Bear fans were expecting the magic Caleb Hanie displayed in the NFC Championship game last January against the Packers, they got something else. Caleb Hanie threw 3 interceptions and overall played a decent game against the Raiders yesterday. Were our expectations too high? Did Hanie perform just fine for his first NFL start ever? Are we as a fan base too critical? Let's delve into those questions.
First off Caleb Hanie was 18 of 36 for 254 yards, 2 TD's, and 3 interceptions. He added 5 carries for 50 yards on the ground. His mobility contributed to several very nice runs. One of which came on a 3rd and 18, which he scrambled and picked up the first down with a gain of 24 yards. As I watched that play live, my jaw dropped to the floor. If Hanie can develop his throwing skills, he will be a very valuable asset to have at Quarterback. Having the ability to pick up 24 yards on 3rd down and 18 is great. It appears he has the perfect medium of when to stick with the designed routes, and when to scramble. That is one huge plus for Hanie.
As far as his interceptions go, he didn't throw any in the 2nd half of the game. That is one plus. One huge negative was he had 3 1st half interceptions. Two of which were errant passes and the 3rd was an abysmal playcall at the goalline. Instead of punching it in with Forte or Marion Barber, we decide to call a roll-out, TE screen pass that would get picked off. Luckily Lance Louis sprinted down the field to stop the touchdown. Pretty admirable considering he's our right guard.
His two touchdown passes were pretty nice. One of them came on a short pass to Kellen Davis which he went through all of his progressions to find Davis coming across the formation in the end zone. The second of which was a BOMB to Johnny Knox which almost reminded me of a Rex Grossman heave.
Hopefully the jitters are out and Hanie performs well against the Kansas City Chiefs next week. I would give him a C-, which is about what you would expect for a 1st career start. He has a lot of potential, let's hope it strings all together. We need to give him more help and not allow Forte to have less than 25 carries again.