Positional Analysis

The quarterback position has gotten a major overhaul since last year. During the offseason the Bears have added someone to lead them now and another player they hope will lead them into the future.

QUARTERBACK: Starter -- Kordell Stewart. Backups -- Chris Chandler, Rex Grossman, Cory Sauter.

Stewart's athleticism upgrades a position that has been a disappointment in recent years because of inconsistency and a high rate of turnover. He will not be asked to do too much, and if new quarterbacks coach Greg Olson and offensive coordinator John Shoop can keep Stewart's confidence intact, he could be a huge improvement. But, if he struggles with inconsistency as he has in the past, fans eager for a winner will not be patient or kind, and Stewart could lose confidence.

"I think that his strengths as a quarterback have been overlooked," Jauron said. "Going through a progression and delivering the ball, I think he's been undervalued in that regard. I have a high opinion of him there. And when it's not there, then he's got the athletic ability to make things happen."

Stewart is the active leader among quarterbacks with 35 rushing touchdowns. In an effort to utilize his rushing skills the team has dusted off plays that will allow Stewart to run, something Bears quarterbacks weren't able to do in the past.

"We haven't added a great deal to our offense. Kordell just happens to have different strengths and one of them is maneuverability," said head coach Dick Jauron. "It does stress a defense when you can get him out of the pocket. The play-action pass takes on a whole new dimension with a quarterback that can hurt you on the rollout."

Chandler is ultra-fragile and cannot be counted on to stay healthy for long, but he has an abundance of experience and can still be an effective and explosive triggerman if he is provided with solid protection.

Grossman will be brought along slowly, and if all goes according to plan, he won't see any meaningful playing time.

"I've got to crawl before I walk. I know they've got a plan and I'm following along. They're bringing me along slowly," Grossman said. "I don't take it personally, I'm just doing what I need to and when I do get a chance hopefully I'll play well and improve my reps.

"Learning a new offense is somewhat like learning a new language. I can somewhat speak it right now, not fluently but by the end of this training camp I hope to know it pretty well."

Sauter is too inexperienced to keep instead of Chandler, but he could be a better long-term backup.

The Insiders.com contributed to this story.

Bear Report Top Stories