Joe Theismann visited with Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman Wednesday morning on AM-1000 and shared some thoughts on the Bears. If nothing else, Theismann is opinionated.
CAN YOU DETERMINE THE BEST QUARTERBACK IN TRAINING CAMP PRACTICES?
THEISMANN: I think you can. I think because both of them have a body of work already, Kyle has a body of work; Rex has a body of work. I mean, they’ve both played for the Bears over the last three years in some way, shape or form. So you look at the performance of the football team over that period of time, so you have a starting point. And then what you do, it goes into open competition; completions, moving the football team, command of the huddle, all those things will play in. Efficiency of handoffs, all the little things that you really will get graded on that you can actually look at and physically right down numbers and say ‘OK, you completed more passes in the red zone, you completed more passes here, the offense looked good under your command, the offense struggled under your command.’ And you sit down and start to evaluate it, and that’s basically what you’re going to wind up doing.
THEISMANN CONTINUED: The thing you have to remember, and I get to do it because I’m outside the city of Chicago, so I get to sort of look at this thing from the outside looking in, is both have had degrees of success leading the Chicago Bear offense. Both of them have done that. The question is: who will Lovie decide and say ‘OK, this is my guy. This is the guy we’re going forward with.’ And you can’t really fudge and say ‘Well, if he struggles I’ve got this guy.’ You have two players that have been efficient. Neither has really stepped up and captured the job. So this is the opportunity for either one of them to make a statement. You know, I think Rex throws the ball down the field very well, but now that Bernard’s gone, how much are you going to be able to do that? How much will that be a part of Ron’s offense? You know, Kyle has been very efficient when the defense played exceptionally well. Now can he provide more offense and more efficiency at that position? I really believe that this is a wide open competition.
IS DEVIN HESTER GOOD ENOUGH TO BE A NO. 1 RECEIVER?
THEISMANN: I see it a little bit differently probably than most people, because I have to look at this: if you lose a Devin Hester in your return game, how does it affect the offense? I think it has a tremendous impact. People will start kicking the ball down the field, you’ll have a longer distance to go to try and get in the end zone. Devin Hester’s mere presence poses tremendous problems for football teams in the return game. Play him at wide receiver and have him get hurt, you lose the value of so many yards gained in the return game. I think he is better served, because of his size to a degree, like an Antwan Randel-El would be for the Washington Redskins, or like a Wes Welker is for the New England Patriots. Put him in a position where he can work in certain areas of the football field and be able to catch and run with the football. Because his true asset and his true strength lies with his hands on the ball.
So to me, if you start him at wide receiver, you use the sideline as a boundary, and you limit the ability to get him the football. And people know he’s going to run by you. Devin’s fast. Let me tell you, there are a lot of defensive backs in this league that can flat run, too, and then there’s the other part of it where you still have to get the ball down the field as a quarterback in a place where he can catch it. I felt like starting Randel-El as a wide receiver for the Redskins was not the best option for him. I feel like starting Devin Hester as wide receiver for the Chicago Bears is not the best option for him or the team. … No one in the National Football League affects field position field position in the kicking game like Devin Hester. I mean, you know what it is? Devin Hester, in the kicking game, with field position, is like Tiger Woods in golf. There’s Tiger Woods, and then there’s this big gap, and then there’s other people. There’s Devin Hester, there’s this big gap, and then there’s other people.