It's Too Bad He's Not Jewish
Seriously, though, this year has been a long strange trip already for Grossman, even if he is a goyim. Before the season, everyone in Chicago was calling for his head. Brian Griese was the most popular man in town. Even those of us defending Grossman, were doing so mostly on a wing and a prayer. By the way, I deserve no credit for standing by Grossman as the Bears' starter; I also was calling for Cedric Benson to take Thomas Jones' job as recently as two weeks ago. But the most important person in this whole equation, Lovie Smith, also stood by Grossman.
Today, Mike Mulligan unveiled the results of a little locker room poll he conducted. He asked Bears' players who the the team could least afford to lose to an injury -- who the most indispensable Bear is. Number one is no surprise: Brian Urlacher. Number two? That's right: Rex Grossman. Six weeks ago this guy was so dispensable that everyone thought Griese should start. Now the general consensus is that if Griese does have to start, the team's Super Bowl aspirations will go up in a cloud of smoke, or three yards and a cloud of dust.
Grossman's teammates pointed out that the QB is a playmaker, not just a game manager, and that while the Bears could survive on offense without him, they probably couldn't thrive. Tackle Fred Miller compared Grossman to an old teammate of his, the Rams' MVP-era Kurt Warner.
The Bears' players are right. The team's offense is the third most efficient in football, behind the league's most efficient passing attack. The running game has been just average so far. Grossman has been the NFL's most efficient quarterback, and it's third most productive overall. In 152 passes, he has produced 1212 yards, 10 touchdowns and only three turnovers. That touchdown total is second in football to Donovan McNabb. In fact, Grossman probably joins McNabb and Peyton Manning as the current leaders in the MVP race. In other words, holy crap, Grossman really is indispensable.
In many ways this is a great development. Grossman is finally living up to the potential that the Bears, and Grossman's college coach Steve Spurrier, saw in him when he was a first round draft pick. On the other hand, the reason Grossman has yet to live up to his potential is because he's been fairly snakebit and injury prone so far in his career. Hopefully he's past that. But this could just mean it's going to suck even more when Grossman invariably fractures his coccyx jogging out to the huddle in week 8.