The Blame Game

If yesterday's 31-3 loss to the Chiefs didn't end the season on a bad enough note, there is the continuing question on the fates of the coaching staff and back-up quarterbacks to discuss. Gene Chamberlain gives us the details...

The Bears coaching staff has been backed publicly the entire season, but there were cracks in the unified front following the season finale.

Chicago spent much of the season switching between quarterbacks and did it one last time in their 31-3 season-ending loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

All three quarterbacks played.

Rex Grossman left due to a ligament tear in his right middle finger, Kordell Stewart struggled with two interceptions and Chris Chandler mopped up. How they look at the position in the future will depend largely on the coaching situation.

Grossman, who was 6-of-10 for 31 yards Sunday, may need surgery on the finger before he can be ready for mini-camp.

"I have to see a hand specialist to see where it's at," Grossman said. "It's kind of tough seeing it disfigured right now. I got up from that (hit) and my middle finger was bent out of whack."

Stewart's future with the team is the one most uncertain at this time, although Chandler's is hardly settled. Both have a year left on their deals, but the Bears would take a greater salary cap hit by dumping him. It's possible he could ask for a trade or to be cut.

"It just didn't work out the way I expected and I'm sure the way they expected," Stewart said. "That's the most frustrating part for me because I feel like it was a waste."

Stewart is hardly singing the praises of coordinator John Shoop's offense. He felt Shoop too often tried to turn him into a running back.

"I am a mobile quarterback, but not running the option or quarterback traps or anything," he said. "I still have everything with me. I'm still fast, got a good arm, all of that stuff."

He felt a big problem was starting the season in an offense with injuries on the offensive line but perhaps even greater was coming in under the gun, knowing his ability to pick up the offense in a few months was going to decide a coaching staff's future.

"When you have a chance and your back is pretty much against the wall and you have to get it done now and you have not too much of a margin of error because of what took place this (coming) off-season with the (coaching) staff and everything like that, it puts pressure on you," he said. "It makes it hard for you."

Stewart, who was 5-of-15 for 86 yards with a 14.2 passer rating Sunday, will step back and see what develops with the coaching situation before deciding what his future is.

Chandler hopes his future is helping with Grossman's development and providing backup.

"I worked well with Rex," said Chandler, who was 6-of-17 for 81 yards Sunday. "We liked each other and anything I can do to help him and help this team that's something I enjoy doing and I'm looking forward to."

TRAIN BLOWS WHISTLE: Running back Anthony Thomas rarely says a lot, but what he tried not to say after he went over 1,000 yards for the second time in his career said a lot about his lack of support for offensive coordinator John Shoop.

"I try to tell my opinion on what's going on and what I see but when the coaches don't listen and whatever, it gets kind of frustrating," said Thomas, who had only six first-half rushing attempts as the Bears had only 10 in the first half.

Asked to explain his frustration with play calling further, Thomas added: "I really can't sum it up right now. There's a lot of things going on my mind right now that I really want to say, but I think I'll move on"

Thomas wound up with 1,024 yards on the season on 244 attempts.

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