Pyle's Reaction: Premature to Count Bears Out

I am very troubled by what I've been reading in the papers since Grossman's injury last Sunday. The sportswriters, many of whom I know well and respect, are already jumping ahead to the next draft. They are telling us in no uncertain terms that since Grossman is done for the year, the salvation of the Bears will be in selecting a top quarterback from the next draft. That's just dumb.

We're only 3 games into a 16 game season. Now you're telling us that we have to give up and sit around waiting for the next draft? Who are you kidding? The situation at Halas Hall is a very different one now from what it has been in the past. Why? Because the team finally has a quarterback coach. That's what's been missing for decades.

Let's take a realistic look at things. Grossman only played in six games. That's not many, yet the writers are already seeing him as a future Hall of Famer. Wait a minute. You're way ahead of yourselves. Lets stop and take a deep breath.

These same articles that lament the loss of Grossman also say he's the team's leader. Not by a longshot, at least not at this point in time. Your leaders are Mike Brown, Brian Urlacher and Olin Kreutz. Those are the guys the players listen to.

When Rex is in, he commands their attention but he's young just like most of the members of this team. You need somebody with experience telling players what to do. That's why I don't think that having Jonathan Quinn take over right now is necessarily a bad thing.

The impression I get is that everybody thinks Quinn isn't up to the job. But Terry Shea speaks well of him. Terry should know as they have had football experience together. In fact, Shea urged the Bears to bring Quinn to the team. Shea seems to have a good mind for offense. It's still too early to know for sure on this, but I'd tend to trust his judgment.

Chad Hutchinson is a smart guy and in that sense, similar to Craig Krenzel. A little more experience than Craig has, which is a good thing. Interesting possibilities are there but it's way too early to tell. Chad could be a good backup right now and develop into something more later. Krenzel? Again, lots of potential but he's young and is just beginning to learn about the NFL.

Fans, writers you don't need another new inexperienced quarterback fresh out of college you need somebody who is experienced in the National Football League. Whether or not Quinn is up to the challenge remains to be seen but I'd like to see him given the benefit of the doubt. Let the guy play before you talk about replacing him.

Where do the Bears go from here? As I said, they are a young team with tremendous potential. At the beginning of the season I predicted that results would be uncertain due to the overall inexperience of the players. So far that's been the case. One week they'll have a dozen penalties and lose the game. The next week, the other team makes mistakes, the Bears play well so they win. That's what happened in Green Bay.

But the injury situation has changed everything. Realistically the Bears have lost their entire secondary. Who knows how long these players will be out? The pressure will be on the defensive line from now on to keep the ball from getting down field. They must stop the pass, stop the run and create turnovers. Can this be done? It's possible, but still too early to know for sure.

On offense, everything seems to be uncertain except for the outstanding play of Thomas Jones. What a find he was. Almost single-handedly, Jones has taken the Bears back to the Black and Blue division era where the team relied on the running game for their success.

The bottom line is that the Bears are young. They tend to make mistakes, but they also execute some nice plays. I still feel they have the ingredients for a very strong team at some point. Right now the defense must keep its opponent from scoring. The offense must get the ball into the end zone as often as possible. That's the way to win the game.

Will things turn out that way? Against the Eagles, I'm not optimistic. We've seen them recently on Monday Night Football. They are playing at a very high level right now. But I feel that things can come together for the Bears. It is premature to write off the season because of Grossman's injury. So let's all sit back, calm down, and see what the team will be able to accomplish.

Mike Pyle played for the Bears from 1961-69. Since his retirement he's followed the Bears with his work in broadcasting and in print.


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