Familiar Face to Coach Up the QBs?

Everyone knew Jay Cutler didn't have much respect for QB coach Pep Hamilton, who the Chicago Bears fired Tuesday. You'll never guess who might replace him. JC has this exclusive report.

A lot of Bears fans had never heard of Pep Hamilton when he was hired by coach Lovie Smith to be his quarterbacks coach in 2007, and it seems Jay Cutler had never heard of him either since Cutler paid Hamilton no mind his first year in Chicago.

Hamilton was pink-slipped Tuesday at Halas Hall, along with five other assistants all the way up to and including offensive coordinator Ron Turner, and it may be a familiar face taking over for Hamilton as QBs coach to work alongside Cutler.

Bear Report has learned that Gary Crowton, formerly the Bears offensive coordinator and currently holding the same post at the collegiate level at LSU, is the subject of some chatter in Baton Rouge concerning a possible return to the Windy City – the source is familiar with the inner workings of the Tigers program.

Criticized for running a gimmicky system better suited for the college game than the NFL, Crowton called the Chicago offense in 1999 and 2000 before bolting to become the head coach at BYU. Crowton's scheme moved the ball just fine in 1999, finishing eighth in the league in total offense, but all those yards didn't dent the scoreboard enough since the Bears were just 25th at 17.0 points per game. In 2000, the Midway Monsters slipped to 23rd in total offense and 28th in scoring at 13.5 points per game.

However, in his defense, Crowton was forced to deal with a three-headed nightmare under center, alternating among Cade McNown, Jim Miller and Shane Matthews, and Cutler has more natural ability than those three combined.

Bears fans would also be very interested to know that Marcus Robinson had caught a grand total of four passes in his career before Crowton's arrival. But in 1999, Robinson reeled in 84 balls, set a franchise record with 1,400 receiving yards and scored nine touchdowns. If Chicago is hopeful Devin Aromashodu can similarly transform from an afterthought on the practice squad to a bona fide No. 1 receiver, perhaps having Crowton on staff wouldn't be a bad idea.

Robinson was 6-3 and 215 pounds, while Aromashodu, who became Cutler's go-to guy the last four games of the regular season, is 6-2 and 200.

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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.

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