After a quarter of football the Bears led 14-0 and looked ready to snap a 6-game losing streak vs. Green Bay, but 34 unanswered points later put all talk of a playoff run to rest. Bear Report's Jason Klabacha explores why it's time for a change on more than one front.
The Bears 34-21 defeat to the Packers coupled with Minnesota's 34-7 victory over Seattle officially eliminated Chicago from postseason contention and should begin the Rex Grossman era.
Monday Dick Jauron will step to the podium with questions about his future on the minds of many, but the most important issue at this point is, will Grossman start the remaining three games on the season?
If a change is made Jauron will likely keep it to himself as it's his policy not to announce personnel decisions until the middle of the week. Plus he wouldn't want to rock the boat with two veterans ahead of the rookie on the depth chart.
Earlier in the year Kordell Stewart's demotion was softened by a supposed leg injury that sidelined him for three weeks. Then after Chris Chandler went down against Denver, Stewart led a come back victory over the Broncos and followed that up with his best performance in a Bears' uniform.
Still Jauron refused to tip his hand one way or the other in the name of surprise. Although everyone knew Stewart would and should get the start Jauron continued to play the game.
It's hard to blame Jauron for the attempted trickery because during his 77 game tenure he's had 22 starting quarterback changes and an element of surprise might have been his only weapon.
There is a chance that Jauron will want to postpone the move of starting Grossman and if that's the case it's time for Jerry Angelo to step and demand a change.
Charles Tillman has emerged as a star in the making. Lance Briggs could be a starter at linebacker for years to come, while Justin Gage and Bobby Wade have flashed the potential to be playmakers on the offensive side of the ball.
However any assessment of Grossman is incomplete. As along as the Bears remained alive mathematically there was no way the first-round pick would see the field.
Now there is no excuse not to start the kid.
The same can be said for retaining Jauron. The talk of letting Jauron finish the remaining year of his contract in 2004 seemed to be building over the past two weeks, but should die with the loss to Green Bay.
There are so many numbers that show the Bears insufficiencies under Jauron. He's the only Bears coach that has three double-digit losing seasons and is two defeats away from adding a fourth to his resume. A 2-8 record against Green Bay including a 7-game losing streak. Scoring 28 points 6 times in nearly five years. Not making a change at offensive coordinator despite ranking dead last in total offense and 31st in the passing game this season.
As coaches and players often say when the numbers go against them ‘the only thing that matters is whether you win or lose.'
Well if that's the case then Jauron's time in Chicago has expired. A career record of 33-45 is enough on it's own to merit his dismissal.
There's no doubt that Jauron will handle the final weeks of the season with dignity as he has throughout his entire tenure in Chicago. The only question is whether he'll do it with a rookie quarterback at the helm.