Garrett Wolfe, Earl Bennett, Adewale Ogunleye, and Michael Gaines escape the very Jaws of Death themselves.
I told myself I wasn't going to do this again this year, but if I had any sense, I wouldn't be typing things on the internet, so here I am doing this again. The dreaded position-by-position nerd breakdown of an entire 53-plus man football organization. God help me, I have a problem, but eh, what can you do.
QUARTERBACK: The position the Bears forgot about for roughly fifty years.
All-Time Favorite: Erik Kramer (1994 - 1998)
It's really kind of hard to pick a quarterback as my all-time favorite, simply because they really haven't had many worth mentioning since Sid Luckman took the Long Walk into the Cursed Earth in 1950 or so. But for one beautiful, glorious season in 1995 (in which the defense fell into utter ruin and the team finished 8-8, missing the playoffs) we finally found our guy, and Kramer came within spitting distance of 4,000 passing yards, the Bears had their first TWO thousand-yard receivers since Dick Gordon fell off the back of his Apatosaurus and broke his wooden underwear, and the dude ended up with something crazy like three times as many touchdowns as interceptions. Then, in 1996, Kramer pretty much broke his freaking neck and sort of dragged ass through three more seasons, before hanging it up to become a broadcaster. Such is life when you're a Bears QB.
All-Time Most Hated: Mike Tomczak (1985 - 1990)
When you're a little kid, you perceive things differently than you should. Like how for a few years, the Redskins were my most hated team, because through misunderstanding an announcer talking about how it would be Walter Payton's last game if the Bears lost, I deeply believed that there had been some nefarious plot to end Sweetness's career early by the dastardly Joe Gibbs and his lethal and illiterate henchman, Dexter Manley. But anyway, back in the day, this little dick cheese was so awful, so blood-curdlingly terrible, that I deeply believed in my heart of hearts that he was some sort of double-agent, working against the Bears on the behalf of their opponents, possibly including the Redskins themselves. Then, a few years later, in a preseason game versus the Chargers, it was revealed that Tomczak had been secretly signaling the Bears' offensive plays over to the recently-traded Jim McMahon in an attempt to sabotage Jim Harbaugh's bid for the starting job, forever confirming in my eyes that he was a traitor. I think what I'm trying to say here is that Walter Payton is dead, and somehow, it's Mike Tomczak's fault. One day, the world shall know, and the seed of crime bears bitter fruit, you treacherous swine.
The Current Situation: Jay Cutler and Caleb Hanie
A few months ago, when I first thought about the impending 2009 season, I figured I'd be spending the whole time, making jokes about Kyle Orton's whiskey-soaked neck beard and just thanking Jehovah, Allah, Buddha, Odin, Optimus Prime, and Crom that That Guy I Said I Wouldn't Talk About Anymore was safely in Houston, far, far away from Chicago. But then Josh McDaniels turned into some sort of nuclear-powered "I must remake this team in my master's image, no matter the cost" version of Dave Wannstedt, and the Bears found themselves sitting on an honest-to-God Pro Bowl quarterback in Jay Cutler. Well, at least a Pro Bowler in that he was called in as a replacement after Brett Favre decided he didn't want to take the trip to Hawaii, and whoever rigs the all-star voting had just had their dog run over by Phillip Rivers, but he's a Pro Bowler as far as I'm concerned. Let me have something, dammit. Anyway, Blood Sugar Sex Magic is almost by default the second greatest all-time Bear QB already, (hell though, Orton was probably in the top five...) and he's got the sort of crazy-ass arm that That Guy Who Used to Wear Number Eight had, but he actually manages to throw it into the general vicinity of his own team's receivers usually, and neither one of those things are typical of a Chicago passer, so I am suitably pumped.
The big problem though, is that he is indeed a Chicago Bear quarterback, and something always goes wrong there. Wrong in this case probably refers to either a concussion, several torn knee ligaments, or a case of severe hypoglycemia. And for some unknown reason, the Bears only have two QBs on the roster this year, and the other is Caleb Hanie. Like I'm sure he's a decent fellow and all, and there has to be some reason for him to be the only option should Cutler get hit by a meteorite or something, but god damn, I'd feel so much better if the next guy down the depth chart wasn't an undrafted free agent who's never thrown a real NFL pass. And when it rains quarterback disaster, it pours, so in the horrifyingly not-really-unlikely event that both guys go down in one game, who the hell is going to play quarterback? Are they just going to direct-snap it to Matt Forte until his knees turn to a fine powder? Start trying to see if Robbie Gould's leg can put the ball through the uprights from distances of 65 to 80 yards? If Cutler goes down, we're probably screwed, and if Hanie goes down, Brian Griese's retirement (that I just found out about like five minutes ago) leaves the job in the hands of that Fire Marshall Bill looking motherfucker from the practice squad, incompletion machine Brett Basanez. All of that is too horrifying to think about, because this is two-thousand-goddamn-nine, and I'm trying to be optimistic here. So as far as I'm concerned, a Hanie-led Bears team is nigh-unthinkable, and anything more could only happen in some twisted world where some grand conspiracy against Chicago football was being unhatched by Satan himself. Or perhaps... by Mike Tomczak.