Bears sign Matt Gutierrez as backup quarterback
The fourth Chiefs quarterback doesn’t look like a threat to the second Bear.
The Bears signed Matt Gutierrez as insurance for injured backup Caleb Hanie on Wednesday after former Kansas City quarterbacks Trent Green, Todd Collins and Damon Huard reportedly turned them down. Gutierrez has far less experience than the other three; he’s thrown two passes in three years for the Patriots and Chiefs, completing both for 18 yards.
Chicago’s newest quarterback stood on the sidelines and didn’t throw a single pass at his first practice Wednesday as starter Jay Cutler and rookie Dan LeFevour took all the snaps.
Bears coach Lovie Smith didn’t exactly give Gutierrez a ringing endorsement.
““When you have a quarterback who goes down, we needed another guy to make three for us,” head coach Lovie Smith said.
“No. 1, he has some experience. Some of our coaches are familiar with him. I don’t know a lot about him right now, but he’s a quarterback who has played in the league.
“We’re going to give him an opportunity. We started the process today, meeting with him and trying to catch him up so he knows what to do so we can get a chance to evaluate him on the field.”
Smith said it’s unlikely, but possible, that Gutierrez could play Saturday against Oakland in Chicago’s second preseason game.
“It’s not like we are teaching him a new sport,” Smith said. “He’s a smart guy who has been in good systems. He’s picking it up quickly. We’ll see how it goes.”
Gutierrez, cut by the Chiefs on June 14, was at home working out in California when the Bears called.
“It’s just part of the game,” Gutierrez said. “Sometimes you have to deal with situations like this. I’m just excited to come in and try to learn as fast as I can.
“Coach (Mike Martz) has had a lot of success with this offense. It’s for a reason.. … I’m going to go at it hard and see what happens.”
Martz was believed to want a more veteran backup even before Hanie suffered a minor shoulder injury in last week’s preseason opener. But the Bears new offensive coordinator said he’s happy with Hanie, who has only 11 career passing yards, as the backup to Jay Cutler.
“I’ve very pleased with Caleb,” Martz said. “He is better at this point than I ever thought he would be. Young quarterbacks are like that; you just don’t know until they play.
“Every guy in this league would like to have a veteran quarterback that knows the offense and has played well, but those are dog-gone hard to come by. These young guys develop and they develop in the system that you have and they learn it the way you want them to learn. You don’t have to unteach bad habits. There are many plusses to that as well.”
Gutierrez will now get a chance to become one of those young guys Martz likes.
“These guys will define their future in practice,” Martz said, noting Kurt Warner redefined himself from a former grocery clerk to an NFL MVP after an injury to Trent Green when Martz coached in St. Louis. “It’s kind of fun having someone I don’t know come in and see what they do. I like those situations. You let them define who they are every day in practice.”
Matt Trowbridge can be reached at 815-987-1383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.