ChicagoBears.com senior writer Larry Mayer speaks with general manager Jerry Angelo about the most pressing issues involving the Bears every week during the season.
LM: How would you assess how Caleb Hanie played in his first start and how confident are you that he will continue to improve as he did in the second half against the Raiders?
Caleb Hanie passed for 254 yards and 2 touchdowns in Sunday's loss in Oakland.
JA: “I’m confident that he’s going to improve. I like a lot of things he did. But the bottom line with quarterbacks is taking care of the football. Caleb has everything you look for physically-speaking; he has a big arm, he’s strong, he’s tough, and he can make plays with his feet. Now it’s a matter of growing from this game. Quarterbacks are measured by wins and losses. I’m confident we can win with Caleb, and we need to win with him now.”
LM: Has Jay Cutler started his rehab yet following thumb surgery and is he still expected to return before the end of the regular season?
JA: “Jay has started his rehab this week, mainly with range of motion and strengthening exercises. Nothing has changed with his timetable. But our focus right now as a football team is on Caleb. What we need to do at this point we need to do with Caleb. That has to be our mentality.”
LM: Ex-Bears quarterback Kyle Orton might start for the Chiefs Sunday at Soldier Field. I know the Bears put in a waiver claim for Orton last week, but he was awarded to Kansas City because the Chiefs had a worse record. What are your thoughts on Kyle?
JA: “I like Kyle a lot. There’s nothing not to like about Kyle. To me, he exemplifies what you look for at that position intangibly-speaking with his toughness, work ethic and intelligence. He got better when he went to Denver. I don’t know what happened in Denver, why it didn’t work out for him, but they paid him a lot of money to keep him around. We put in a claim because we felt like he could help our football team given his experience, not because we don’t like or trust Caleb.”
LM: How much of a role did Orton’s inclusion in the deal play in being able to acquire Jay Cutler in the 2009 trade with the Broncos?
JA: “That was the tiebreaker. The Broncos could get compensation; a lot of teams were willing to give up the draft picks, but getting Kyle in the deal made us the most attractive team to deal with.”
LM: Josh McCown was inactive last Sunday against the Raiders because he joined the Bears so late in the week. But he was signed to serve as the No. 2 quarterback, right?
JA: “Yes, he was brought in to be the No. 2. The familiarity with the system and the experience he brings to the position is what we were looking for. Mike Martz’s relationship with him had a lot to do with why we signed Josh. He’s a great worker and a bright kid. Hopefully we can get him up and running this week.”
LM: What did right tackle Lance Louis show you by running down Raiders linebacker Kamerion Wimbley to save a touchdown?
JA: “That play is really a testament to Lance’s overall talent and competitive nature. That’s the way he plays. Lance is a tough guy and a great competitor, and that’s what we’re seeing with him. We put him out at right tackle—a position he had never played in the NFL—and he’s done a heck of a job.”