Chicago Bears All-Decade Team: 2000s

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Rex Grossman, QB

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Oh, Rex.  If only he would’ve thrown less interceptions, fumbled less center/quarterback exchanges, had fewer games where he completely bombed out and… well, you know.  He was an almost-great quarterback in a long list of similar ones who have played for the beloved.  I actually covered that topic in a bittersweet top-10 list of the all-time Bear quarterbacks, on which Sexy Rexy ranked number eight.

I liked Rex; I liked Rex a lot.  When he got hurt in that preseason game against St. Louis in 2005, it was a gut punch for me.  I had somehow survived the theater of the absurd that the Bears QB carousel had become and Rex, despite all his flaws, was for a short time my hope for something better.  “We have to go thru this again?” is what I thought when Rex was injured in the ’05 preseason, falling victim to a broken ankle less than a year after a week three knee injury cost him the majority of 2004.

What sticks out most to me is the Atlanta game in ’05 when Rex returned from that preseason injury, triumphantly sticking a pass into the belly of Muhsin Muhammad for a 22-yard gain over the middle on his first play from scrimmage.  We had endured 10 and a half weeks of Kyle Orton’s play-it-safe approach during which he wouldn’t even have dreamed of throwing a pass that far down the field, and all at once Rex breathed life into a lifeless offense.

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Of course, that initial drive ended abruptly via a Grossman interception — a sight we would grow all too familiar with.  Never mind that the interception was immediately fumbled and the Bears recovered, giving them a fresh set of downs at the Atlanta one-yard-line from which they scored on the next play.  The point is that drive was an accurate microcosm of the career Grossman would have with the Bears.

He was almost great.  Good enough to help guide the Bears to a Super Bowl in 2006, but not good enough to win it or to retain the starting QB job for a full season more than once.  He starts for me on the all-decade team for having one of the best-ever passing seasons for a Bears QB in 2006 (262 of 480 / 3,193 passing yards / 23 TDs, 20 INTs) and for an appearance in the Super Bowl that year.

The Other Guys….

Jay Cutler is better than Rex, that’s not a debate here.  He is arguably the best Bears QB ever and he’s closing in on having every major passing record in franchise history.  He’s the guy on whose arm our current hopes rest and when we do this all-decade thing for the 2010s, he’ll be the guy.  For this team, however, Cutler simply arrived too late as he didn’t join the Bears until 2009 via the Kyle Orton trade.

Jim Miller had a strong season in 2001, leading the Bears to a 13-3 record under Dick Jauron, but ultimately an injury in the playoffs derailed that train.  That season for him wasn’t as prolific as 2006 was for Grossman, either.  Kyle Orton always managed to play winning football while with the Bears, but it was via the “don’t take chances and let the defense keep us in it” approach.  Quite a mouthful, but not a recipe for making an all-decade team.

Next: All-2000s Chicago Bears Running Back