Off-season analysis-quarterback

The Bears already missed out on <!--Default NodeId For Jake Plummer is 653611,2003--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:653611]>Jake Plummer</A>, but quickly turned their attention to <!--Default NodeId For Kordell Stewart is 291804,2002--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:291804]>Kordell Stewart</A> and <!--Default NodeId For Jeff Blake is 266125,2002--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:266125]>Jeff Blake</A>. If they miss out on both of them, is their another answer to the quarterback problem?

Jim Miller was released on February 24th, amid the early round of the league's salary cap bloodletting. His shoulder rehabilitation was likely to keep him out of drills until the summer, and that's if things went well.

It's doubtful Chris Chandler will be brought back after yet another injury-plagued season. He was very slow in adjusting to the West Coast Offense, and is a health concern with his knack for concussions. At the press conference for Miller's release, General Manager Jerry Angelo hinted that Chandler would be on the roster going into camp. Not much can be read into this, however.

Henry Burris, who played poorly last year, is off to NFL Europe to work on his game.

Corey Sauter is a restricted free agent this offseason, but showed some promise in his mop up efforts in the season finale. Sauter was tendered an offer at the end of last week.

Although Chandler and Burris are under contract, there's a good chance at most one of them will still be on the team for the season opener.

The surprising release of Jim Miller opens the door for a quarterbacking situation that will have a new face. Free agent possibilities include Kordell Stewart, Jeff Blake and Shaun King. Brian Griese was told to seek a trade by Denver, and likely will get cut in June if nothing happens on that front. It has been reported that the Bears have a "healthy interest" in Griese, but no details have been given regarding whether or not any offers were made. Stewart and Blake sat down with the Bears last week, but nothing has come of the meeting, yet. Given the Bears' situation, they cannot afford to wait until June's cuts to make a decision.

At one point, there was a rumor that Elvis Grbac, who spent last season away from the game, would come out of retirement. He recently announced his intentions to remain retired.

With the 4th pick overall in the draft, the Bears will have an excellent opportunity to select either Byron Leftwich or Carson Palmer. The problem here is that Palmer is likely to be gone, and Leftwich comes with a questionable injury history. Angelo has made no secret about his trepidation over selecting players at the top of the draft with injury questions. Palmer would seem an excellent fit for any version of the West Coast Offense. There are a few scenarios that would drop him to the Bears' pick. Moving up to get a potential franchise quarterback for years to come would sound like a reasonable gamble at this point. Angelo has not made this sound very likely.

Regardless of who is in camp at quarterback, it will be interesting to see how newly hired quarterback coach Greg Olson works with his group. Olson was involved in the development of Drew Brees at Purdue and Jeff Garcia in San Francisco. It will also be interesting to see how Offensive Coordinator John Shoop works with Olson. Shoop, who has been referred to as a micromanager by the local media, will need to quickly get Olson on the same page, so he can be comfortable with delegating.

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