Moon: Could Enderle pass Hanie for No. 2 spot
Moon: Could Enderle pass Hanie for No. 2 spot?
Monday, May 16, 2011
Posted: 10:58 a.m.
By John Mullin
Whether he keeps it into the season (whenever that finally does arrive) remains to be seen, but offensive coordinator Mike Martz was sporting some distinctive chin upholstery, a goatee/Vandyke combo, at Saturday’s Bears Care Gala, one of the truly outstanding charitable efforts by this or any franchise.
“This is the first time,” Martz said. “I think I was just bored.”
Neither Martz nor the rest of the Bears staff appear to be getting remotely bored in this non-offseason. The embargo on coach-player contact during the owner-player impasse has given the coaches more time to analyze both the past season and the future (Lovie Smith told CSNChicago.com that they already are studying film on the Atlanta Falcons, their Sept. 11 Opening Day opponent, and why not? They know they’ll be looking at Matt Ryan, barring the loss of any early season games.)
But Martz did make a couple of things quite clear:
Despite a story that he was offered a contract extension without a pay raise, Martz has no plans on coaching anywhere but Chicago.
“I’m very happy here,” he said. “That stuff all works out. I don’t plan on coaching anyplace else. This is where I want to be. As long as they’ll have me, I’m sure I’ll be here. That’s the way it goes. This is a great situation for me, I appreciate it, and I want to be here.”
Last offseason he made little secret of wanting a veteran backup behind quarterback Jay Cutler. He was not convinced of the NFL viability of Caleb Hanie.
Now he is. Sort of. More on that in a second.
Martz has a characterization of the Bears’ quarterback situation that sounds remarkably like the depth charts Green Bay had beneath Brett Favre, with an Aaron Brooks, Mark Brunell, Matt Hasselbeck or Aaron Rodgers in training.
Martz had a hand in the drafting of Idaho’s Nathan Enderle, giving the Bears not one NFL starter (Cutler), not two (Cutler-Hanie), but three (Cutler-Hanie-Enderle). This simply does not happen in Chicago.
“I think Caleb should be a real solid No. 2,” Martz said. “We don’t want to just sign or draft a quarterback where that’s what he is, a third quarterback. That doesn’t make us any better. We want someone with some quality at that position who can be a starter in this league. I think all three of the guys are like that.”
That wasn’t said last year after the drafting of Dan LeFevour.
The absence of an offseason all but locks in Hanie, with his one-year tender offer, at No. 2 and Enderle at No. 3, but “eventually in time [Enderle] should be a guy who competes for that [No. 2] job and plays very well.”
You do have to wonder if Hanie will ever win Martz over completely. Probably not. Enderle has never taken an NFL snap of any kind and Martz is projecting him as a challenger for the No. 2 job.
And three times last season Hanie came off the bench after a Collins disaster, in the games against the Giants, Panthers and Packers. Martz described now as “Caleb’s time” and acknowledged that Hanie “did some good things” in relief of Cutler and then Todd Collins in the NFC Championship game.
“But he’s got to get better and he knows that.”