Bernstein: You Knew Hanie Was Bad, Right?

By Dan Bernstein- Senior Columnist

(CBS) Try to remember how you felt as soon as you got the news about Jay Cutler’s broken thumb, and how long he’d be out. Dig deep, and access that moment – recapture the feeling like a trained method-actor.

Got it? OK. Now, remember why it was that you felt that way.

Not to be presumptuous, but I think it’s because you knew how important talented passers are to NFL offenses, particularly those for teams with designs on the postseason. Nobody should be surprised that an inexperienced, backup quarterback played mostly badly. You know why?

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Because he isn’t very good. And because he had only thrown 14 regular-season passes in his career, and because he never gets any first-team reps in practice, since Mike Martz doesn’t believe in such things.

Caleb Hanie was plenty confident all week, his chance at the big-boy lectern letting him come off with something resembling a swagger. And his coaches and teammates sure sounded similarly — if blandly and nebulously — positive about what he could do. We can guess this was based on the second half of last year’s NFC title game, in which he rallied the Bears to a loss.

LISTEN: Bears Highlights From WBBM Newsradio

It was not based on the inexcusable interception he threw in that game (the one so conveniently forgotten), nor on his lackluster training camp performance this summer, that saw him demoted to third-string for a day behind Nathan Enderle. Or is it Ethan Nenderle?

A week of print puffery, undeserved comparisons and hopeful coach-speak was exposed by the kind of first half guys in his position often have. His three interceptions (two of them utterly inexplicable) were mitigated mildly by some garbage-time completions, and the game ended on a bizarre delayed-spike intentional grounding penalty and clock runoff that nobody had ever seen before. So, at least it was interesting.

The good news is that the upcoming schedule against teams like Kansas City, God’s Chosen Team, Seattle and Minnesota is weak enough that he doesn’t need to play all that well, provided he and Martz can figure some way to stop the turnovers.

It’s not just rationalization to think that the Bears’ stout defense and reliable specialists are enough to hold them in the tier above the bottom-feeders, and that it should be enough for the three wins they need to back into a wild-card and hope for Cutler’s return, unlikely as that may be.

But some of the Hanie stuff last week got silly. Interviews with his coaches and teammates from high school and college singing his many praises should be ignored. What do you expect them to say?: “Well, Caleb was good at this level, but we here in Forney, Texas stand behind our collective feeling that he lacks the ability to process what he sees from fast, complicated NFL defenses well enough to make the proper throws on time.” Or “He was undrafted for a reason, you know. Every team in the league had enough chances to prove that they thought he was a prospect, and nobody did.”

We, of all cities, should know better. We don’t need artificial reasons for optimism.

After the game Sunday, Hanie said “I’ll get better,” and perhaps he will. He doesn’t have to be a hero, doesn’t have to make spectacular, highlight throws. He needn’t try to carry anything, no matter how certain he may be that he could.

All he needs to be is something other than what he just was – the main reason the Bears lost.

bernstein 90x130 Bernstein: You Knew Hanie Was Bad, Right?Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of “Boers and Bernstein” since 1999. He joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995. The Boers and Bernstein Show airs every weekday from 1PM to 6PM on The Score, 670AM. Read more of Bernstein’s columns here. Follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.
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  • Ricking Ball

    You leave his Haleb Canie guy alone. He’s a fighter. He’s blue collar. And he’s gonna get better as soon as we get some Bear Weather up here.

    • D From Gary

      I pray to god your joking, I truly hope you are and i cant sense your sarcasm. Just in case your not i have to say ………. your an idiot

      • Grammar Police

        you are = you’re

      • Long time listener, first time caller

        yeah, he is totally joking. Haleb Canie? Just making fun of fans who are clueless. Haleb sucked, and after all week of “just no mistakes” coaching, what is the first thing he does? throw a fudgin’ duck down the sideline on our own 25.

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    Yup, Mr. Hanie is bad at football.

  • George Gutierrez

    Well said sir!!

  • RetiedinAz1

    He Sucks!


    By the way, Cutler’s wind breaker looks nice. As good as the Jordan-era warm up jackets (home whites).
    Yeah. that sounds about right. (three wins? I thought two would get it. How the h377 did Seattle get a birth last year?)

