Reality Rules Regarding Rex

I have written often about Rex Grossman here for a few weeks now.

I have never once made a value judgement about Rex, as in "He's a good, QB" or "He's a Crappy QB."

What I HAVE said is this:  If you are going to criticize Rex (or anyone else) just be ACCURATE.  And FAIR.

Most of the public perception of Rex has been shaped by his performance in 2006, when phenomenal rookie Devin Hester returned six kicks for TD's, the Bears boasted the #3 Defense in the league and, and, and . . . oh, yeah . . .Rex Grossman started all 16 games . . . and almost screwed the whole thing up!  Damn that Rex Grossman!

For example, I recently engaged in a discussion whereby someone responded (after I told him that Rex had a 'Handful of Bad games' in 2006) by saying that:

Yes he had some very good games, and some down right horrible ones, but at the end of the day he had a bad season…that is a fact.

Umm, I'm sorry.  That's just WRONG!  Most people, however, just can't get past those 'Bad Games.'  Nothing else matters cause he had some Bad Games.  No matter what, he had some Bad Games.  It's as if other QB's NEVER have those kind of (Bad) games. Sheesh! 

Also keep this in mind:  2006 was Rex's First full season as starting QB.  In his three previous seasons he only played eight games, mostly due to injury.  Players do (sometimes) get smarter and better as they progress.


Actually, here's the reality.

First, A bit of history.  It's important to understand something here.  For the most part, the Bears in modern times hadn't won much, and when they did it was usually IN SPITE of the QB, not because of the QB.  For the first eight of Walter Payton's thirteen years with the Bears they had almost no passing attack whatsoever.  It was Walter left, Walter right and Walter up the middle.  The Bears featured QB's like Bob Avellini, Mike Phipps and Vince Evans during that time. They were dreadful.  This all changed with the arrival of Jim McMahon in 1982.    McMahon was a prolific QB who set 71 NCAA passing records.  Jim McMahon could flat-out play.  The only thing holding him back, however, was 'Iron Mike' Ditka and his 'Ground & Pound' offense.

Mike Ditka ran the offense with the Bears.  Even though he was a TE in the NFL, Ditka was a Special Teams/TE's coach in Dallas before becoming the HC of the Bears in 1982.  He didn't call the plays or run the offense for the Cowboys.  The two HC's that preceded Ditka (Jack Pardee & Neill Armstrong) were defensive coaches. The three HC's that followed Ditka, (Dave Wannstedt, Dick Jauron, and Lovie Smith) were also defensive coaches.

Therefore, over the past 37 years, the Bears have employed six HC's.  Five were on the defensive side of the ball. Ditka was a TE and ST coach.  Not a true offensive coach in the bunch.  Not one!

My point?  In the Super Bowl era, Chicago has NEVER been known as a place to showcase QB's or passing offenses.  Jim McMahon was the exception, but Jim McMahon didn't need coaching.  Or a game-plan.  Often he took Ditka's play call in the huddle and said "F+++ that, we're running this instead."  McMahon defied Ditka but got away with it cause it usually worked.  McMahon thrived in Chicago in spite of the coaching and philosophy and game-planning.

How bad has QB'ing been in Chicago?  Grossman's 3,193 yards, 23 touchdowns and 16 games started in 2006 put him in the top three quarterbacks to ever play the position in 87 years of Bears football.

Back to Grossman: 

Game One.  In the 1st Quarter of their opening game against Green Bay, Grossman threw a 49 yard TD pass to Bernard Berrian, and Devin Hester returned a punt 84 yards for a TD in his first game in the NFL as the Bears won 26-0.

Grossman had a gunslinger mentality and watching him open up the game with a TD strike to Berrian was a welcome sight for big play starved Bear fans.  It also served notice to opposing defense that they couldn't just 'stack the box' and only pla and often in 2006.

Games, 2,3,4,5.  The Bears won all four games.  Grossman was a little shaky in their week three visit to Minnesota. Early in the 4th quarter he threw and INT that the Vikings returned for a TD.  But later in that quarter Grossman fired a laser strike Rashied Davis for the game's winning score to redeem himself.

