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Bears not interested in Favre or McNabb, playoff destiny likely rests with Hanie

December 6, 2011

Caleb Hanie

Online Staff Report

The Chicago Bears, who are 0-2 since starting quarterback Jay Cutler was sidelined with a fractured right thumb Nov. 20, do not appear interested in signing either Brett Favre or Donovan McNabb.

Favre, 42, reportedly said Dec. 5 he would listen if the Bears were interested in making him an offer. However, ESPN’s Ed Werder reported Dec. 6 that a high-ranking Bears source said the Bears have no interest in the future Hall of Famer.

Sources also indicated the Bears might be interested in signing McNabb, who was released by the Minnesota Vikings Dec. 1. However, Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith said during his Dec. 5 news conference: “We’re not looking on the outside. We’re not having a quarterback tryout or anything like that. These are our guys and we’re all going to get better.”

Our guys” are led by 26-year-old Hanie, who threw for 254 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions in a 25-20 loss at Oakland Nov. 27, and 133 yards, zero touchdowns and three interceptions in a 10-3 loss at home against Kansas City Dec. 4.

Second on the depth chart behind Hanie is 23-year-old rookie Nathan Enderle, who has yet to take a regular-season snap. Third on the depth chart is the recently acquired Josh McCown, 32, who has 31 career starts as a journeyman and last played in 2009.

The Bears are hopeful Cutler could return before the end of the regular season after undergoing surgery on his fractured right thumb. Cutler, however, has said he may miss the rest of the season.

Bears wide receiver and returner Devin Hester told ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike in the Morning that bringing in another quarterback at this stage would be “a waste of time.”

It’s going to be tough right now to add a quarterback that hasn’t played in a Mike Martz offense,” Hester said. “It’s one of the more difficult offenses to run, so to get a quarterback that hasn’t been in that offense, right now it’s going to be a waste of time. I guess we’ll stick with the guys we have right now and hope we get better with those guys.”

The Bears had won five-straight games with Cutler as the starter. He was hurt during the Bears’ last victory, a 31-20 home win over the San Diego Chargers Nov. 20.

Further complicating matters for the Bears, starting running back Matt Forte is expected to miss two to six weeks with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee. Forte was injured in the first quarter of the 10-3 loss to Kansas City Dec. 4. The Bears do expect Forte to return before the end of the season. Filling in for Forte, Marion Barber had 14 carries for 44 yards and Kahlil Bell had four carries for 34 yards in the loss.

With the undefeated Green Bay Packers clinching the NFC North, the Bears’ playoff hopes rest with obtaining one of two NFC wild-card berths. Main contenders for NFC wild-card berths include Chicago, Detroit and Atlanta, all at 7-5, and the New York Giants, at 6-6.

Remaining schedules of the wild-card contenders are as follow, by team:

Chicago — At Denver Dec. 11, home against Seattle Dec. 18, at Green Bay Dec. 25 and at Minnesota Jan. 1.

Detroit — Home against Minnesota Dec. 11, at Oakland Dec. 18, home against San Diego Dec. 24 and at Green Bay Jan. 1.

Atlanta — At Carolina Dec. 11, home against Jacksonville Dec. 15, at New Orleans Dec. 26 and at Tampa Bay Jan. 1.

New York Giants — At Dallas Dec. 11, home against Washington Dec. 18, at the New York Jets Dec. 24 and home against Dallas Jan. 1.

The Dallas Cowboys are in first place in the NFC East, but are just one game ahead of the Giants. The Cowboys’ remaining schedule is home against the New York Giants Dec. 11, at Tampa Bay Dec. 17, home against Philadelphia Dec. 24 and at the New York Giants Jan. 1.

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