Wednesday, September 26, 2007

cbssportsline forces its writers into awkward arguments

(preamble: given my relative lack of knowledge about the bears compared to pnoles and chris w, this post could easily blow up in my face. we'll see what happens. mostly i had the idea of making it based on the ridiculous premise of the position pete prisco had to defend. my analysis might suck, but it's still a funny situation. alright, roll the tape.)

in today's flashy, loud, "who's now", in-your-face, people-screaming-at-each-other-all-the-time, "no spin zone"-emulating sports media, there are few things more annoying than the awkward "head to head" segment. everyone knows what i'm talking about: two analysts are asked the same question, almost invariably take opposing viewpoints, and simplistically duke it out with each other for about 30 seconds. then they move on to the next subject. sometimes, like on "pardon the interruption," it works pretty well. but when this happens, usually it's a function of a genuine (or at least genuine looking) rapport between the two combatants. i wholeheartedly feel like mike wilbon and tony kornheiser are good buddies who love talking about sports and just happen to disagree a lot. most of the time, though, these kind of segments seem forced and obnoxious. PTI is the exception rather than the rule.

sadly, it would seem that some media firm has done market research saying viewers love people shouting at each other in split screen, so this is the way things are going to be. we have to live with it. so, given that that's the case, let's try to look on the bright side of things! sometimes it can create some pretty hilarious situations, such as during this printed exchange between's pete prisco and clark judge.

Should the Bears have benched Rex Grossman?

this is where the comedy comes in- some jackass editor came up with this question, and as a result, someone's got to defend grossman. pete, this is pretty much the journalistic equivalent of being o.j. simpson's legal team. how are you going to work your way out of this one?

No. That might sound crazy considering how he has struggled, but three games does not make a season.

right. but it does make almost 20% of a season, and when you lose two of those three games and one of your division rivals goes 3-0, it makes for a 2 game deficit. furthermore, grossman does have a very recent (hint: it was last year) full season of absolutely maddening inconsistency and overall slightly subpar performance on his resume. in 2006 he completed only 54.6% of his passes, had a TD/INT ratio just slightly over 1, and sported a very "meh" 73.9 QB rating. in fact, those stats can be broken down further when you separate his starts in weeks 1-5 (completed 61% of his passes, 10 TDs against 3 INTS) to the rest of the regular season (51% completions, 13 TDs and 17 INTS). in three playoff games he was very pedestrian (56% completions, 3 TDs and 3 INTs, 197 yards a game). so, grossman has sucked this year. aaaaaand, since right around last halloween, he's also sucked. i'm aware that the bears as a team aren't built in such a way that they require a 350 yard/3 TD performance out of their QB game in and game out. and i'm not saying brian griese is going to be much better. but can you really defend grossman from a "he just needs more time... let's not do anything drastic after 3 measly games" perspective?

Plus, I blame the coaching staff.

please elaborate.

Grossman hit Bernard Berrian in the hands in the second quarter for what should have been a long touchdown pass. Berrian dropped it.

i wasn't aware berrian was part of the staff. also, let it be known that grossman is the only QB ever to have one of his WRs drop a potential touchdown pass. this fact should be acknowledged by any grossman detractors.

Then with his team down 10-3, he passed them to the tying touchdown.

this is pretty much true.

After the Cowboys made it 17-10, Cedric Benson fumbled and Dallas turned that into a field goal.


Then it went bad. Grossman's first pass on the next series was picked by Anthony Henry and returned for a touchdown. Game over.

you're not helping grossman's case.

The rest really went downhill, but it didn't matter.

true. the bears probably were out of the game, down three scores with less than 12 minutes to play.

It doesn't matter if it's Grossman or Brian Griese. You can't succeed as a quarterback in a system designed to make the quarterback play it safe.

trent dilfer (during a half season in which he never cleared 300 yards) and brad johnson (during a season in which he cleared 300 yards once) have super bowl rings. now, i realize 300 yards is an arbitrary point to choose whether or not a QB is "playing it safe" or not. but i think it's pretty generally established that those two guys were "game managers," not "gunslingers," and each made few enough mistakes to take their teams to titles. obviously the 2000 ravens and the 2002 bucs had amazing defenses. it's not like dilfer and johnson carried the teams to titles all by themselves. i'm just saying... this sentence, about how QBs can't succeed while playing it safe, is a crock of crap. in fact, it's patently false, as long as "leading your team to a super bowl title without putting up manningesque numbers" qualifies as being a successful quarterback.

The Bears think they can just win by playing good defense, running the football and mixing in a special-teams return or two by Devin Hester.

i'm not sure they could win it all by doing that, but they could definitely win a lot of games. the injuries their defense has sustained hurt that prospect, as has cedric benson's spotty play. but stranger things have happened than a team with an awesome defense and a home run threat like hester winning a lot of games by playing conservative offense.

At some point, the coach has to let the quarterback do more than just manage the game. Grossman never got that chance. It's unlikely Griese will get it either.

again, not sure i agree with that. maybe with the bears' d hurting, and benson struggling, the playbook needs to be opened up a little bit. but not a ton. especially with griese or grossman or kyle orton in charge.

meanwhile, clark judge, you have the oh-so-enviable position of taking the counterpoint and explaining why it's good grossman was benched. your thoughts?

Are you kidding me? The Bears were getting nothing from the position.

[middle of column omitted]

I don't know if Brian Griese will be better, but I do know he won't be worse.

good enough for me. i'm sold.


pnoles said...

I'm kind of indifferent in re: benching Grossman. I'll actually use a term that Jay Mariotti used, because it actually made sense. Brian Griese is just a "Band-Aid".

The way that guy argued for Grossman was terrible though. You nailed it.

Chris W said...

Mariotti almost certainly stole that from things I've said.

Fact is, Prisco is 100% right re: the coaching staff. Ron Turner is the worst OC I've ever seen. And I've seen John Shoop. His playcalling goes beyond "conservative" to maddeningly stupid.

No draws, no play action, no shotgun, no routes beyond the skinny post, five and outs, and poorly designed screens. No counters, no offtackles. Just dive left, dive right, pass short left, pass short right, and an occasional seam route to Berrian or a tight end.

And we're going to fix the problem by replacing him with a guy who couldn't succeed in Denver with a better running game, better receivers, and a better coordinator?

Fine...Rex needed to go...but the fact is, Griese is a bandage over the axe wound that is Turner's playcalling, and we are going to continue hemmorraghing points at the QB position until we fix what's actually wrong with our offense (a drooling tard at OC)

Chris W said...

"and we're going to fix the problem by replacing him"

i meant rex,... i know the antecedent to him here is turner. i don't mean turner

Chris Hart said...

I'd just like to welcome all of you Bears fans to the Brian Griese era. Tired of maddening inconsistency? I hope you're ready for the guy who defines inconsistent.

pnoles said...

I hope Joe Morgan never covers the Bears then....