Smith noncommittal on Hanie as starting QB vs. Packers

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The struggling Chicago Bears just might have a new starting quarterback when they visit Green Bay this week. Then again, maybe not.

Coach Lovie Smith was noncommittal Monday when asked who will be under center when the Bears (7-7) try to stop a four-game losing streak that has all but wiped them out of the postseason picture. 

"None of those decisions have been made with any of our position (players)," he said. "We evaluate the video, which we're doing right now, and come Wednesday -- for you guys that are out here Wednesday -- you'll have an idea then."

The Bears were outscored 31-0 in the second half of Sunday's 38-14 loss to the Seattle Seahawks and Caleb Hanie was brutal again filling in for the injured Jay Cutler before getting replaced late in the game by Josh McCown.

As if losing two of their best players -- quarterback Jay Cutler and running back Matt Forte -- to injuries wasn't enough, receiver Sam Hurd's arrest on federal drug charges last week rocked the Bears. Then they watched as receiver Johnny Knox left the field on a cart with a back injury in the opening minutes Sunday. He underwent successful surgery Monday and will miss the rest of the season.

Smith, meanwhile, wasn't ruling out a return by Cutler or Forte even though the picture is looking bleak.

"Whenever a player is healthy and ready to play, you play them," Smith said. "It's as simple as that. That's what we've said from the start. That's what we say with all of our players. We're just not going to sit a player if they're healthy and they're ready to go. Neither one of those players is healthy right now."

Smith did, however, seem to rule out going with third-stringer Nathan Enderle, saying: "This isn't a tryout period, either." But he also admitted that he was not pleased with Hanie.

"Right now, we're disappointed in our quarterback play," Smith said. "It hasn't been as good as we'd like it to be. But you can say that about other positions. A lot of times, with the backup quarterback, you don't know what you have until he has to play, and you start evaluating him and what you're doing after that. We have been in the position this year where we have seen quite a bit of our backup quarterback, and again, the play hasn't been what we need it to be."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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