We teased a blog post on backup quarterbacks earlier today when we wrote about Jay Cutler picking up the offense and it didn't take long to receive this e-mail.
It's from Ed. We will leave Ed's last name out of it. As he points out, he didn't want to be shredded by some of the more animated regulars on here.
I have a question regarding your teaser at the bottom of your latest entry, but I wanted to ask you directly so I don't flame the board. Why not bring back a veteran QB who is familiar with this offense? Rex Grossman. Obviously, there wouldn't be a learning curve for picking up this offense. He has game experience under the system. And he might be able to succeed in a limited capacity with a revamped (bigger) offensive line. Plus, the Bears wouldn't need to sign him to a long term deal. Please let me know your thoughts.
We're pretty sure you're not alone on that one, Ed. In the minority? Perhaps. Alone. No way. We're not going to do any Rex bashing and we never have. We've written it before and I believe it--fans grabbed hold of Grossman and used him as the symbol for everything that was wrong with the position from an organizational standpoint. Ultimately, his demise as a former first-round pick had as much to do with the franchise as anything else.
We've also written before that Grossman should have ventured out in search of a new opportunity a year ago. He waited and now he finds himself without a job. New agent Drew Rosenhaus has been trying to find him work at the veteran minimum for more than a month. There just aren't many jobs available out there right now and it could take an injury this summer or a trip to the United Football League for him to get a chance. Hey, there will be a franchise in Orlando, a hot bed for Gators fans.
I doubt seriously the Bears would consider Rex Part II. Yes, he knows the system. We get all of that. But the book on Grossman effectively closed when Kyle Orton was named the starting quarterback at the end of training camp last summer. You can argue the merits of finding someone with experience--there aren't many quarterbacks still available that have any--and knowledge of your system all day. The Bears deemed Grossman wasn't a fit for them.
Back to our regularly scheduled blog post ... we've detailed what is going on at wide receiver and safety, and will surely do so again soon, but the issue at backup quarterback needs to be answered soon. Should the Bears attempt to locate a veteran quarterback as a backup?
There are pros and cons to it with Caleb Hanie, an undrafted free agent from last season, and Brett Basanez currently behind Cutler on the depth chart. General manager Jerry Angelo and coach Lovie Smith have not ruled out the possibility, but to this point they haven't made a move.
The biggest drawback right now might be the selection of quarterbacks to choose from. If the Brian Griese experiment didn't end so poorly, he'd be ideal. He has not been participating in the voluntary offseason program in Tampa Bay and reports are he will soon be released. If available, Griese would be head and shoulders above the crowd even if a return here would be unlikely. Right now, the Bears could sort through names like J.P. Losman, Gus Frerotte, Trent Green, Quinn Gray, Charlie Frye, Brooks Bollinger, Jamie Martin, Tim Rattay, Anthony Wright, and, yes, Grossman.
Losman is an interesting guy from the standpoint that he has starting experience in Buffalo and is mobile. The question you need to answer is will the Bears be better suited with Hanie or Basanez coming off the bench to replace Cutler in the event of an injury or one of these guys? The thing that makes Hanie attractive is his skill set probably more closely mirrors Cutler than it did Orton. We're not suggesting Hanie has the kind of arm Cutler does, but Hanie can move around and keep plays alive. He showed a real knack for creating with his feet when given the opportunity in preseason last year. He wasn't running around out of control, he was buying time to make plays downfield. That's the one thing that really set him apart and ultimately convinced the Bears to use a spot on the 53-man roster for him when it looked like he was ticketed for the practice squad. Hanie made plays.
Although he doesn't have any experience, Basanez is the steady veteran type who will know the offense inside and out. The biggest knock on him is the lack of arm strength. He's a good player to have around though. Hanie probably figures to have the edge given he's been around an extra year. We're not sure any of the available quarterbacks are definitively head and shoulders above Hanie. Given a full offseason and then time this summer, he figures to be a different quarterback in preseason. It's so late in the game, the Bears are going to be able to pick from most of the guys on the above list in August if the situation changes. Seems to us the right thing to do is see how Hanie and Basanez play out. The focus will be on Cutler--and it should be--but the Bears will be evaluating the situation at No. 2.
Our question to you is this--if you are among those who are adamant the Bears go out and sign a quarterback with experience as a safety valve, then who's your guy?