Careful What You Wish For, Bears Fans.

As soon as the Chicago crowd on Sunday night started screaming “GRIESE! GRIESE! GRIESE!” after Rex Grossman’s second interception of the night, I began to get a very sick feeling in my stomach — and I’m sure most Bronco fans got the exact same queasiness. We’ve been here before, we know what putting faith into the shaky hands of Brian Griese is like, and we had him when he was younger and less battered by age and injury.

Yes, Lovie Smith would probably be well advised to go with Brian, but I wouldn’t expect the Bears to be significantly better with him than they were with Grossman. He won’t lose games for you, but he won’t be able to produce the necessary wins when you need them either. That’s not going to take a hell of a lot of pressure off your defense. It means a 7-9 or 8-8 season rather than a 5-11 or 6-10, but the odds of missing the playoffs are still pretty good, and you all believe you should be getting to the Super Bowl again.

Let’s review his seasons in Denver as the full time starter (statistics via Pro Football Reference):

  • 1999 – 6-10 season for the Broncos, 14 games played. 14 TDs, 14 INTs, over 3,000 yards. Not bad for a first year starter despite the bad record and INTs, but missing two games should have been a sign of things to come.
  • 2000 – 11-5, Griese’s sole Pro Bowl season. Lost six games to injury. Threw 19 picks to 4 INTs, lost to the Ravens in the first round of the playoffs.
  • 2001 – 8-8, only missed one game this season. Threw 23 TDs to 19 INTs, didn’t make the playoffs that year. Everyone figured he’d catch on.
  • 2002 – 9-7, regressed despite the better team record and missed the playoffs again. Missed 3 games. Had a 1:1 TD/INT ratio yet again, throwing 15 of each, and after that, the Rat Fink had enough, having produced 1,000 yard rushers only to see his quarterback return to performance more along the lines of his first starting season.

For all his faults, the Broncos decided to throw in their lot with Jake Plummer after that 2002 season, because while Griese could get you a decent record, he couldn’t win games for you at all. Plummer could certainly lose them, but he could also win them — and while you may be thinking, “Well, Brian Griese won’t lose games in the way Rex Grossman did,” you’re right, but he isn’t capable of helping you win them as a starter. His ACL snapping in Tampa Bay during a renaissance was the final straw.

So, you probably have no choice in Chicago but to deal with Brian Griese. Cedric Benson will have to remember not to fumble and tote it for 100+ per game. Berrian and Muhammad can’t drop anything at all, because their quarterback, despite his virtues of not being a complete fuck-up, isn’t anything resembling a playmaker. Enjoy making the playoffs by the skin of your teeth and then losing in the first round — which means you won’t be able to improve much by getting a top blue-chipper QB in the draft, either. Better hope Kyle Orton is still salvageable.

Photo: Getty Images/Jonathan Daniel


13 Responses

  1. SHit. Cant they just go with Orton.

  2. Griese will not lose games for us as Rex has been extremely effective at. When you manage to get a 0 QB rating in a game, you really take things to a new level. That should result in league expulsion on the spot.

    As a bear fan, I am looking for someone to not make mistakes. We play field position football, and if we can manage to not make mistakes on offense we can win. 2 years ago we proved that with Kyle Orton at the helm. Kyle not being given the OK to pass at will, is what kept games close.

    Rex is now officially a head case. Nothing is worse than that. Griese or Orton needs to start.

  3. Sitting Rex Grossman only makes sense if it makes Rex Grossman a better QB, because it won’t make the Bears a better football team to give up his upside.

    We played field position football in 2001 too, and it got us to the first round of the playoffs and a brutal slapdown by the Eagles. If you don’t have a QB who can make the play downfield, you only have 66% of an offensive playbook and that won’t get it done against playoff-caliber defenses. Grossman is the difference between that 2001 team and the 2006 Super Bowl also-rans.

    Lovie Smith says Rex is the best quarterback on the roster, and he has seen an awful lot more of what all three of them can do than a bunch of meathead fans who have been calling for the backup since the Arizona game last year. So I repeat: going to Griese or Orton is worth doing if it’ll make Grossman better, because if he’s not salvageable, we have to go back to the draft and start over next year.

    — Ajax.

  4. I agree, although Griese’s off-season issues in college may trump Orton’s drinking in present time.

  5. I’m a life-long Bronco’s fan and i can completely concur that Griese was awful with them. The biggest thing for the Bears is at least with Grossman there is at least the threat of Grossman completing a pass 50 yards downfield and that thought alone stretches the defense…Griese can’t throw more than 20 yards so teams will be able to stack up against him, making the entire team and Benson, if possible, worse. Muhammad and Berrian better watch their bones and joints because Griese’s high throws wreak havock on Tibias, Fibulas and ACLs alike. I’ll never forget/forgive him breaking Ed McCaffery’s leg on Monday night Sept. 10th 2001 against the Giants. Have fun Bears fans. You asked for it.

  6. i dont think anything is wrong with greise i feel he will be better than grossman who again threw 3 interceptions to a porous dallas secondary

  7. Johnny, I’m a full on supporter of Orton, if only because the Neck Beard rules and he drinks like a champion.

    Whether he plays like one doesn’t really matter.

  8. Someone please explain to me the upside of Grossman ? That’s almost laughable. He’s shown us his upside, and it’s pretty much indistinguishable from his downside.

    Griese is an experienced QB, and I believe he could play with fewer mistakes than Grossman. We don’t need a Peyton Manning to win. We made it to the playoffs with Kyle Orton 2 years ago. (A real rookie at that time.)

    Please don’t talk like Grossman has been “leading” us. He’s been along for the ride. The defense has led us to win many games we wouldn’t have won otherwise. Grossman has given oppurtunity for us to lose with great consistency. There isn’t a team in the league that is afraid of Grossman. He’s our weakness. If we feature our weakness, we’ll lose.

  9. Put it this way, if your franchise is chanting Griese you probably have the worst quarterback situation in the entire league. As a lifelong Bronco fan who watched all of Griese’s games I can attest to his god awefullness. Whoever said he can’t throw 20 yards is absolutely right. 5 yards max a pass. That being said I would still make the change because Grossman is that bad.

  10. how bout them cowboys?

  11. to bench grossman would be an enormous mistake. you have to give him a minimum of 3 more games before you bench him. he’s got olson back, they’re finally incorporating hester into the offense which gives him some legitimate weapons. it also gives the running game a chance to get going which has been relatively non-existent. grossman, just like any qb, needs at least a decent running game to be successful. it’s worth it to the bears to continue to show patience w/ REX..the upside of this scenario far outweighs the upside of starting griese.

    also, grossman doesn’t have much experience. he started 7 random games his first 3 yrs in the league and it wasn’t until last year that he played a full season.

    i’m a huge cowboy fan but i’m an even bigger sports fan. i think this kid will prosper very soon.

  12. First of all never ever ever go after Kyle Orton he is the man and second your just a Bears hater. We will atleast make it to the second round but right now things are looking slim.

  13. Jt, at this point Grossman is a head case. It is my belief that the best thing for him right now is to sit on the bench and regroup. Take the pressure off of him and potentially create a situation by which he can rise to the occasion.

    Although I believe Olsen will improve our passing game, the issues at hand are before the ball ever gets to a receiver. Grossman is simply unable to avoid the rush 90% of the time, has trouble making decisions, consistently makes poor passes under pressure, has trouble picking up the blitz, and has trouble protecting the ball which results in fumbles.

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