Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bears Still Searching for Points with Matthews at QB

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bears Still Searching for Points with Matthews at QB

Article excerpt

Byline: Bart Hubbuch, Times-Union sports writer

Shane Matthews, like his coach, isn't feeling very comfortable these days.

The former Florida star is the Chicago Bears' starting quarterback -- for now. But with the Bears struggling once again to find the end zone, Matthews' hold on the starting job is a tenuous one.

It's possible the Jaguars, assuming this week's NFL games are played, might not see Matthews for long Sunday when they play the Bears at Soldier Field. Ex-Jaguar Jim Miller is lurking in the shadows, and former Gator Danny Wuerffel is Chicago's third quarterback.

It all sounds very murky, but such is life when you're the quarterback of a team without an offensive touchdown in eight of its past 17 games.

"I've learned to ignore it and just play," Matthews told Chicago reporters. "I've won more games than anybody here the past two years, and I played well at the end of last year. I think I'm a good fit for this team."

If Matthews is a good fit, it would be for the first time in his eight-year NFL career. He was a record-setting passer at Florida and led the Gators to a pair of Southeastern Conference championships, but his lack of arm strength has made Matthews little more than a journeyman as a pro.

Matthews wasn't even drafted out of college and has been waived four times, including three times by Chicago. He also has endured four NFL seasons without even throwing a pass and survived a post-hernia infection a year ago that endangered his life.

Compared to that, Matthews welcomes the microscope that comes with being the Bears' starting quarterback in a football-crazy city like Chicago.

"It just comes down to having confidence in yourself," Matthews said. "The quarterback in our offense has to be smart, make quick decisions and throw the ball accurately. I feel like I do all of those things well."

Matthews certainly didn't do those things well last week against Baltimore, completing 24 of 39 passes for just 138 yards and -- most glaringly -- no touchdowns in a 17-6 loss.

The heat is on Matthews because the Bears' ineptitude inside the 20-yard line makes the Jaguars' red-zone woes pale in comparison. …

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