Let’s assume that the Bears can get into the playoffs with just three more wins. They’d be the fifth or sixth seed since they can’t realistically catch Green Bay for the division title. Three more wins, then they’re in the playoffs, then Cutler comes back, then they rattle off four quick and easy wins, including a blowout victory in Super Bowl XLVI against whatever hapless opponent the AFC has the audacity to put in the game.
Unfortunately, the Bears are starting Caleb Hanie, which makes the aforementioned championship run that much less likely. Instead of helping the Bears win three of their last six games, he seems more interested in throwing lots of interceptions, being way too indecisive in the pocket, and committing incredibly stupid penalties that kill last-second drives. Yes, he made some plays, just like in the NFC title game last year, but an “attaboy loss” is still a loss, and the Bears need to win now. Hanie is not the solution.
That leaves five viable alternatives, assuming the Bears don’t just throw in the towel and work on improving their draft position.
#1. Start Nathan Enderle. I don’t know who he is, but he’s on the roster as a QB, so start him instead of Hanie.
#2. Start Josh McCown. This is who the Bears picked up because Orton got snapped up by Kansas City.
#3. Sign some other veteran free agent QB. Start him.
#4. Give Cutler a crash course in throwing left-handed. Start him.
#5. Play without a quarterback. Go with two tight ends. Line up Forte, Barber, and Bell in the backfield. Run the ball over and over again. “But wait,” you might say, “that’s only ten players. Who’s the eleventh?” Great question. Throw an extra lineman in the backfield for extra blocking. Split Hester or Knox out wide and have Forte toss them one every so often to keep the defense honest. Throw Podlesh back there on third down, make the D have to worry about a quick kick. Or throw Briggs or Urlacher back there, see if it confuses the defense. Or maybe you sub out Bell and put Podlesh and Gould out there at the same time– is it a run, a field goal attempt, or a punt? Who knows?
Better yet, who cares? Whatever keeps Hanie off the field.