The Griese's always greener

>> Sunday

(Sorry, that's the best I've got tonight.)

I'll be the first to admit that my particular opinion on the Grossman-benching topic has little credibility or relevance, but since every Bears fan seems to have one, allow me to be the first YCSer to share his and stir up a little discussion.

On the whole, I think the debate itself is more interesting than a would-be decision between the Grossman and Griese. Should the Bears bench Grossman or stick with him, how drastically could the ends differ? Win the Super Bowl on fall short somewhere, I guess. But would the odds for each outcome differ much between the two options? With these sorts of questions, I typically say no. Same goes with this one.

I guess what strikes me about the discussion is the classic "grass is always greener" menatlity. Or maybe it's the "have your cake and eat it too" thing. Or maybe it's both; I've never been too good with folksy sayings. But basically what I'm collectively hearing from Bears fans and analysts is, "We like Rex's big-play ability, but we can't have a guy who's gonna make big mistakes and turn the ball over all the time, so what we really need is a guy who takes-what-the-defense-gives-him and protects the ball but who can also make a big play when he needs to, so basically we want a guy who won't make mistakes but will make those risky big-play throws--so long as he's 100% certain that they'll always work without fail."

In my limited football knowledge, my skewed take on the situation is as follows. First, I think football fans very easily forget that nearly every quarterback everywhere has ceratin strengths and limitations. There are so few Favres and Mannings (, Peyton, that is). And with most NFL quarterback substitutions, I believe teams simply opt for a different--though not necessarily better--set of strengths and weaknesses. In terms of winning contribution, what is sacrificed (say, 20+ yard pass plays) often washes out what is gained (say, turnover margin). Would Griese-Grossman be one of those situations? Honestly, following Brian Griese's career hasn't been one of my priorities as a football fan over the last ten years, so I'd only be guessing.

Also, I think people who are quick to tread on Rex Grossman also gloss over the really important common link among Rex's crappy performances. In those games, it's been total Graham Parker--"I can't get, I can't get no-ohh protection." I just wonder why everyone has mentioned the dropoff in Grossman's play but has made slight mention of the dropoff in the pass blocking. Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't Rex been throwing under tons more pressure lately? Or am I just imagining this?

Let's say that Griese plays in a few of these games and faces the same pressure that Grossman has. Maybe Griese doesn't get picked off three or four times, but what would he do instead? I'm gonna guess he A) takes a bunch of sacks, B) throws a bunch of quick four-yard passes that lead to three-and-outs, or C) does both. Over the course of a game, does this style really offer any advantage over the combo of interceptions and positive yardage?

Feel free as well to discuss the abilities of Bernard Berrian and Muhsin Muhammad because that's not my place to do so. But I do feel compelled to mention that Rex's third and fourth options at receiver have been a guy coming off a season lost to injury and another guy who hadn't really played the position until this preseason. Don't get me wrong; I love Rashied Davis (a.k.a. 'Shied-not-'Sheed, a.k.a. 'Shied-with-an-"I"), but I think a more experienced receiver would've made a better play on Rex's third interception this afternoon. Then again, third receivers are third receivers, so maybe I'm just making excuses now.

I guess my point, if I have one, is that appearances can be deceiving, and players with risk-taking styles appear worse when they fail. For the low-risk guy, failure is usually a gradual series of non-successes--individually harmless but collectively, a slow drain on the team's good fortune. The Grossman-type failures are pronounced, ugly, immediate, and occasionally catastrophic. Basically, it's the Adam Dunn debate but with a different sport.

Change-mongers also have to remember how much a quarterback substitution impacts the other players on offense, not to mention the offensive play-calling. Considering that the season is now eleven games old, could that much possibly be gained by benching Grossman to make the decision worthwhile at this point? I really have no clue.

Zuch and Matt (and ok, you too Nate)--help me out. Am I making any sense? Is the whole concept of benching Grossman ridiculous for people to bring up, or are people like me just stubborn?

8 comments:

Vinnie 9:33 PM  

Right away, let me apologize for the forced, obscure music reference. It's meant to amuse me and my brother only, and I promise to never pull that again. Having said that, it stays. And I regret nothing.

Seeing the replay of the third interception, I guess it was more of an overthrow than I'd originally realized. But I'll stick by the point anyway.

Mike 8:27 AM  

I think that pun-happy headline beats out all the Chicago newspapers today.

Trib: Train Rex (my favorite)
Daily Herald: A Tale of Two QBs
Sun-Times: GROSS-Man!

Vinnie 12:22 PM  

I'd say the Sun-Times was the winner there.

Frank the Tank 12:52 PM  

I tend to side with you in the belief that the Bears offense overall wouldn't see very much (if any) improvement just by benching Rex. Brian Griese is a serviceable and solid #2 guy that can provide relief in a pinch, yet I don't see him being the world-beater that's going to lead us to the Super Bowl. If we're fortunate enough to get out of the NFC playoffs, a "game manager" isn't going to cut it against high-powered AFC offenses such as Indy or San Diego.

That being said, the most maddening thing about Rex for me is that there's absolutely no consistency from him on a game-to-game basis. He's either light-out on fire with his passes or is so off that an opposing cornerback like Asante Samuel ends up being the top "receiver" for the Bears. Granted, the only time most Bears QBs have ever shown any consistency is when they're consistently bad, but it's frightening to so see the huge swings in Rex's performances.

peter tom willis,  2:18 PM  

Anyone who can quote Graham Parker is alright with me.

Considering how soft the rest of the sked is, I say keep Rex in there. The Bears lost to one of the NFL's elite teams at home by only 4; that's no reason to panic. The extra confidence can only help him in the playoffs.

Doc P,  2:26 PM  

guys, Guys, GUYS! Your team is 9-2. Please just enjoy the victories, and leave the QB controversy for crappy teams like my Redskins (well, Brunell's career is pretty much over...). Honestly, which sounds more likely, Super Bowl winning QB Rex Grossman, or Super Bowl winning QB Brian Greise?

Nathan 7:32 PM  

"And, OK, you too Nate."??? What the hell is that?

Now you don't even deserve my two cents.

But what the hell...um, Griese sucks. He's been on teams with great defenses (Denver and Tampa Bay) and never won anything. The idea of having a quarterback who will "not lose the game" has worked in the past. Tampa Bay won with Brad Johnson, and Baltimore won with Trent Dilfer. With Griese at the helm, the Bears could probably get to the NFC championship and maybe even the Super Bowl. But if they want to win it all, they're going to need Good Rex. Of course, that takes the risk of Bad Rex showing up, but name one Super Bowl champion that didn't get a little lucky along the way.

Vinnie 7:56 PM  

Oh, I yus' keeding. I know you knows your football.

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