    Hanie has the guts, he just can’t pass (right. that’s all). But, you wish the offense would’ve tried some plays that made sense. It would have made more sense if Hanie had thrown five interceptions with three runbacks, than to have their crazy “small ball” play packages. Make the Raiders think No. 6 was out there, before the action told them otherwise. Or, put Josh McCown out there after the half.

  • theusualuser

    I have no problem admitting that Hanie didn’t do well, but we also have to admit that Martz is no genius. 2nd and 1 on the 12, and we DON’T run the ball!? Ridiculous.

  • P.H.

    Two words: Tyler Palko.

    Tonight’s game is an “It Gets Better” video for Bears fans.

    • Rick

      Try Kyle Orton

  • JeffG

    It nice to see Bernstein direct his Forte hate in a new direction by maybe a worthier target would be OC Matrz and his “Genius” play calling.

  • bear fan

    We are in big trouble!

  • Annoying Soapbox

    Very surprised by the content of the article. I’m very much expecting a week of shrill preaching about Syracuse. Though I bet there will be more discussion about whether Syracuse or Boeheim won the press conference than why the Bears didn’t win this game.


    • DaBUU

      Hey dont rip on child rapists, says annoying soapbox. you make me puke.

  • PTC

    Caleb Hanie is who we thought he was!
    But I pin this loss on Martz and his “offensive genius” play calling. The slow developing screen pass when all you want to do is pound the ball in and eat up 2 minutes of clock. If we had 30 to 10 run to pass ratio ( or close enough ) instead of 50/50, (did we pass more than run?) Hanie CAN’T lose this game. Special Teams coach having Hester back up 10-15 yards on the punter with the strongest leg in the game, before he boots it 80 yards. And pee brain Devin not fielding a punt when we have a block on late, they have everybody in, blocking so we don’t have to go 90 plus yards (very unlikely) to win the game.
    The Bears are 7-4, not bad for this stage of season. They still are very much in the playoff hunt but I am sick of Martz doing stupid stuff, without Lovie taking control and slapping him upside the head. We absolutely should have won this game. The coaches called a lousy game. Hanie played poorly, but we stole defeat from the jaws of victory. Next is Kyle Orten and the Cheifs, a very winnable game. I think Martz is a clown by the way. Go Bears.

  • Robert

    Bernstein is a hater…an uneducated one at that.

    • Adam

      Usually the ones that toss around “hater” are the ones lacking in cerebral power.

      • Stretch Armstrong

        I thought Lawrence Holmes hosts “Hater Wednesdays,” not Jason Goff.

        But I know, all them “flat brims” are the same to you, eh Jeff? :)

      • JeffG

        Next Wednesday. give Jason Goff a call and let him know during his show titled using the generational nomenclature.

      • Adam

        That being said, everything Bernstein said in the piece is true. Hanie was atrocious, and the Bears never really had a chance of winning this game because of how ridiculously bad he was.

        Also, to the poster 3 or 4 up: I wouldn’t say people opposed to child sex abuse are “on a soapbox”. If you want to hear meathead speak, 1000 is right up the dial.

  • Robert

    usually the ones saying, ‘ Usually the ones that toss around “hater” are the ones lacking in cerebral power’ are the ones who are lacking in cerebral power. Can’t people like you relax and put a WHOLE game in perspective?

    • Meatless Meatball

      Here’s some perspective for you: Hanie is bad at football, and though he’s not the sole reason the Bears lost, he’s the main reason. Two inexcusable picks, missing receivers, failing to spike the ball (the easiest darned play in the NFL), not having much of a clue what to do once flushed out of the pocket — these are things an NFL QB has to do, and Hanie can’t.

      There’s really nothing else in this game that matters. Sure, it would’ve been nice to see the D-line after the second quarter, but that’s not really why the Bears lost. Neither were the somewhat lackluster (for the Bears) kick and punt returns. It’s not ALL Hanie’s fault (much has to do with scheming, particularly from the perennially adjustment-impaired Mike Martz; plus, Knox deserves some of the blame for consistently failing even when he succeeds), but Hanie wasn’t even able to manage the game. He stunk.

      See? Perspective.

