Bowen: Barber Key Without Cutler
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(WSCR) The Bears’ decision to sign Marion Barber after the Cowboys released him may pay great dividends in the absence of Jay Cutler.
With Cutler’s return from injury uncertain, the Bears will rely heavily on the run game to keep them competitive until his return.
“This is why you go back to the beginning of August, when you sign someone like Marion Barber,” Matt Bowen of The National Football Post and Chicago Tribune told The Boers and Bernstein Show on Monday. “Now, you can get 30 carries out of two guys. That’s a big thing.”
LISTEN: Matt Bowen on The Boers and Bernstein Show
When the Bears aren’t splitting time between Matt Forte and Barber, it will be back up quarterback Caleb Hanie tasked with leading the passing attack.
Bowen said Hanie doesn’t have to throw for 300 yards a game, he just has to focus on one thing.
“The No. 1 thing with him is protecting the football,” Bowen said. “That’s gotta be his No. 1 goal. You talk about the three phases here in Chicago. If you’re going to win those — the defense, the special teams and the run game — you cannot turn the ball over.
“When you lose your No. 1 quarterback, that’s a punch in the gut. There’s no way to spin that — that hurts. If the No. 2 was better, he’d be the starter. You’re obviously taking a step back in talent and overall skill set, experience, with Caleb Hanie, but at the same time, you have to let him play. You have to see what he has.”