"He was Coach of the Regular Season, not Coach of the Year."
That's how Mariotti began his Tuesday column about the possibility of Lovie Smith eventually losing his job if he sticks with an ineffective Rex Grossman too long. He really seems to take this perverse joy in rooting for people to get fired or demoted.
Maybe that's hypocritical of me to point out since I'm constantly rooting for the Sun-Times to demote Jay to paperboy. So be it.
Anyway, Jay's basic argument is the Bears cannot afford another season of sub-par quarterbacking with the division there for the taking, and Grossman must be demoted if he can't get the job done.
So if Grossman sucks, the Bears should play Brian Griese. Really? You think so?
If there's one thing Smith has proved during his coaching tenure, it's that he has no problem making a change when someone isn't performing. Doesn't anyone remember Grossman's dramatic halftime entrance last year when a fair number of people still thought the Bears should stick with Kyle Orton? At least now if Lovie has to make a tough call like that Jay can claim he thought of it first.
Sure, I wish Grossman had performed better this preseason, but it's still the preseason. Everyone seems to forget most of Griese's heroics are coming against second teamers. Preseason games have to be about the worst measure I can think of to figure out who should be starting and who shouldn't. Ok, maybe astrology or a Scrabble tournament would be worse. But still, preseason games aren't great either.
I want to see Grossman when it matters before we start clamoring for his head. And let's keep in mind that in Grossman's biggest game to date, last year's playoff loss, Rex played pretty well against a good defense while his own defense let the team down.
Maybe it's just the silly fan in me being too sentimental, but I've waited too long to see if Rex can take over the team to throw it away over a few poor preseason performances. I understand football isn't like baseball where you can lose your first 10 games and recover by the All-Star Break. I understand if the Bears drop their first two games and then switch to Griese but wind up missing the playoffs by a game, everyone will point to those first two Grossman starts.
I can live with the risks. Grossman's had a tough start to his career and I want to see him get a chance to succeed. Yes, Jay, I'm hoping things go well for an athlete in Chicago instead of rooting for them to fail. You should give it a try sometime, it feels good.