LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Give Lovie Smith credit. He tried his absolute best to defend the indefensible.
During a season-ending press conference at Halas Hall on Monday, the Bears coach had a bizarre and downright comical exchange with reporters over the teams decision to place Todd Collins (No. 2) ahead of Caleb Hanie (No. 3) on the quarterback depth. Keep in mind, offensive coordinator Mike Martz was the person responsible for the depth chart debacle, but since assistant coaches were not available, Smith was forced to try and explain the situation.
Q: Lovie, are you going to revisit how you are going to evaluate and develop your No. 2 quarterback?
Smith: "Now why would we do that?"
Q: Well, it seemed to be a problem.
Smith: "No, I like our evaluation of our quarterbacks. You have a No. 1, if he goes down, you have a No. 2. If that doesn't work, you're able to go to your No. 3. We were able to do that and end up with our No. 3, and he was able to put us in a position to possibly win that game. I like our evaluation of our quarterbacks right now.
Q: Shouldn't Hanie have been the No. 2?
Smith: "No, I think you go to No. 2 next and if No. 2 can't do it, you go to No. 3. Which we did. I like that sequence."
Q: But if No. 2 couldn't do it, doesn't that say No. 3 should have been No. 2?
Smith: "No, that's saying No. 2 didn't do the job [Sunday], and we went to No. 3, and I liked what No. 3 was able to do. I think I answered your question.
Q: How did Todd Collins stay No. 2 after throwing four interceptions in Carolina. That's probably a better question.
Smith: "Because we went through practice and we thought he gave us our best chance. We like a veteran being in that position. No more than that. You never know what your second and your third quarterback can do until they play again. Our guys got a chance to play, and we went through the process again with them. We gave No. 2 an opportunity, he didn't do the job, and we gave No. 3 [a chance], and we were really pleased with what he was able to do."
OK, that's all cleared up.