Then, even after Collins was intercepted four times against the Panthers and completed 6 of 16 passes for 32 yards and a passer rating of 6.2 in his only start, he remained the No. 2 quarterback because Martz felt better with a veteran quarterback backing up Jay Cutler rather than inexperienced Caleb Hanie
After Cutler was injured in the NFC Championship Game, Collins was still No. 2, and he was awful in relief.
"We know what Johnny can do out there," Cutler said. "He's going to be a guy who's going to come in there and provide valuable minutes and make big catches for us. I don't think anyone in this building is really concerned about Johnny and his ability to play in this offense or his ability to play on Sundays."
--Robbie Gould missed as many field goals in the first three preseason games as he did in the entire 2006 regular season and the 2009 regular season. He's already missed one more field goal than he did in the 2008 regular season.
Gould has missed 4 of his 9 attempts in the preseason, but it's not time to panic. Two of the misses came from 55 and 56 yards, but the other two were from 29 and 34 yards, which could be a cause for concern.
It probably isn't. Gould is working with a new holder, punter Adam Podlesh, who was signed as an unrestricted free agent after the Bears parted ways with their punter of the previous 10 years, Brad Maynard.
The only holder Gould had ever worked with since he joined the Bears in 2005 was Maynard. So it might take Gould a little more time with Podlesh to achieve the same level of confidence he had with Maynard.
They have just a few more days to get in sync.
--After Thursday night's final preseason game, Soldier Field's notoriously inadequate playing surface will be re-sodded in time for the Bears' season opener on Sept. 11 against the Falcons.
Quarterback Jay Cutler is quite excited to play on the new surface.
"I'm sure it's going to be pristine," he said, smirking.
--The Bears had just three sacks in the first three preseason games, all by backup Amobi Okoye, an unrestricted free agent and former 10th overall pick of the Houston Texans.
BY THE NUMBERS
14 - NFL-record combined kick-return touchdowns by Devin Hester, including three last season. He reached that mark in just 76 games and 291 chances; Brian Mitchell, who is second with 13 kick-return TD's, played in 223 games and had 1,070 chances.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"It was the first preseason game that I thought all five front guys played well enough for us to have a chance to win the game offensively." --OL coach Mike Tice after the third preseason game, a 14-13 loss to the Titans.
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