By Dan Bernstein–
CBSChicago.com senior columnist
(CBS) One bad game last week might not have been enough to quell the latest collective delusion among some Bears fans starved for quarterbacking yet again, but one like Saturday’s should do it.
Five interceptions of every conceivable shape and form will likely end any remaining infatuation with the cipher that is Matt Barkley and any misplaced campaign for his installment as the next leader of the Bears’ offense. That was some genuinely alarming stuff from a kid who by being up to that point both not horrible and not Jay Cutler had earned more than his share of starry-eyed admirers in a city that really should know better.
Smart football people tried to tell these overexcited folks for some time not to plant their flags here, citing both the scout’s eye test and even the most cursory examination of statistics. 670 The Score’s Greg Gabriel handled the former by noting Barkley’s lack of arm strength, height and mobility, concluding that he was at best a “marginal backup and solid third quarterback.” And to Gabriel’s credit, he wrote that back on Dec. 12, before Barkley imploded, and predicted then that “upcoming opponents will adjust” to take away his more comfortable throws.
The Score’s Hub Arkush pointed to the numbers just last week, figures that now skidded into ignominy with 12 interceptions to eight touchdowns and a passer rating of 70.3 over five starts in which the Bears have gone 1-4. He also pointed out correctly that much of Barkley’s production had been compiled against softer umbrella coverages protecting large early leads and happy to give up chunks underneath the deeper secondary.
But nothing stands in the way of misplaced quarterbacking hope in this city, home to both a heritage NFL franchise and embarrassing history at the position that have combined to create bizarre cult heroes and intensely tribalistic camps in support of one novel straw-man or another.
Add Matt Barkley to the list of passers who have caused misplaced ripples of belief amid a fan base that by now should be expected to better discern such things. He joins Mike Tomczak, Shane Matthews, Kyle Orton and Josh McCown among others who only played well enough to expose the desperation of the simplest among us, causing them to see what they wanted to see.