BOURBONNAIS - Bears backup quarterback Caleb Hanie says he isn't worried about losing the No. 2 job while his injured right shoulder heals, and offensive coordinator Mike Martz gave him a vote of confidence Wednesday.
"Caleb is further than I thought he would be," Martz said. "You go through growing pains, and we put a lot of pressure on him trying to get him ready and stress him out a little bit. He went through that phase and he's fought through it real well and he understands what we're doing and he's done a real nice job. I was very pleased with him in that (first preseason) game."
Hanie completed 10 of 17 passes for 148 yards with 1 TD and 1 interception for a passer rating of 82.5, but his night ended early and painfully when he landed on his throwing shoulder while being sacked.
"There are some things that you don't want to him to do mistake-wise, and he's just got to make those mistakes in the preseason and clean them up," Martz said. "But he understands those things. He is better at this point than I ever thought he would be. Young quarterbacks like that, you just don't know until they play. But when I watched him play, I was very impressed with him."
The problem now is that Hanie is in a holding pattern for the near future, while the backup work goes to sixth-round draft pick Dan LeFevour and street free agent Matt Gutierrez, who was signed Wednesday.
If Gutierrez plays at all in Saturday's preseason game, it wouldn't be more than a few plays. Starter Jay Cutler is expected to play the first half, with LeFevour getting most, if not all, of the second half, as he continues to develop.
"I like some of the things Dan LeFevour has done, being able to get more (practice) reps," coach Lovie Smith said. "We've seen improvement from him each day."
But the rookie is still a long way from being ready to play effectively in a regular-season game. The Bears failed in their attempts to woo veteran quarterbacks Trent Green and Todd Collins, which opened the door for the unheralded Gutierrez. But Bears didn't have a lot of options.
"We need a quarterback, No. 1," Smith said when asked what Gutierrez brought to the team. "He has some experience, and some of our coaches are familiar with him. I don't know a lot about him right now, but he's a quarterback who's played in the league. We're going to give him an opportunity."
Gutierrez, who was undrafted out of Idaho State in 2007, has thrown just 2 passes in three NFL seasons. When the Bears called, Gutierrez was home in California, contemplating a gig with the Omaha Nighthawks of the UFL. It's possible he could be out of a job as soon as Hanie is healthy, but he could conceivably pass LeFevour for the No. 3 job, which probably means a spot on the practice squad.
For now Gutierrez is diving into Martz's complex playbook. His activity at Wednesday afternoon's practice was limited to throwing to wide receivers in individual work.
"I'm just happy to be here and compete and get on the field and try to learn it as fast as I can," the 6-foot-4 Gutierrez said. "Obviously coach (Martz) has had a lot of success with the offense, and it's for a reason."
Martz says he'll let each quarterback's performance on the practice field and in preseason games determine their fate.
"These guys will define their future in practice," Martz said. "I didn't know Danny or Caleb, and I'm very pleased with both of those guys. It's kind of fun having someone I don't know and am unfamiliar with just kind of come in and see what they do. I like those situations. You let them define who they are every day in practice. I'm looking forward to it."