Bears take reins off Hanie

Chicago Bears quarterback Caleb Hanie is pressured by Kansas City Chiefs' Travis Daniels in the...

Chicago Bears quarterback Caleb Hanie is pressured by Kansas City Chiefs' Travis Daniels in the first half of their NFL football game in Chicago, Illinois, December 4, 2011. (REUTERS/Jeff Haynes)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:45 PM ET

The Chicago Bears have lost two in a row and in that time have received nothing in a positive manner from backup quarterback Caleb Hanie who has taken over the reins due to a thumb injury to Jay Cutler.

In his two games Hanie has been intercepted six times and last week was treated like a human pinatas by the Chiefs who sacked him seven times.

Given that the Bears decided not to bring an unemployed veteran quarterback in to help — calling Donovan McNabb — offensive coordinator Mike Martz has a plan of action for Sunday’s key game against the Denver Broncos.

He is about to unleash the beast and take the chains off of Hanie. He’s going to let him rip and roar and let it all hang out.

“He did a lot of good things in that game (against the Chiefs),” Martz told the Chicago Tribune. “We all — including the coaches — participated in that thing . . . We’ve got to get (Hanie) into the game a little bit earlier, probably a little bit still too conservative with him. He’s capable of probably more than what we’re doing with him. So, we’ll be a little bit more aggressive with him.”

The Broncos are warned, Hanie’s going to bring it Sunday.

“I don’t have any qualms about Caleb,” Martz said. He also says that benching Hanie has “truly never crossed” his mind.

Just the minds of most of their fans.

GOING DEEP

While Mike Martz is prepared to let it go, Falcons wide receiver Roddy White would like to wrap it up.

Last year the Falcons were the NFC’s No. 1 seed, finishing the regular season with a 13-3 record. This season the Falcons are 7-5 and in a battle for a wild-card spot.

They have been a team that is puzzling on offence given the talent on hand. Starting with quarterback Matt Ryan, the Falcons have been misfiring and have failed to take advantage of the added speed and deep threat supplied by rookie Julio Jones.

White’s solution to their difficulties in connecting on deep routes is a simple one — quit throwing deep.

I don’t know, I think we should just scrap it and just do something else,” White said. “We should just do some other things. We’ve missed a lot of them this year. I don’t really have an answer — we hit them at practice. We just can’t seem to hit them in a game.”

On the season, White has just four catches of 30 or more yards and only one of more than 40 yards. Jones, meanwhile, has four catches of 40 yards or longer.

It’s puzzling given the talent of the two wide receivers as is their penchant this season for dropping passes.

The Falcons and Ryan will be looking to get back on the beam and remain at the front of the playoff hunt when they are on the road Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.

BAD GETS WORSE

A bad season is getting worse for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It certainly has gone that way for running back LeGarrette Blount who is defending himself against accusations that he ordered two men to put a beating on another man following a car accident in an apartment parking garage following the team’s season-opening game back on Sept. 11.

According to the Tampa Tribune, Gary Holmer claims he was assaulted after his pickup truck bumped into a Ford Expedition. Holmer alleges he was cut him off as he was trying to park and three men jumped out of the vehicle. He said one man jumped on his truck while punching him repeatedly in the face. The paper said a third man — allegedly Blount — taunted him while encouraging the other two in the attack.

“In my mind I didn’t do anything wrong at all,” Blount told the Tribune, which is an odd statement when you think about it. “I didn’t orchestrate anything. I didn’t make any suggestions for anything.

“I cooperated with the cops when they came, even though I waited for two hours — two and a half hours — before they came. I cooperated with them then.’’

The newspaper said Holmer declined to press charges at the time because he feared for his safety. Blount has yet to be charged.

The 4-8 Bucs, meanwhile, are in a free-fall as they have lost six in a row.

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL? WHY BOTHER

Not much has gone right for St. Louis — the city we mean — since the Cardinals won the World Series.

Now Albert Pujols has taken off for Anaheim and the Rams, at 2-10, are stinking up the NFC West.

As bad as they’ve been, the Rams could be worse on Monday night when they face the Seahawks in Seattle as they probably have to do so without the services of either starting quarterback Sam Bradford or his backup, A.J. Feeley.

That could result in a game that could go down as the worst in Monday Night Football history.

Bradford is suffering from a high ankle sprain and has been attempting to strengthen it by running in a re-hab pool and riding an exercise bike.

Feeley, meanwhile, has a broken thumb on his right hand.

“It’s pretty sore right now, it’s pretty swollen, it’s pretty tough to grip,” Feeley said.

If Bradford can’t go, the Rams would be led by Tom Brandstater, who was drafted by Denver in 2009 and has yet to take a snap in an NFL game.

“His status is the same,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said of Bradford. “We’re trying to get it to Monday.”

The game figures to set an all-time MNF ratings low.


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