Recap of the 1st 5 Games:  The Bears were 5-0.  Rex Grossman had a 102 QB Rating, 10 TD's and 3 INT's.  He played well enough to be named NFC Offensive Player-of-the-Month for September.

Five games is almost a 1/3 of the season.  Teams that get off to a 5-0 start are almost assured of making the playoffs.  The Bears shot out of the gate at 5-0 IN LARGE PART, because of Rex Grossman.  After five games Hester had his one return TD and the defense had played very well.  But Rex was a big part of the reason they sat at 5-0.  Sorry Rex Haters.  But Reality Rules.

Game Six:  The Disaster in the Desert.  Grossman had 4 INTs and a lost fumble.  He was dreadful  No doubt.  The Bears still won on two Defensive TD's and Hester's second return TD.

Game Seven:  Rex redeemed himself as the Bears scored 41 FIRST HALF points in route to a 41-10 pasting of the 49ers.  Rex had a 137.4 QB rating and threw 3 TD's.

Game Eight:  Rex played much like he did against Arizona.  He had a 36.8 QB Rating and threw 3 INT's as the Bears suffered their first defeat at the hands of the woeful Miami Dolphins.

Mid-Season Recap:  

Good/Excellent Games: Six

Bad/Terrible Games:  Two (Cardinals & Dolphins).

Games 9,10, 11:  The Bears played three straight road games on the East Coast starting in week Nine against the Giants, Jets and Patriots.  That, my friends, is a tough stretch of road games.  Rex played  pretty well in the first two (both victories) throwing 3 TD''s against 1 INT against the Giants and 1 TD against 0 INT"s against the Jets.  He played pretty badly in their loss to New England, throwing 0 TD's and 3 INT's.

Game 12:  At home the Bears beat the Vikings but Rex was terrible.  A 1.3 QB Rating with 3 INT's.

Games 13, 14, 15:  Rex played well as the Bears beat the Rams, Bucs and Lions.  Combined Rex had 5 TD's and 0 INT's.

Game 16.  A meaningless season-ender with Green Bay.  The Bears had NOTHING to play for as they had home field locked up.  Rex and a few other teammates admitted to not working hard during the week and almost treating the game as an exhibition game.  In reality it was.  Grossman, I believe, had a 0 QB Rating in this game, but I refuse to count this as again, it was meaningless and the players treated it as such.  The game was played on New Year's Eve and it looked like they were already celebrating the New Year with champagne before the game even started

Regular Season Wrap-Up:  

Excluding the meaningless Packer game, Rex had Four bad/terrible games (Arizona, Miami, Minnesota, New England).  Grossman threw 20 INT"s in 2006.  Well over Half (Thirteen) came in these four games.

The other Eleven games Rex played good to excellent in all of those eleven victories.

Four 'Bad' . .  Seven 'Good.'

Rex's bad games accounted for about 25% of the season.

As previously mentioned Rex played very well in helping the Bears shoot out to a 5-0 start.  NFC Offensive Player-of-the-Month.  102 QB Rating. 10 TD's to 3 INT's.  Winning breeds confidence and confidence breeds winning in the  NFL.  Getting off to a 5-0 start is HUGE in the NFL.   That cannot be overstated.  

Not only does it give your team a big boost of confidence but it gives your team a cushion to absorb up-coming losses.  The Bears were so confident by that point that in Week Six, when Grossman had his first 'Bad Game' against the Cardinals, they STILL won to go up 6-0.

I'm not defending Rex.  I know him better than most.  He can be good to great at times and extremely frustrating at other times.  Extremely frustrating. I'm not defending his inconsistency in 2006 and at other times.

But regarding 2006 many people make it sound like he was either:

A)  Horrible when the Bears lost.

Or Else

B)  The Defense and ST's carried the day when the Bears won.

Essentially, according to myth, the Bears either lost BECAUSE of Rex Grossman or won IN SPITE of Rex GROSSMAN.

Eleven Good - Excellent games out of Fifteen says that is NONSENSE!  Complete Nonsense.  Sorry!

Hate Rex all you want.  I don't care.  But at least be Accurate & Fair about it.

If you're going to talk about his 4 HORRIBLE games . . . then balance that out with his 11 Good-Excellent games.

That's only fair, right?

And accurate.

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