Five Lessons for Hanie to Take from Sunday

When Caleb Hanie took the field on Sunday, perhaps you hoped (like I did) that he would shock us all. Maybe Hanie would have a Tom Brady-like performance, making us all wonder why this quarterbacking savant was the back-up. Perhaps it would all turn into a QB controversy, the kind where the Bears are stuck with two good quarterbacks, and not being forced to choose between the one who would hurt the team the least. Perhaps you knew that this was unlikely, but still held out hope.

Those hopes were quickly dashed as the Bears' first three offensive drives ended in two punts and an interception. But since this was Hanie's first start, he has to look at it as a learning experience. What does Hanie need to take away from that game chock-full of teachable moments?

Calm down: The first quarter was just plain awful. Hanie said after the game that he was amped up, and he has to learn that there can be too much excitement in a game. Quarterbacks have to run the game plan, stay calm when being rushed by 275-lb. defensive ends and make snap decisions. He should be amped going into the game, but not so frenzied that he cannot stay focused. Take a few deep breaths, Caleb.

Throw out of bounds: Perhaps throwing the ball out of bounds to avoid a sack is not as easy as it appears, because Hanie had trouble with it. One of Hanie's three interceptions was a out-of-bounds pass gone wrong. If he can't get the ball out of bounds, he needs to take the sack, as a loss of yardage is better than losing the ball.

Have faith in his protection: Hanie was sacked four times yesterday, but that number can be attributed to his tendency to hold onto the ball for too long. The offensive line did fantastic work on Sunday, and Hanie will be much better in the pocket if he trusts that the pocket will hold.

Improve communication and limit penalties: Hanie didn't truly feel like a Bears QB until he had a random timeout and a delay of game penalty. Perhaps it was the noise in Oakland, or Mike Martz's inability to communicate with Hanie. Whatever the reason, Hanie and Martz cannot hope to win when they are losing yardage via penalties.

Learn every game situation: Every other suggestion for Hanie depends upon him handling game situations well. Did he know the rules behind spiking the ball when he did it incorrectly, costing the Bears a shot at a hail Mary play? Even if he did, actually executing the proper spike is something he should have done at least once in practice.

Hanie has to work kinks out, but he's in the bad position of still working kinks out while his opponents are in mid-season form. He can get better. He can help the Bears stay afloat, but he has to shake off this game and get ready for the Chiefs.

Copyright FREEL - NBC Local Media
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