      • Centurion

        MEATLESS ADMITS he can’t play better. But he can still run his mouth about something he knows nothing about!

        Here is a MEATLESS Meatball, with an opinion on something he knows nothing about. There is a reason…he is MEATLESS!

        Now…..We all know Bernstein is a loud mouthed idiot…right!

      • Denver Deadite

        Centurion has never reviewed a book, movie, TV show, piece of art, etc.

        Centurion doesn’t know anything about anything, therefore the only thing he knows how to do is ‘run his mouth’.

      • Meatless Meatball

        I suppose trolling trolls will troll, eh, Deadite?

      • Denver Deadite

        And I’m not even certain I can say that Hanie IS bad. He WAS bad in that game, but I think he can improve.

        The Bears did just enough to give that game to the Raiders.

      • Meatless Meatball

        Centurion – No, I can’t play better. Never said I could. That doesn’t invalidate my opinion, though. An opinion is only invalidated when it is either devoid entirely of facts or has incorrect facts. You, however, have opted to take a third route: attempting to invalidate an argument based on a non sequitur. As soon as you can form a logical, coherent argument, you’ll be a better, happier, more productive person. I wish you well as you trudge through life wondering why shouting at the rain never makes it stop.

      • Centurion

        If you can play better Meatless….step up. If you can’t play…you need to shut your mouth! Talk is cheaper. From idiots…its free…and endless.

      • Meatless Meatball

        I get where you’re coming from, Deadite, and I’m certain Hanie can improve — I mean, he can’t get much worse, can he?

        But realistically, Hanie is simply not the kind of guy you want at the helm for your team. I don’t think he’s even really passable. He has the arm and accuracy of an emergency quarterback, not a second-string backup. And while it certainly doesn’t help that Mike Martz still operates under the deluded impression that, I don’t know, vintage Orlando Pace is out there covering two dudes on the line or something, it doesn’t really matter, because Hanie doesn’t even have the skills to be the kind of backup I’ve been arguing for years Orton can and should be.

    • Denver Deadite

      If you’re not lacking such power, then you’ll be more than able to give specifics as to why this article is wrong.

  • White Owl

    Cutler’s first game as a Bear, against Green Bay, reminds me of this first game played by Hanie. In fact, what I remember best about Jay’s first few games are the numerous red zone picks.

    There were a few bright spots for Caleb, and I expect he will build on them.

    • Jesse Austin

      Good, objective observation – as opposed to the Bernstein-induced mass hysteria being expressed elsewhere here. Hanie is inexperienced … he will get better.

      • Meatless Meatball

        No, actually, it’s neither good nor objective. Cutler’s picks were occasionally his fault, but more often the result of having inexperienced wide receivers — one of whom is named Hester. Cutler was working with a bunch of jokers. Hanie… well, he’s working with a bunch of jokers, too, but they’re more experienced jokers. Now granted, Knox had some bad drops (I’ve long thought he’s a weak-sauce fourth-string receiver, anyways), but if you’re seriously going to compare Hanie’s performance against a banged-up Raiders secondary with Cutler’s performance in the first game of the season against a defense that, at the time, was the best in the league, you’re out of your cotton-pickin’ mind, friend.

      • Bronzo

        Meatless Meatball

        Speaking of being neither good or objective…Last time i checked the Packers defense is ranked 30th in the NFL …so at what what pont in the season were they ranked best in the league??

      • Meatless Meatball

        Bronzo –

        Read what I said again, smart guy. The Packers were one of the best defenses in the league when Jay first came over from the Broncos.

  • Jim Ribs

    Einstein, Plato, and Bernstein walk in to a bar, Bernstein lets them know he is the smartest guy in the room…yep that’s the joke.

    • Meatless Meatball

      If Einstein and Plato walk into a bar, run for your life — zombies be comin’.

  • Denver Deadite

    As I said last night, Hanie simply needed to manage the game, and he didn’t. And that screen pass… good lord.

    I’ll also add that the return game also put the offense in a hole. Hester and Knox spent way too much time moving left to right, instead of just moving forward for as much as they could get.

