Following the New York Jets’ acquisition of Brett Favre from the Green Bay Packers, the Jets had a surplus of quarterbacks and released veteran Chad Pennington on Thursday. The rumor mill was abuzz immediately.
Because many Bears fans’ hopes were dashed when the slim-to-none chances of Favre coming to the Bears were eradicated late Wednesday night, the attention turned to the quarterback who lost his job because of the trade. Suddenly, Bears fans — and the media — were asking, “Why not Pennington?”
Here’s why: the Bears are not one player away from making a championship run, which was the primary reason the Bears had no interest in acquiring Favre (plus the fact that Favre would cost a Jerry-Angelo-coveted draft pick and could retire at the drop of a hat).
The Bears are in rebuilding mode. They’re not looking for a quick-fix solution — or a “Band-Aid” player, as Jerry Angelo likes to call it — to fill the biggest hole the team has had for countless years. The Bears want to develop a young quarterback into a franchise player.
Now, the cynics and skeptics will say, “Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton are not franchise quarterbacks and never will be, so why are the Bears wasting their time trying to develop them?” The answer is that good quarterbacks don’t grow on trees, which explains why two-thirds of the league’s teams are looking for a good one.
That’s something that Bears fans don’t seem to grasp. Finding a good quarterback is not like trying on a pair of shoes. You can’t toss them to the side and try on the next pair until you get one you like. When you draft one, you’re stuck with him for a while while you test him repeatedly to see if he fits.
Pennington, while maybe possessing a bit better talent than both Grossman and Orton, is already 32 years old. He doesn’t have many good years left in him. In fact, he didn’t exactly expend too many good years, either. He’s never thrown more than 22 touchdown passes in a season; Grossman threw 23 in 2006. He averages 0.9 interceptions per start; Grossman has a tad more at 1.1. His highest passing yardage total is 3,352 while Grossman’s is 3,193.
He’s never done anything in his career to wow you and he’s not that much more careful with the ball than either Grossman or Orton.
As I wrote in my previous blog entry, Angelo will give the situation his due diligence, but the Bears won’t be in a bidding war for his services.
There’s only one quarterback, rumored to be out of a job soon, that I truly believe the Bears have any interest in and that’s Chris Simms. Assuming he gets released, the chorus of clamoring from disgruntled Bears fans upset with the quarterback situation will once again crescendo.