Orton after he was waived by the Denver Broncos; the Kansas City Chiefs claimed him first. A call had been made to former St. LouisBaltimore quarterback Marc Bulger, whod played for Martz but turned down the offer to come out of retirement.
The Bears also had looked at securing Matt Moore after he was let go by Carolina last year but Moore opted for the No. 2 job in Miami.