Browns game no throwaway for Bears’ Caleb Hanie
BY MARK POTASH email@example.com August 31, 2011 8:40PM
Backup quarterback Caleb Hanie (12) probably will play at least the first half Thursday against the Browns. | Joe Howell~AP
Updated: May 9, 2012 9:45AM
The final preseason game Thursday is a big one for quarterback Caleb Hanie, but not because he’s trying to make the team. He just needs the work.
Hanie, a fourth-year pro, entered camp with his best grip yet on the No. 2 job, but the preseason has been a struggle. He is 29-for-53 for 305 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions, including one against the Tennessee Titans on Saturday that rookie Tommie Campbell returned 90 yards for a touchdown. Those numbers translate to a 55.9 passer rating.
With starter Jay Cutler not expected to play Thursday against the Cleveland Browns, Hanie figures to play at least the first half before giving way to rookie Nathan Enderle.
‘‘Most people view the last preseason game as, ‘Just go out and let’s get out of here,’ [but] it’s more meaningful [than that] for me,’’ Hanie said. ‘‘We’re going to go out and play hard. I’m going to go out and play my best.’’
The coaching staff seems to be giving Hanie most of the tough love in camp. Coach Lovie Smith didn’t even wait to see the film before blaming Hanie for a bad throw on the interception against the Titans. But that’s just part of the process, Hanie said.
‘‘I feel that they’re confident in me,’’ he said. ‘‘They’re just pushing me, and they see potential and want to get the best out of me. That’s how I’m viewing it.’’
Tight end Kyle Adams, an undrafted rookie from Purdue, is playing H-back and on special teams and has a real chance to make the team.
‘‘I’ll do whatever they ask me,’’ Adams said. ‘‘I’ll kick if they ask me. I can’t kick, but if they want me to, I will.’’
While some rookies might be on edge with so much at stake, Adams said he is having the time of his life.
‘‘It’s a lot of fun,’’ he said. ‘‘It could be nerve-racking, but you have to enjoy it. It’s an opportunity. Each of us rookies are living our dream. It’s awesome.’’
Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said Corey Wootton, who is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, would start practicing next week. But Amobi Okoye, Henry Melton and rookie Mario Addison are filling the third defensive end role for now.
‘‘I feel good about the guys,’’ Marinelli said.
Improved special-teams play has helped running back Kahlil Bell solidify his spot on the roster, and others can make the team by proving themselves on special teams.
‘‘It’s important because we’ve won so many games with our special teams,’’ Smith said. ‘‘A lot of people talk about how important special teams are. But around here, they [really] are.’’