Fill-in Collins hits airwaves; Time as sub in '07, experience in Martz's system get him nod

BY foxsports • October 9, 2010

Todd Collins will lean on his experience as a fill-in quarterback when he starts Sunday at Carolina -- and he has the Bears to thank for that.

It was Mark Anderson's hit on the Redskins' Jason Campbell on Dec. 6, 2007, that ended Campbell's season and set up Collins for the most glorious run of his 16-year NFL career. Collins, who had not thrown a pass in nearly three years, torched the Bears with two touchdowns in a 24-16 victory. With the Redskins riding a wave of emotion after the death of safety Sean Taylor, Collins led them to three more victories with an overall 106.4 passer rating as Washington finished 9-7 and gained an improbable playoff berth.

If not for Anderson, Collins likely would have thrown 61 passes with no starts in the last 13 seasons before Sunday's game.

''It helps,'' Collins said of his 2007 stint. ''I've been around awhile.''

Coach Lovie Smith said Thursday that Jay Cutler would not play this weekend because of a concussion he suffered while being sacked nine times in the first half against the Giants last week at the New Meadowlands Stadium. Collins, 38, was chosen over former No. 2 quarterback Caleb Hanie to replace Cutler.

Hanie, the third-year pro from Colorado State who has waited two years for his opportunity, will have to wait a little longer.

''I'd like to start -- who doesn't?'' said Hanie, who likely would've been in line to start if not for an injury in the preseason. ''But I don't worry about that stuff.''

Hanie has better mobility -- a key factor considering the Bears allowed 10 sacks last week -- but Collins' experience made the difference.

''But that's not to say we don't like Caleb,'' Smith said. ''Caleb is capable of playing good football for us. But right now, Todd is the next guy up.''

It says all you need to know about the Bears' predicament without Cutler that they're turning to an ''experienced'' quarterback with 20 career NFL starts -- only three since 1997.

But Collins has plenty of practice experience in a Mike Martz-like system during five seasons with the Chiefs, where Al Saunders, a Martz disciple, was the offensive coordinator.

The timing and familiarity elements of Martz's system would seem to be a detriment to a quick change at quarterback.

It wasn't a problem when the Rams' Greatest Show on Turf was at its peak -- Trent Green (2000) and Marc Bulger (2003) were winners as substitutes in their first game.

But when the Rams were past their prime in 2004, 39-year-old Chris Chandler threw six interceptions and was sacked three times as a sub quarterback in a 20-7 loss at Carolina.

''It's pretty complex,'' Collins said of the Martz offense. ''I have some background in it, and I don't think it's anything insurmountable. It helps that I have some experience in it -- all the different shifts and formations, so we're going to take advantage of that.''

A LOT OF EXPERIENCE -- JUST NOT ON THE FIELD

Bears backup quarterback Todd Collins will make his first start since 2007 -- and only his fourth regular-season start since 1997 -- at Carolina on Sunday. But in 2007, Collins led the Washington Redskins on an improbable mad dash to the playoffs. He replaced injured starter Jason Campbell late in a scoreless first half. He won that game against the Bears and his three starts.

CAREER REGULAR-SEASON STATISTICS

G GS Rec. Comp. Att. Yds. TD INT

1995 BUF 7 1 0-1 14 29 112 0 1

1996 BUF 7 3 2-1 55 99 739 4 5

1997 BUF 14 13 5-8 215 391 2,367 12 13

1998-2000 Did not play

2001 KC 1 0 3 4 40 0 0

2002 KC 3 0 5 6 73 1 0

2003 KC 5 0 9 12 74 0 0

2004 KC 2 0 1 5 42 0 0

2005 KC 2 0 0 0 0 0 0

2006 WAS 1 0 0 0 0 0 0

2007 WAS 4 3 3-0 67 105 888 5 0

2008 Did not play

2009 WAS 3 0 12 23 144 0 0

2010 BEARS 1 0 4 11 36 0 1

COLLINS' BIG FINISH IN 2007

Date Opponent Comp. Att. Yds. TD INT Rating

Dec. 6 Bears (W, 24-16) 15 20 224 2 0 144.6

Dec. 16 at NYG (W, 22-10) 8 25 166 0 0 56.4

Dec. 23 at Minn (W, 32-21) 22 29 254 2 0 124.8

Dec. 30 Dallas (W, 27-6) 22 31 244 1 0 104.8



share story