Updated: January 9, 2012 10:14AM
Coaches and players alike did all they could to deflect blame from Caleb Hanie, who will make his third NFL start Sunday in Denver.
Mike Martz: “What it comes down to, we just didn’t coach real good. When I say we, I mean me.”
Roberto Garza: “We just didn’t play well. It’s strictly on the offensive line. We have to go out there and block those guys and give him time.”
And after last Sunday’s 10-3 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, several Bears defenders accepted responsibility for not generating more turnovers.
Hanie, who has thrown six interceptions in the last two games, said it comes with the territory.
“Anytime you’re losing games as a quarterback, you’re going to get a lot of the criticism. That’s how it is in the NFL, and you’ve kind of got to grow callousness to that,” Hanie told Denver-area reporters in a conference call. “I think it’s all part of growing as a player and as a person.
“If you want to be a starter in this league, you’re going to have to deal with a lot of bad media. You’ll get some good media mixed in there, as well, so I’m not too worried about it right now.”
Hanie had better hurry because the Bears are in a tight race for the NFC’s two wild-card spots.
Surely, though, Hanie hopes he’ll fare better Sunday than he did the last time he was at the stadium at Mile High in September 2007. Despite throwing three touchdown passes for Colorado State, Hanie tossed an interception in overtime against Colorado that resulted in a game-winning field goal for the Buffaloes.
“I was a senior and had my best game ever, probably, until the overtime. It’s not a great memory,” Hanie said of the interception, adding that they did win a game there during his junior season. “I feel comfortable with the location.”
Martz said the staff needs to be “very careful with how many seven steps we do have in there.”
As for the offensive line, right tackle Lance Louis was responsible for five of the seven sacks, according to the website Pro Football Focus.
“For a guy who has been thrown over there at right tackle, who has been holding the fort pretty good,” offensive line coach Mike Tice said of Louis, “I’m not down on him. He’s down on himself a little bit right now. I don’t think he should be. We could have helped him as a staff a little more, and we will moving forward.
“He’s got to bounce back, and we all got to bounce back.”
Hanie, though, accepted responsibility for some of those sacks.
“We, as a collective unit, have to fix all the issues, and we’ll do that,” Hanie said.
“I’m completely confident in those guys. They’re playing their butts off in there.”