    • Meatless Meatball

      In fairness, Lechler was punting his arse off yesterday. He pretty much denied any chance Hester had of returning punts. But you’re right, Devin and (especially) Knox spent WAY too much time going sideline-to-sideline.

  • Beardude

    Also, poor time management by Lovie. Calls his last time out with 2:01 left. WT?

    • Ken

      ARe you serious? That makes perfect sense. THey call a timeout so the two minute warning is called on the next play. That way the clock stops twice then once.

      Or were you joking?

    • Ron

      The Raider offensive coordinator was the only coach that looked stupid in this situation. They could run any play on 2nd and 11 because the clock was going to stop for the 2 minute warning and he chose to run up the middle? I know you don’t want to risk a turnover, but if they get a first down the Bears never get the ball back. It was a good timeout by Lovie.

  • FC

    Snap out of it. Who died and made Cutler the second coming? At best, he’s a C- quarterback. It drives me bananas to hear you guys worship this below average quarterback. Haney performed well. He choked at the end but overall he did what he could with what he had.

    • PackerBacker

      Finally, a voice of reason. I get so tired of people talking about how great he is. The Packers backup QB, Matt Flynn, is better than Cutler. My favorite play in a Bears game is when Cutler throws off his back foot, since it ends up being an interception 90% of the time. People also need to chill out about Caleb Hanie. He’s brand new- no experience. Look how great QB’s like Peyton Manning, Troy Aikman, etc. did in their first season. You cannot expect a backup to come in and be great. Lower your expectations and get real. I hate to break it to you all, but IF you make the playoffs you’re certainly not going anywhere. Not against highly potent offenses like Green Bay and New Orleans, where you would actually have to have your offense score enough points. (Robbie Gould field goals aren’t going to cut it.) And please don’t give me some lame excuse how your defense would be able to hold these offenses down. Didn’t happen earlier this year, isn’t going to happen now.

      • Meatless Meatball

        Wow. Do you actually watch football? In 1998, Manning’s rookie season, there wasn’t a QB better than him from about Week 8 onward. He passed for over 3700 yards and 26 touchdowns on the way to setting 5 NFL rookie records. As for Aikman, well, when he got a real running game and top-flight receiver the year following his disastrous rookie campaign, things started to turn around, and three years later, he was winning his first Super Bowl — and the game’s MVP award. You really see Hanie doing that? If you do, you must be blinder than Richard Pryor’s character from “See No Evil, Hear No Evil.”

        And if you really think Flynn is better than Cutler, you need to get off your computer and go get an MRI, ’cause I think you might have had some serious head trauma in your past. If Flynn were better than Cutler, he’d have been traded for the defensive help the Packers so sorely need.

    • Denver Deadite

      Run away meatball….

    • Lovie's Shiny Chin Scar

      Yeah, I agree. We need to replace this Cutman guy with Canie. We really should have went out and got Orkman, though,

    • Jim L

      Performed well? 3 INT’s, although one of them was not his fault. He showed some good decisionmaking and some bad. Are we gonna get the good Hanie or bad Hanie (like with Grossman)? I think he will improve at home. GO BEARS!!

      • Meatless Meatball

        And your evidence to prove that Hanie will improve is…?

    • Meatless Meatball

      Bears passing died, and Jay Cutler came here and became the best QB this town has ever seen. If you can’t recognize that, you’re not paying attention.

      • PackerBacker

        Being the best QB Chicago has ever seen is really not saying much…

    • J.M.K

      Finally, someone gets it.

      • Meatless Meatball

        …who gets it? I hope you don’t mean FC, the spelling-challenged meatball who obviously has very little understanding about quarterbacking in the National Football League.

      • jason

        Goes easy on Jim, he was obviously watching a different game. Maybe Colorado St. on DVR?

  • Jim L

    He is as bad as this writing. Terrible!

  • meesohawnee

    when i heard they announced the saving of the NBA season and now i have to stay away from 4 Derrick Rose blogs a week till june. I felt like villain in the Scooby Doo Cartoons. I would have gotten away with it…..well you can finish.
    The trib ran a poll after asking if you would have missed the NBA. 72 to 28. guess who would have the 72 if you read it on the B and B blog?
    Is Urban Meyer College football Larry Brown or am i missing something?

