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updated: 8/17/2011 8:39 PM

Bears' Hanie has backing of Martz, Cutler

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  • Caleb Hanie is still the Bears' No. 2 quarterback and doing just fine, says offensive coordinator Mike Martz.

      Caleb Hanie is still the Bears' No. 2 quarterback and doing just fine, says offensive coordinator Mike Martz.
    Associated Press

 
 

BOURBONNAIS -- Mike Martz does not foresee rookie Nathan Enderle moving past backup Caleb Hanie on the depth chart this season.

"Not unless Caleb's arm falls off or something," said the Bears' offensive coordinator.

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Martz tossed cold water on any quarterback controversies that sprang up after Hanie was benched during Monday's practice in favor of the fifth-round pick from Idaho. He said the forced inactivity of Hanie was not a punishment.

"We don't do that," Martz said. "He struggled a little bit on Saturday (in the preseason opener). Whenever a quarterback does that, you try to give them a day to (take a deep breath), sit back and kind of regroup a little bit.

"Most quarterbacks go through this. I've been through this a number of times. (Hanie) didn't have a real good outing, but he's fine. He'll recover.

"The other part of that is Nate did a real good job in the game (7-of-10 passing for 110 yards), so we wanted to learn a little bit more about Nate.

"Each week he'll get one day with the twos, and Caleb will get a few snaps with the ones. So nothing has changed. We're as we were before."

Hanie looked much better Wednesday, avoiding the interceptions that have plagued him in several recent practices.

He threw the ball more accurately than he has since Aug. 4, the first day he was allowed to practice because of regulations for free agents in the new collective-bargaining agreement.

Starting quarterback Jay Cutler thinks the week of practice that Hanie missed has contributed to his tribulations, but he noticed his backup's improvement Wednesday.

"I think it really hurt him missing those first six days of camp," Cutler said. "It's one thing to sit in the classroom and see it on the board and watch Mike teach it.

"But to go out and actually experience it is a whole different thing. He had a really good day, so he's getting back into it."

Martz absolved the offensive line of most of the responsibility for the 9 sacks the Bears surrendered Saturday, while seeming to put the blame on all three quarterbacks for holding the ball too long.

"Three of (the sacks) belonged to the offensive line," Martz said. "But the rest of them there were other things involved with the offense. Remember, of the five (O-line) positions, four of them are different (starters).

"We didn't have the time in the off-season to get these guys grounded in it. I would expect remarkable improvement over the next few weeks from that group. I'm sure it will happen."

Monday night would be an opportune time to see some improvement, since the Bears will face a New York Giants defense that sacked Cutler an NFL-record nine times in the first half in Week 4 last season and drove him from the game with a concussion.

"We should still be embarrassed by that," said offensive-line coach Mike Tice. "So now you have a chance to go in there and play better and have a chance to redeem yourself to some extent.

"It is a preseason game, but it'll be a great challenge for us physically. We'll see where we're at."

The plan is for Cutler to play more than the one series he did in the opener, possibly into the second quarter, but not if he winds up running for his life again.

Improvement needs to be evident compared to last week, when Cutler scrambled for 10 yards, but the other five plays he was in for produced a net of zero yards.

"We've got to move the ball," Cutler said. "We have to convert first downs, protect up front, and (I) have to deliver the ball on time. We have to have a good showing."

Martz will be looking to see much more than he did in the preseason opener.

"We'd like to see some consistency," he said. "Mix things up pretty good, get a little tempo going with our offense and get the ball moving down the field."

•Follow Bob's Bears reports via Twitter @BobLeGere and check out our Bear Essentials blog at dailyherald.com.

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