In looking at today's newspapers, I am surprised at the amount of coverage that has been given to the fact that Jake Plummer went to Denver instead of coming to Chicago. I've got news for you. It wouldn't have made any difference to the Bears overall record this season if Plummer had signed with the Bears.
Reason being the offensive coaches. Look at Plummer's record in Arizona, he was mediocre. With Denver, he's fantastic. He has a 94.5 rating there. That's because of the quality of the offensive coaching. Because of the offensive staff here, Plummer in Chicago would have been exactly like Plummer in Arizona. Unimpressive.
Excellent quarterbacks are the byproduct of excellent coaching. Look at John Elway, Dan Marino, and Payton Manning. Joe Montana is a man I have always considered to be the smartest quarterback who played the game. I remember a playoff game that Montana never even got grass stains on his knees. His knowledge of the game was so complete that the defenders didn't touch him. Of course, Montana had the advantage of working with Bill Walsh.
Greg Olson is no Bill Walsh. He's no Mike Shanahan. And until you get a coach with NFL maturity to lead the Bears offense you are going to be struggling no matter who starts at quarterback.
Denver had not expected to see Kordell Stewart on the field yesterday. It was apparent that they had designed their defense to run against Chris Chandler who is very smart but not terribly mobile. I suspect that when Denver was in the locker room at the half, they didn't have enough time to consider the changes that could occur to the Bears offense should Chandler be unable to return to the game.
When Kordell came in, the Bears had a new and unexpected set of options. He played out of the pocket, using playaction and rollouts. That opened up the field considerably. I do have to give John Shoop credit there. That said, however, Stewart's 47 yards would not have been enough to win a game under normal circumstances.
Stat Catch: The total for the Bears offense yesterday was 217 yards. By NFL standards, that just isn't good enough. Chandler had 79 yards passing, while Anthony Thomas had 60 yards on the ground.
The Bears did have excellent clock management. They were in possession for 32 minutes, which was enough to get the job done. Denver had 327 yards in 27 minutes. Usually the team who can hold on to the ball the longest will come out on top.
Stat Catch: Chicago had 5 scoring drives with one touchdown and four field goals. Of their total of 217 yards, 212 were in these scoring drives. That's amazing. I've never seen anything like that. All season, the Bears haven't had more than 3 first downs in the first quarter. Yesterday I believe they had two in that quarter. But they were very efficient on both offense and defense and that made the difference in the game.
Let's talk about the defense. It was great. Greg Blache put things in perspective. He was quoted earlier last week as saying he had decided to allow his players to play the way they could play, not the way they are supposed to play.
Blache let them make mistakes and go all out. That worked beautifully. To me, the defense looked like the old "Monsters of the Midway." They were flying around the field. They were fired up, they made the big plays, and they did things that Bears fans haven't seen for quite a while.
Charles Tillman is phenomenal. I see him being an impact player for the Bears for years to come. Again, Blache handled this situation perfectly. Earlier in the season when Tillman had all those penalties, Blache could have reigned him in. To his credit, Blache just let him be. It's clear that Tillman is out there having fun and getting big results. Why can't Shoop do something like that?
What's the bottom line on the offense right now? I'm going to stick with what I said last week and the week before, let Grossman play. Your offense is #32 in the league. What do you have to lose by giving him a try? Look who is coming up on the schedule: Arizona, Minnesota, Green Bay, Washington and Kansas City. None of these teams are rated that highly on defense.
Stat Catch: Arizona, the highest team defensively that the Bears will be playing is 18th.
Kansas City if 24th.
Green Bay is 25th.
Washington is 26th.
Minnesota is 29th.
What does that tell you? Start the rookie.
One final thought. There has been considerable mention in the media recently concerning the future of coach Jauron. I still like Dick. A lot of what's been happening to the Bears is not his fault. I've been saying all season that the best case scenario is to keep Jauron and get rid of the entire offensive staff.
The players respect Dick and they work well with him. Let Dick stay but show John Shoop and Greg Olson the door. The Bears will be much better for it.