Forgive the NFL head coaches, for they know not what else to say. Sadly, should we opt to read anything NFL-related this time of year, there is a better than odds on probability of reading some of the effluvium from the mouths of said coaches. This year is no different, as Chicago head coach Lovie Smith amply demonstrated.
Responding to his own question regarding the Bears' quarterback situation, Lovie was adamant that there were no favorites. "It's dead even," Smith said, referring to the quarterback, ahem, competition between Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman. "The guy who ends up winning the position, we feel real good about him leading us where we want to go."
Where, precisely, the Bears want to go is unclear. But if the recent performances of Grossman and Orton are any indication, Lovie must have his sights set on another high first-round draft pick.
In eight games last season, Grossman had four touchdown passes, seven interceptions, and 1,400 yards passing. More alarming than these numbers, however, was that Grossman took 25 sacks last season.
If Grossman's game statistics are not alarming enough, there is the added fact that Grossman has started a mere 14 games in his five-year NFL career--a stat inflated by his one full-season of injury-free play in 2006.
While Grossman's past performance and injury history ought to send up warning flags, it is merely pathetic, rather than unreasonable, for Lovie to be compelled to announce that there is an open competition between Grossman and Orton.
In three games as a starter last season, Orton threw three touchdown passes and two interceptions, totaling 478 yards of passing. Those numbers are slightly better than Grossman's, though most of Orton's positive stats came in a meaningless season finale against the defensively challenged New Orleans Saints. Only Orton's two sacks given up appear to distinguish Orton's on-field performance in a statistically significant way from that of Grossman's.
Lovie, of course, is hyping his quarterback race because he has no alternative--Grossman and Orton are the team's only meaningful quarterback options in 2008. That's not good for a team already without its top receiver and running back from 2007. And it's yet but one sign that, no matter how dire the situation, teams from around the NFL already are pitching unrealistic hope for high returns in 2008.
Up Next: Then and Now. Plus, Favre trade appears likely and more selling from around the NFL.