An Irreversible Rex

Clay CunninghamCorrespondent INovember 3, 2008

Oh, how we all have been eagerly awaiting the return of this chapter.

For the time being it looks like Bear fans will have to put their confidence in the quarterback position on hold. On each drop back our stomachs will now be twisting as ferociously as Kyle Orton’s right ankle.

That’s right, Rex Grossman is back under center for at least a month as the Bears try and hang on to their slim lead in a tight three-way divisional race with Green Bay and Minnesota. No matter how desperately the fan base wants to see ties with the former first round pick be severed, some kind of cosmic like pull just won’t seem to allow it to happen.

The last thing I want to do is write an in depth piece about all the mental anguish Rex Grossman has put us through and yet for some reason something out continues to bring these thoughts to the forefront of our brains.

What is it that constantly keeps this guy coming back every time Chicago has decided it wants to move on? Rex seems much more determined to over stay his welcome to pester his teams fans than he ever has fixing the inconsistencies in his play that cost him the starting job in the first place.

Maybe this is just the way it is supposed to be. Like Denver fans can always rally around stories about the fourth quarter comebacks of John Elway, Chicago fans will likely always be able to reminisce about the Sexy Rexy experience. No matter how badly we don’t want to.

It really is fitting in a way. Very few positions in sports, if any, have turned out one clunker after another like the quarterback position for the Chicago Bears. That’s what made Kyle Orton’s rise so exciting because it gave us a chance to look for only positives about the position. Not anymore.

The primary reason Rex Grossman merits so much conversation is that he has genuine ability and has displayed it in glowing fashion. No one ever talks about Cade McNown anymore because when his turn ended, he got up and left never to return.

And since Grossman wasn’t the total burnout that McNown was, he seems determined to prove to everyone he has what it takes to start in Chicago. And as much as we want the door to slam shut on him, opportunities continue to arise pushing it right back open.

Sadly, Rex does have an argument towards his upside. For starters he has a 21-13 (including postseason) record as a starter and did help lead the team to the Superbowl in 2006. And while his stats yesterday (9-19, 58 yards, 1 TD, 1 Pick and a TD run) were hardly a stunning achievement, he earned his third “save,” if you will, leading the Bears from 10 down to beat the hapless Detroit Lions.

But whatever optimism one could possibly have worked up about has been completely washed away by his much publicized down side. Rex Grossman is capable, in terms of ability, to lead a successful football team. But the mental handcuffs he wears will not permit him to do so on a consistent basis.

I, like all of Bears fandom, am tired of having to play the "will he or won’t he play well" card every week and wish that what ever black magic power constantly puts him back in our teams lineup would just go back to hell and take Rex with them.

I must say I do feel odd being so negative. I had no realistic hopes the Bears would be 5-3 and in first place of the NFC North at this point of the season. But they are, and it’s hard to get excited with a season that hangs on so many maybes.

Maybe the defense will stop sleepwalking through large chunks of each game; maybe Ron Turner will not need an entire half to realize Matt Forte needs to have the ball in his hands.

And now, for the next month at least, maybe Rex Grossman can tap some of that “Good Rex” magic and keep the Bears atop the NFC North. None of which seem like realistic hopes.

While it may come across as such, I am not rooting against Rex Grossman. I really do hope he does play well enough to at least keep the Bears in the playoff picture, and then upon Kyle Orton’s return to the lineup, I hope he can lead them into the post season and beyond, acting not only as QB savior, but also as the exorcist who is hired to remove the spirit of Rex Grossman from Halas Hall permanently.

Whether he plays well in the next month or not, I think Chicago has had more than its needed share of “Rexual Healing.”


Other thoughts

Detroit is literally the only team the Bears would have beaten yesterday. How many other teams have to go for a touchdown instead of a tying field goal on their last drive because their kicker slipped on an extra point attempt earlier in the first quarter?

I’ve officially given up on thinking the Bears will develop anything that resembles a pass rush this season. One sack against Detroit is awful. Having that sack occur because Dan Orlovsky fell down on the play is inexcusable.   

Mike Brown only gets injured on days he makes big plays. Consider his history:

2004: Returns a fumble 95 yards for a touchdown in an eventual 21-10 win at Lambeau Field; then tears his Achilles and is lost for the year.


2006: Returns a fumble for a six yard score to kick off the Bears miracle comeback in Arizona; then tears a foot muscle and is lost for the year.


2007: Gets a pick and recovers a fumble at the Bears one yard line in a week one loss to San Diego; then tears his ACL and is lost for the year.


Then yesterday, he has to leave with a calf injury after his first interception of the year. Thank God Calvin Johnson made contact with him to nullify what originally looked like a pick six. That stop might be the only thing that gets Brown back on the field this season.