Albert Einstein once said that insanity was doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result.
So who is the loony behind the re-signing of Rex Grossman in Chicago?
Is it the Bears coaching staff and front office personnel who have faced, and ignored, the ire of the Midway faithful for almost two straight years, through good times and bad?
Is it Rex himself, the one who had to pick up the pen and ink the most lucrative and potentially career altering one-year contract an NFL player has ever signed?
Or is it the insufferable Chicago fans who have already re-lit their torches, re-sharpened their pitchforks, and stormed back to the message boards to begin another season of hunting everyone’s favorite scapegoat?
My crazy vote goes to the fans. In a city that’s blamed Steve Bartman for their baseball failures, Joakim Noah for their basketball struggles, and Rex Grossman for everything else, there aren’t a lot of good reasons to bet they’ll be the ones to change their ways. In fact, the Bears PR department should look into handing out free straight jackets to the first 5,000 fans through the door on opening day.
Though re-signing Rex doesn’t seem to make tons of sense at first glance, it does if you start digging into what appears to be a budding change in the stagnant Chicago offense. Cedric Benson has been told to expect a fierce competition for the starting running back spot when camp begins. This can only mean that they plan to bring another name in to compete along with Garrett Wolfe and Adrian Peterson. We already know what that three-man contest can produce.
The offensive line will be drastically revised as Ruben Brown and Fred Miller, both on the wrong side of 35 years old, should be replaced. Don’t think an offensive line matters? Ask Tom Brady what happens when they have a bad day at the office. In order for the running game to work and for Rex to have enough time to set himself, the Chicago front office had better be ready to write some big checks to fill those spots.
Add to that the very definition of addition by subtraction – the release of Mushin Muhammed – and you’ve got a team that appears to finally understand how to fix the mistakes that have been right in front of their face. That maybe blaming all of their problems on one player was the very thing holding them back from improving almost every other offensive position.
If they can find a way to keep Bernard Berrian as a deep threat, allow Greg Olsen to take care of the short yardage duties, increase Devin Hester’s responsibilities, and pick up another high quality receiver via free agency – not the draft - they should stand to make some marked improvement in 2008.
Rex knows what he’s up against, as well. The deal that pays him $3 million in base salary along with $2 million worth of incentives should be looked at as his last real chance to be a starting NFL quarterback. This will be the most demanding offseason of his career. The veritable fork in the road. One way takes him back to Super Bowls. The other is littered with clipboards and hand signal practice sessions with his wife before bed every night.
It doesn't take a nuclear physicist to figure out that it's now or never for Grossman.
Though I don’t think Albert Einstein’s wisdom was ever meant to transfer to the gridiron, he did have another quote that seems fitting in this context. He said the true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination.
The Chicago front office has decided to look past their knowledge of one man’s completion percentages and QB ratings. Instead, they are stepping back for a broad view of the entire offensive roster and holding everyone accountable for their actions in hope of creating a stronger team.
In doing so, they brought back Rex. He signed the contract. And they figure that no matter what they do next, Bears fans will bring the insanity.