Grossman’s recent performance in his pre-season debut with the Redskins got me to thinkin’; can this guy really be better than I thought? Yeah sure it’s a preseason game, but I expected to see fumbled handoffs, interceptions and stalled drives the moment McNabb took his pads off. I think we all felt the same thing; Buffalo must be really bad if they can make Rex Grossman look like our starter.
It’s easy to have doubts about the abilities of Rex Grossman even though he’s played in a Super Bowl. Everyone knows that Grossman made his way into that Super Bowl on the backs of his defense. When you think about Grossman you see a QB rating of 59.7 since he achieved that rating twice in his career with the Bears.
I’ll admit that I’m still not entirely clear on how a QB rating is calculated, but I think they give you 59.7 just for showing up.
The other major stat to look at are his career TD’s and INT’s. He has 33 TD passes and 36 INT’s for his career. In the Bears last Super Bowl year, Grossman threw 23 touchdowns, 20 interceptions, and was sacked 21 times. It was also the only year that Grossman played all 16 games.
Is it possible that maybe, just maybe, some of Grossman’s struggles are because he was playing for a team that did not have a very good offensive system? Could Grossman’s abilities be more than what his stats seem to show?
Chicago has a history of QB’s on the hot-seat. For the Bears you have to go all the way back to 1993 to find a QB that kept his starting job for longer than two years (Jim Harbaugh 1990-93). During Grossman’s time with Chicago he was part of a QB committee that included Kyle Orton and Brian Griese. Not including 2006 (the only year Grossman started 16 games and coincidentally the only year the Bears made it to the Super Bowl) Grossman averaged only four games per season while he was with the Bears.
In the two years that Grossman was rated at 59.7 he only played a combined total of six games (two in ’05 and four in ’08) and only started a combined two games (one each year).
Now I know what you are thinking. “Bob, if the offensive system is bad, it’s usually because you have a bad QB.” Certainly, QB’s can make their own luck in an offensive system, but sometimes the players around the QB can have an impact on their performance. In other occasions it’s the scheme, and in some cases it’s the coach.
Kyle Orton and Jay Cutler swapped teams in 2009. Whereas Orton went on to have a career year in Denver, Jay Cutler set records for career lows in Chicago. Not only did Cutler’s QB rating drop nearly 10 points from his average (87.5 in three years with Denver to 76.8 his first year with Chicago) but he also threw more interceptions (18 interceptions in 2008 with Denver, 26 INT’s with Chicago) and was sacked far more times (27 sacks in 2007, 35 sacks with Chicago).
When you compare Grossman’s full year in 2006 with Cutler’s in 2009, the Stats are surprisingly similar. Cutler still comes out ahead, but you see what I mean when I say that an offensive system can bring down a QB’s production.
Now I’m not lobbying for Grossman to be our starter over McNabb, but I think I’m starting to see that maybe Kyle Shanahan has seen what Grossman can really do. It’s possible that the younger Shanahan has found a way to bring out the best in Grossman. After digging through the stats, I’m starting to feel a little more confident with Grossman as our backup.
No offense, Rex, I hope we never have to see you during the regular season, but for now I’m satisfied that the Shanahan’s know what they are doing.