Dud of the Week: Rex Grossman

Believe me, it hurt to do this two games in a row. But after searching high and low in review of Sunday's lackluster win against the rival Vikings, it wasn't even close. Quarterback Rex Grossman is the runaway winner of the Bear Report Dud of the Week, the second consecutive dubious honor for the struggling fourth-year signal-caller.

Rex Grossman, I know you're better than this.

If you look at his body of work as a collegian at the University of Florida, it's quite obvious that he knows what to do with a football in his hands. Grossman holds 18 Gator records, and his 146.8 career passer efficiency rating ranks 19th in the history of college football and 3rd in SEC history. He threw 77 touchdown passes in only 31 starts and was the runner-up for the 2001 Heisman Trophy even though he was just a sophomore at the time.

He may not have been blessed with ideal size or the fleetest of feet, but the Bears were more than justified to take Grossman 22nd overall in the 2003 NFL Draft.

True, his professional career has not been what Bears fans would have hoped for or expected thus far, but remember, he was victim to some freak injuries that severely limited his ability to develop on the field. Grossman was off to a good start in 2004 before tearing his knee on a touchdown run against the Vikings in Week 3, and a broken ankle in the preseason put his 2005 debut on the shelf until a Week 15 relief appearance against the Falcons. This season, he was 100% healthy and ready to play a complete NFL schedule for the first time.

If he couldn't, he probably would never get the opportunity again in Chicago.

Five games into 2006, he was generating buzz as a potential MVP candidate and throwing touchdown passes at a rate never seen before in the Windy City. After a Week 5 thrashing of the Bills, Grossman had racked up 10 TD tosses against just three interceptions and had his team off to a blistering 5-0 start. A team trademarked by the running game and tough defense since the birth of the NFL was starting to look like the reincarnation of Air Coryell.

And then it happened.

Somehow, the Bears survived four interceptions and two lost fumbles from their QB against the bumbling Cardinals on a Monday night in Arizona. The Monsters of the Midway may have moved to 6-0 after that 24-23 how'd-they-do-that victory, but Grossman has been on a roller coaster ride ever since. He came back strong and put up sensational numbers in wins at home against the 49ers and on the road versus the Giants, but after this past Sunday's dismal outing against the Vikes, he's now posted a passer rating of 36.8 or less - culminated by Week's 1.3 embarrassment - in four of his last seven games.

Paging Brian Griese?

Despite the cold, despite the sturdy run defense, and despite the eventual win, there is no way to hide the fact that a change may now have to be made for the Bears under center. Grossman finished just 6-of-19 for 34 yards against Minnesota's 31st-ranked pass defense, with two of his three INTs of the head-scratching variety. This team can run the ball, play defense, and absolutely dominate on special teams, yet poor play from the quarterback is all it takes to be one-and-done come playoff time.

The Bears are postseason-qualifed as NFC North champs once again, but as the Three Stages might say, they're going nowhere fast with Grossman playing this way.

Needless to say, Grossman is once again the Bear Report Dud of the Week.


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