Firsthand Perspective

Bears WR and Ohio State grad Brian Baschnagel offers his views on fifth-round choice quarterback Craig Krenzel. While Baschnagel admits he's a little biased, he has seen Krenzel develop and thinks the Bears got a steal.

I was extremely happy when I head that Krenzel was picked by he Bears. My only surprise is that he went in Sunday's rounds instead of Saturday's. To me, Krenzel is all upside. He has fine talent and a tremendous work ethic.

Craig has led a team to a National Championship against Miami, a game in which he was selected as MVP. He has shown excellent judgment, good emotional control, and the desire to win. He motivates teammates and always takes responsibility for his decisions. I think that Craig has intelligence and maturity far beyond most rookies.

To some extent, Krenzel's development was hindered by the conservative offense employed by the coaches at Ohio State. He can be slightly streaky at times. The overall philosophy at OSU is that the offense will not lose the game for the defense. By that, I mean that the offense should have no turnovers, no interceptions.

As a quarterback when your coaches are stressing that, you tend to concentrate more on sure things. But he can throw the long ball, he can rush and scramble and he can do the unexpected. Whatever his coaches have wanted, Craig was able to produce.

I have seen Krenzel in quite a few games. He seems to do whatever it takes to keep his team in the game and on top. There was one time, I believe it was against South Carolina, when he was brought in at the half. Another quarterback had played the first two quarters and the Buckeyes were losing by maybe 21 points. Craig came in, took control and won the game. To me, that was very impressive.

Another thing I like about Craig is his humility. I have never spoken with him personally, but I have heard this enough from those who have to be certain this is the case. Krenzel admits any mistakes he might have made and will expend every effort to correct these problems. He rarely takes credit for a win, however, preferring instead to deflect the praise on to his teammates. These are the qualities of a fine leader.

I think that Krenzel understands the game from an intellectual point of view, which is not at all surprising given that he had academic honors at Ohio State the entire time he was a student there. He has great ability to pick up new systems. That should come in very handy with Lovie Smiths and Terry Shea's revised playbooks at Halas Hall.

I have heard some football people mention that Krenzel might be more interested in going to medical school than in playing for a professional team. I am certain that this is not the case. Craig's desire in life is to play football and to be the very best at that.

He has a long view of things and he realizes that playing time is short for football. Somewhere down the road if his career is successful, he can make that kind of a decision. I can see him going back to school in ten or fifteen years. There's no rush. If he does well in the NFL, he'll stick with it. He's a serious and purposeful guy and he definitely takes the position of quarterback very seriously right now.

I also think that Krenzel is very much in the mold of Rex Grossman with a strong arm and long ball accuracy. Both are solid players who motivate their teams. Krenzel is a steady player and would be an excellent backup to Rex. Craig has fine character. He's exactly the type of player you'd want in reserve. You know that whenever you needed him, he'd be there 100%. His potential is limitless and I see a bright future ahead for him. And best of all, he's a Buckeye.

Brian Baschnagel played for the Bears from 1976-1984.


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