AL HAMNIK: Soup's on with Campbell now stirring the pot

2012-11-12T18:30:00Z 2012-11-13T20:58:04Z AL HAMNIK: Soup's on with Campbell now stirring the potAl Hamnik Times Columnist nwitimes.com
November 12, 2012 6:30 pm  • 

CHICAGO | Locker rooms hate losing.

Wind up on the short end of a score and they empty out quicker than an evacuation.

If you're media and arrive a few minutes late, you could end up interviewing the guy who washes towels, because all the stars have split.

Four ugly turnovers in a game will do that.

Sunday night's 13-6 loss to Houston tested the Bears' patience afterward and most of them failed. They couldn't wait to head for the exits. A few, like Lance Briggs, Henry Melton and Tim Jennings, stayed long enough to offer up a sound bite or two.

Maybe this quick exodus was needed. It gave the Bears more time to apply the paddles to their fading offense while the defense stews over losing despite allowing only 215 total yards.

Monday night, the Bears play at San Francisco, where they haven't won since 1985 and have dropped eight straight games. And there's a good chance they'll be without concussed quarterback Jay Cutler.

No one knows when Cutler will return. Backup Jason Campbell did a decent job Sunday, completing 11 passes for 94 yards -- 45 of which came on one play.

But no touchdowns, ground or air, is sad.

Having a kicker as your No. 1 weapon is sadder.

Monday morning quarterbacks had a field day pointing fingers and laying blame on the players and the organizations. None of it was directed at Campbell, who had thrown just one pass this season before Cutler was knocked silly.

"At halftime, the coaches said: 'You're in. Let's roll,'" Campbell said. "It's tough getting into a rhythm when you're sitting on the sidelines. It's not like we were playing against the 31st-ranked defense."

Houston welcomed him by taking away the deep ball.

"You don't get any reps during the week, so you have to get a lot of mental reps while standing back and watching," Campbell said.

Neither he nor Cutler were sacked, though Cutler threw two picks that made you swallow your gum.

Marshall caught eight passes for 107 yards and dropped a couple, including a Cutler bomb in the end zone.

Campbell completed 6-of-9 throws to Marshall, but was short on two that bounced in. He finished with a 70.9 QB rating, compared to Cutler's 16.7.

"Houston's defense held up and held tight," Campbell said. "They did a good job keeping us from whipping the ball downfield."

Until Cutler is cleared to practice and play, social media will debate whether or not Campbell can lead these sluggish Bears. Please note this is not Caleb Hanie or Josh McCown.

"If I have to play, of course, during the week I will get those practice reps and get the guys used to me as a quarterback until Jay is ready," Campbell said.

"We don't have to work that out in the middle of the game."

I have another concern, as well.

Chicago's offense isn't exactly winning the hearts of its defense and that could divide a locker room at Halas Hall that already has an echo on most days.

Win or lose.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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