Ron Turner Game Plan to a "T"

Depending who you talk to, Ron Turner is an offensive-minded genius or a very conservative play caller. After covering the Fighting Illini for years, yesterday was no surprise to me.

Not a time to bash Bears QB Rex Grossman, but I've seen enough of Bears Offensive Coordinator and former Illini Head Football Coach Ron Turner to know there's not a lot of faith in Grossman.

When Ron Turner was hired as the Head Coach at Illinois everyone was excited because they saw how many points the Chicago Bears were putting up and breaking all kinds of records. No one can argue the guy really studies the game, but after watching Grossman throw for 165 on 20-28 passing and two INTs, it's obvious to all of us that Turner's game plan was to not let Rex hurt the team.

Don't be fooled by the 20-28 passing - most of those were 3-5 yard patterns. He started the game throwing down field; even if the Bears offensive player could catch the ball, Turner wanted them to know they "would" throw deep. I can't tell you how many times covering the Illini when Kurt Kittner was very young behind the center, Turner did the same thing. When the Bears were down by 12 points, not once did they really attack the end zone. Why? Because Rex had shown he doesn't have the arm strength to put the ball consistently enough to the right team. The two deep balls Grossman threw were both under thrown.

After many post game interviews with Turner I can assure you it's not how he likes to call the game. When Kittner became stronger and really understood the game and the offense, Turner let him loose and they threw the deep ball better than most NFL teams. Until Grossman shows that, Bear fans, this is what you're going to see year after year (or until they find someone with the arm and someone who can stretch a defense out with catches). Let's face it - this year the defense is what kept the Bears in games, but yesterday proved being on the field for thirty-eight minutes and four seconds took its toll.

This off-season will be extremely important for the growth of the Bears. If they are going to take the next step in winning another Super Bowl, things must get better on the offense.

Illini connection: Kelvin Hayden picked off one of Rex Grossman's passes and ran it back for a 56 yard TD with 11:44 to go in the game.

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