    • Meatless Meatball

  • Defrosted Lobster

    We never should have gotten this Cutman guy!!!! Bring back that Ortman guy!!! We never should have let him go! He had the fire and the passion, and he tried really really hard. Lovie should show more fire!!! Bring back Jo-Pa!!!

    On a serious note, Martz’s playcalls were bad, but Hanie just didn’t have the timing, accuracy, and decision making to win that game. Good effort though. They should be ok against KC and Seattle. Don’t know about that Tim Tebow though!!!!!! ;)

    • Meatless Meatball

      Don’t start…

  • dez

    lay this loss at angelo’s feet, their was no plan B for the QB position. u need 2 real qb’s to compete in the nfl

    • P.H.

      That’s a great theory dez, but what teams out there have two real QBs. I would fault him for sticking a player that everyone within the organization knows can’t play the position adequately as the primary backup for two seasons.

      The real question is if they try putting the game in Forte and Barber’s hands, can they actually carry the load, because honestly, I didn’t see much there Sunday that gave me hope going forward.

      • D.O

        Running game seemed to work better the 2nd half. If you look at their carries, they only combined carried 22 times. 12 for Forte, 10 for Barber. They combined for around 122 yards? Barber had half that on his 10 carries. They could have leaned on him more. Barber didn’t have a big breakout run to skew the numbers either.

        Pretty much IMO, if they ran 6-8 more times and passed that many less times it would have worked better overall. Just seemed Martz tried to get the passing game going a bit too much.

      • dez

        i think orton would look pretty good out there now. i can’t believe there wasn’t a phone call between angelo & elway w angelo opting to wait it out on the waiver wire because he didn’t want to pick up the backend of kyle’s contract. wouldn’t a 7th round pick for kyle sound like a steal now ?

      • Meatless Meatball

        The answer is none. No teams out there have two real QBs. In fact, there are a few who don’t even have ONE real QB.

        I feel like the real question goes beyond on-the-field players. When Kyle Orton was running Ron Turner’s version of the West Coast offense, he altered the playcalling to maximize what Orton does well and minimize what Orton does poorly. Mike Martz has to do likewise with Hanie, McCown, Enderle, or whatever disposable goon is slated to start behind Cutler.

      • Meatless Meatball

        Dez –

        No one opted “to wait it out on the waiver wire.” The Bears put in a claim, but because they have a better record than Kansas City, the Chiefs were given first dibs. And no, they couldn’t have traded anything, because the trading deadline has passed. Go peddle your Mike North impression somewhere else, guy.

  • Puddin Head

    a loss… the back up qb’s first game this year and many are in their bath tubs with razor blade in hand relax a liittle and enjoy the sport

  • Centurion

    Caleb Hanie plays pro football. There is a reason he is a pro. Dan Bernstein runs his mouth faster than any pro running back. That is all Bernstein can run..IS HIS MOUTH! Well, Dan, SUIT UP…..YOU CAN TALK THE GAME…LETS SEE IF YOU CAN PLAY THE GAME! If you can’t play ..SHUT YOUR MOUTH!

    Time to PUT UP…OR SHUT UP! Stop talking….let’ see what you got

    • Meatless Meatball

      For which NFL team to you play, Centurion? And when did you become a blogger, at that?

  • Centurion

    THE BARS LOST…because THE BEARS LOST…it was not because of one quarterback. It was because of the overly pamper DLINE…the overly pampered SPECIAL TEAMS…the OVERRATED LACHER known as BRIAN! It was also because..its hard to be tough..when your coach is named..LOVIE!

    The team lost…not Hanie……this was a team effort. They were beaten…..simple deduction on that. Couple of weeks ago they won….as a team…they lost yesterday…as a TEAM!

    • Denver Deadite

      I can feel my brain melting due to the incredible amount of stupidity displayed by the likes of asshats such as Centurion in this thread.

      • Meatless Meatball

        Meh, it’s not his fault. He got beaten by the idiot stick as a child, and his poor ravaged brain hasn’t recovered. Let’s not blame the victim here — we’re not Penn State boosters.

    • Meatless Meatball


      • Centurion

        Well, Meatless just commented on something he knows about….BEING GAY! Well, now I know where those meatballs went……

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