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Josh McCown feels Bears fans’ pain

Caleb Hanie (above) will return bench favor Josh McCown Sunday night against Packers. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

Caleb Hanie (above) will return to the bench in favor of Josh McCown on Sunday night against the Packers. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: January 25, 2012 8:09AM



Josh McCown recognizes the frustration of Bears fans. A four-game losing streak has forced them to rely on mathematics to figure out the handful of ways the team can reach the postseason.

The Bears’ new starting quarterback understands that expectations are low.

“I’m just going to go in and compete and do the best I possibly can and see what happens,” McCown said. “I understand where people are coming from. Anytime a team is on their third quarterback, you kind of go through it a little bit, especially when you lose a guy like Jay Cutler, and Johnny Knox and Matt Forte. It’s a long list, and it’s tough. But the guys here are still fighting.”

After blowing a 14-7 halftime lead and surrendering 31 unanswered points to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, the Bears are looking to keep faint playoff hopes alive behind McCown.

He hasn’t started since 2007, but the 32-year-old said he’s excited about the chance to start Sunday night at Lambeau Field against the Green Bay Packers.

“It was a solid week, just getting into a groove with the guys,” he said. “We’re just going to get after it.”

Earl Bennett said that McCown looked good in practice.

“He was sharp, making all his right reads,” Bennett said. “He throws a real good ball. I look forward to this game.”

Bennett and Caleb Hanie didn’t have much of a chemistry. Bennett caught only three passes for 30 yards in the last four games.

With Matt Forte (knee) out and Marion Barber (calf) doubtful, the Bears will give the ball to Kahlil Bell against the Packers’ 31st-ranked defense.

“For us, we get off the bus running the ball,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said. “So we have to be able to do that. But there will come times when we will pass the football, and we’ll be able to do it.

“Josh, it’s not his first time to the rodeo, by any means. He’s excited about this opportunity.”

Injury update

Devin Hester isn’t giving up on the game, even though Smith said it’s “not looking real good.”

“There’s still hope. I got time,” said Hester, who didn’t practice this week and is questionable.

He noted that the Bears don’t play until Sunday night, but he said he doesn’t know how much his ankle has improved just by walking. He’ll have to test it in warmups.

With Barber likely out, rookie Armando Allen might get some time at running back. Smith said Allen has quickness and speed and is “bright-eyed.”

If Hester doesn’t play, Allen also might handle kickoff returns and Bennett would handle punts.



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