To say that the Monsters of the Midway have had a hard time solidifying the quarterback position in recent years is to say that the Chicago Cubs have had a hard time filling up their World Series trophy case.
The Bears have not had a Pro Bowler at the game's most important position since Jim McMahon back in that magical campaign of 1985, and a trio of signal-callers got a chance this season with equally mixed results. Rex Grossman has been arguably the NFL's most heavily scrutinized player the last two years, highlighted by incredible successes and even more incredible failures. Brian Griese proved that he can be a reliable No. 2 in a pinch, but he's a No. 2 and nothing more at this point. And while Kyle Orton did win two of his three starts to close out 2007, he hardly looked like a potential All-Pro in the process. Nobody – not even head coach Lovie Smith – has any idea who will be starting under center for this team in `08.
It's reasonable to assume that Grossman will be brought back since he probably won't generate a ton of interest on the open market in free agency, and Orton has earned the right to compete for the top spot come training camp. Since Orton has shown he can do the job when called upon, keeping Griese as the third-stringer makes little sense with the amount of money he's being paid. In other words, there should be at least one spot on the QB depth chart available next season.
Many mock drafts have GM Jerry Angelo selecting yet another passer in Round 1 of the upcoming NFL Draft, although team scouts appear to be focusing their efforts at that position on second-tier prospects.
Scout.com is reporting that Bears officials have had spent considerable time during Senior Bowl workouts talking to Michigan quarterback Chad Henne.
QB Chad Henne
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Henne (6-2, 224) is a strong young man and has enough arm to make all the throws expected of a quarterback at the next level. He gets the ball out of his hand in a hurry, displays very good touch on the deep ball, and is a football fanatic who spends a lot of his extra time in the film room. In terms of intangibles, he was always a team leader for the Wolverines and has played for a premier program against some of the best competition college football has to offer.On the down side, he struggles greatly with his accuracy at times and does not always make sound decisions in the face of pressure. While he plays like a classic drop-back passer, he's not especially tall in the pocket and won't make plays on the run because of his limited mobility. After winning the starting job in Ann Arbor as a true freshman and throwing for 25 TD passes in 2004, he never improved statistically in four seasons and was somewhat of a disappointment as a senior. The Midway Monsters have also interviewed Colt Brennan of Hawaii and Joe Flacco of Delaware in addition to Henne, which suggests that the team may not be particularly interested in spending its first-rounder on a blue-chip prospect like Matt Ryan of Boston College or Andre Woodson of Kentucky.
John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.