There were hints of what Rex Grossman could do in his NFL debut a week ago, but the rookie QB took a step forward in the Bears 27-24 victory.
Bears offensive coordinator John Shoop was a very happy man in the locker room after the team's 27-24 victory over the Washington Redskins. Although Shoop's long-term future with the team remains in doubt, he was praised today for innovative play calling and judicious use of talented rookie quarterback Rex Grossman.
The second quarter saw the offense still taking to the air, although no points were scored over the first quarter's total of 10. After the half, Shoop seemed to emphasize the running game more as Anthony Thomas moved toward a final total of 141 rushing yards.
As the game ended, the Bears dominated in time of possessions with 37:54 compared to Washington's 22:06, 25 first downs to the Redskins 15;191 rushing yards to Washington's 44; and 249 passing yards to Washington's 245. The Bears third down efficiency was 53%,considerably higher than the Redskins' 11%.
"I felt like we accomplished what we wanted to," Shoop said. "We wanted to run the ball efficiently, have minimal turnovers, and jump start the rushing game. Other than those first four or five plays which were about the ugliest plays in the history of football, we ended up playing pretty well."
Shoop seemed to be particularly pleased with the reemergence of running back Anthony Thomas.
"Train did a nice job hitting the holes well and reading it. He got a lot of yardage and he sparked this team. A lot of different guys were receiving and carrying the ball. That definitely as part of the game plan, getting as many of them in t here as possible because we felt they had real active linebackers who would follow our tailback quite a bit."
Although roundly criticized earlier this season f or his conservative play calling, Shoop seems to have done a comp[let turnaround and is tailoring his offense to QB Rex Grossman's wide open style.
"We just went out there and let it rip no matter what happened," Shoop said. "Rex had to get whatever was going on there during the first few plays completely out of his system. He settled in and did a nice job. I was quite impressed with his control. The whole offense really stepped up and won this game."
But the team paid a price as far as injuries, although with the last game of the season next on the schedule, the situation is not as serious as it might have been earlier in t he year.
"White, ‘Q' (Qasim Mitchell), and Gage got injured," Shoop said. "I was screaming form the box for Q to get back in t he huddle. He was moving so slowly. Then when I found out that he'd broken his leg and was trying to play on it, I felt terrible."
What does Shoop like bests about Grossman?
"I think that sensational quarterbacks are steady," he said. "You don't want them to go out there and try to be Favre or Culpepper or Vick. What you want is that they take on their own style, do good things every play. That's how the routine plays become spectacular. Rex has the ability to do that. He has his own style. He's learning to prepare. He has the talent. I really think that if he puts his best efforts to it, he has the chance to be a very good player."