As one would expect, the local and national media has reamed Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith about their underachieving quarterback Rex Grossman. And as has been the case lately, Smith is asking for patience regarding Grossman. Smith, as his nature would dictate, will not publicly say this, but he and more than likely the Bears’ brass has put Grossman on notice.
And why not? In two games so far, Grossman, while completing 56% of his passes, has been intercepted 3 times, been sacked 6 times, and what is probably most telling has a sickly 55.1 passer rating. That folks ranks Grossman last in the NFL for passer efficiency. Granted this is Grossman’s 2nd season as the Bears’ starting QB, but even Smith has to be losing some patience in the development (or lack thereof) of Grossman.
But to be fair, I wouldn’t pin all of the blame on Grossman; a decided lack of pass protection despite the same 11 starters on offense (except running back Cedric Benson) doesn’t exactly help, either. As Smith explained it to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times, ”If you’re doing well pass-wise, it’s a combination of things. It’s protection, it’s the quarterback throwing the ball to the receivers, pitch and catch. Right now, I’m going to say the entire operation, we’re just not there. We made progress offensively as I saw it this past week [by] getting our running game going. The next phase of it will be to bring the passing game along with it, too.”
But back to Grossman. The mistakes he is making aren’t your usual rookie mistakes. As opposed to trying to rifle a possible completion into a tiny hole say 30 or so yards downfield, he is making what appears to be misreads in defensive schemes and coverage; a good example – against the Chiefs last Sunday, Grossman lobbed a pass that was intended for wide receiver Rashied Davis. It was instead lobbed to Chiefs’ LB Napoleon Harris. Grossman’s excuse? He didn’t see fellow Chiefs LB Donnie Edwards coming.
From all accounts, there seems to be a recurring theme here: Grossman and his lack of development as a QB. And if there’s not some marked improvement very soon, I would not be surprised to see Smith yank Grossman out and replace him with reserve QB Brian Griese, perhaps on a permanent basis. Griese couldn’t possibly be worse than Grossman, could he? The Bears’ defense needs to spend less time on the field – not more.