Martz's Hate Affair With Hanie Surfaces Again? Enderle Gets 2nd Team Reps
Updated: August 15, 2011, 8:29 PM ET
Nate Enderle takes second-team reps
By Jeff Dickerson
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- In a surprise move, Chicago Bears rookie quarterback Nate Enderle handled all the reps with the second team, instead of No. 2 Caleb Hanie, during practice on Monday.
Enderle, the Bears' fifth-round draft pick out of Idaho, was 7-for-10 for 110 yards and one interception in the team's preseason opener versus the Buffalo Bills last Saturday night.
Hanie completed 3-of-7 passes and scored the team's lone touchdown on a 4-yard run.
"It's no punishment, it's no rewards," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "You look at how a guy played and that determines what types of reps he gets the following the week. Nate hasn't gotten hardly any reps in practice. He did a few things and we want to see what he can do when he gets a few more reps at practice.
"Caleb didn't play as well as I thought he did initially. But (it was the) first preseason game and all the guys will get better."
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Hanie's position on the depth chart has been in constant flux ever since the Bears hired offensive coordinator Mike Martz prior to the 2010 season. After the former undrafted free agent got hurt last year in the Bears preseason opener in San Diego, Martz pushed for the organization to sign a veteran quarterback. The club eventually settled on Todd Collins, who turned in a disastrous performance (four interceptions) filling in for a concussed Jay Cutler Week 5 at Carolina. Martz then promoted Hanie back to No. 2 only to re-insert Collins in the backup role for the remainder of the season following the Bears' bye week in November.
That depth chart tweak by Martz cost the Bears dearly in the NFC Championship game, when Collins once again turned out to be ineffective in relief of Cutler. Hanie eventually came off the bench and nearly led the Bears back from a 14-0 fourth-quarter deficit. He was 13-of-20 for 153 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions against one of the NFL's top defenses.
Hanie had a rough last week of practice with several interceptions on consecutive days in the red zone.
"We're trying to work through some new plays so it's not going to time up right sometimes," he said. "Bad throw, bad route, everything that can happen in practice. ... You don't want to throw picks ever, but sometimes it's necessary (in practice) for the learning process. Or not necessary but you're glad that it happens sometimes because looking back on it, you learn a lot from them."
The Bears' second official depth chart is due out later this week in advance of the second preseason game against the Giants on Monday night at New York.
Enderle's first inkling the coaching staff planned to make the change came in Monday's practice "when Coach Martz yelled out my name."
"I just go in when they tell me to go in," Enderle said. "It's good to get the mental reps in, sitting back and watching the older guys do it, but it's also nice to get in and also physically get the reps."
Getting some early reps helped Enderle be ready for his first professional game experience on Saturday.
"The first week (of training camp) was good," Enderle said, "because Caleb being (a veteran free agent) had to sit out that first week, so I got a lot more reps than I thought I was ever going to get, so that helped a bunch. Now it's kind of what I expected in practice.
"The speed of the game isn't so much different but you have to be more precise. Everybody is a good athlete and everybody's doing their job right, so it's just who has better technique."
Hanie left the practice field without comment. Martz only addresses the media one time per week on Wednesday.
Jeff Dickerson covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000. Melissa Isaacson contributed to this report.