"First off, each year you learn something," Smith said. "We thought we had a better plan at the quarterback position. I knew how valuable Jay was to us and that won’t change, but we do need to get ourselves in a better position at that backup quarterback position."
The Bears' franchise quarterback, Jay Cutler, went down with a broken thumb in Week 11. In Cutler's absence, the team went on a five-game losing streak, finishing the season at 8-8 after leading the division with a 7-3 record before the Cutler injury.
In Jay's absence, the team employed the duo of QB Caleb Hanie, whose 41.8 quarterback rating led to a 0-4 record, and QB Josh McCown, who played well, but sported only a 68.3 QB rating and a 1-1 record. Smith suggested the team will likely look to strengthen their quarterback position via free agency this offseason:
"...There are a lot of options out there. I think this is an attractive place for a quarterback and we’re going to look at people. I’m talking Caleb (Hanie), Josh (McCown) and of course free-agent quarterbacks out there. I just feel like we’ll be able to strengthen that position more than we were this past year."
The Bears also had rookie QB Nathan Enderle on the roster in 2011, but Smith said his rookie status prevented him from "being a factor last year."
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