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Monday, June 23, 2014

Ex-Bears Quarterback of the Day: Rick Mirer

Twelve years before Jay Cutler, the Bears traded a different first round pick to a different AFC West team to acquire a strong-armed mobile quarterback. The man was to be the 9,787th attempt at finding a savior at the most important position, and he was also supposed to the person who saved Dave Wannstedt's ass. He failed epically at both.

This man, of course, was Rick Mirer.

 How He Came to be a Bear:
In 1993, Mirer went 2nd overall to the Seattle Seahawks after the Patriots had settled on Drew Bledsoe at #1. It says a lot about a guy's career when Drew Bledsoe looks like an absolutely astounding success in comparison, but that's Rick Mirer for you. Mirer actually played well as a rookie by 1993 standards, throwing for nearly 3,000 yards and running for 343 more. After that, however, it was all downhill, as his inability to learn an actual NFL playbook, his horrible inaccuracy, and non-existent pocket presence led to declining numbers each year until he bottomed out and was benched in 1996 with a 56.6 rating and a 5-12 TD:INT ratio in 9 games. Mirer's time in Seattle was clearly over.

The Bears, who had lost Erik Kramer to what seemed at the time to be a potentially career-ending neck injury, actually tried to trade for Mirer before the deadline in 1996. After that effort failed they re-visited the situation in the offseason and still decided Mirer was the best hope they had at finding a franchise quarterback, so Wannstedt and Co. decided to trade the #11 overall pick in the 1997 draft (where, I will re-iterate for the 2,000,000th time, Tony F*&king Gonzalez went #13 overall in a year where the Bears biggest draft need and eventual second round draft pick was the TE position) for a guy Seattle didn't even want. I really, really would have loved to seen how those negotiation went down. Did Wannstedt even counter-offer?

Seattle: We want a first round pick
Wanny: Why? You're clearly not going to start him, is there anyone offering anything better?
Seattle: No, but you'll do this because you are literally the worst.
Wanny: That's a fair point. Have my wallet, too.  

High Point: 
Oh, Jesus. The press conference where he greeted Chicago? I can't imagine anything after that. It was all bad.

Low Point:
Mirer's time in Chicago was so terrible I think he deserves a top five "low points" list:

5) Mirer is so bad in training camp that offensive coordinator (and current Bears QB coach) Matt Cavanaugh was reportedly seen throwing his clipboard to the ground in frustration after another errant Mirer pass. The Bears article in Sports Illustrated's NFL preview that year also focused on the widespread grumblings about Mirer's inability to learn even the most basic of passing concepts.

4)Despite being handed the starting job from the second of his arrival in town, Mirer eventually lost the position as Erik Kramer returned from missing time after his neck surgery and still outclassed Mirer in every way. Wannstedt reluctantly handed the reins back to Kramer during the preseason.

3)With the Bears struggling at 0-2 and trailing the Detroit Lions, Wannstedt made the move to bench Kramer for Mirer. Mirer went just 10-21 for 90 yards and failed to move the team to any points at all as Detroit piled on in a 32-7 blowout.

2)In his second start with the Bears (a week after Mirer threw for just 154 yards and 2 INTs as the Bears were blown out 31-3 in New England), Mirer went 11-21 for just 62 yards and 1 INT in a 27-3 loss to the Cowboys, an average of just 2.95 yards per carry. Your team's passing offense should never be less effective than your average Trent Richardson run, but alas, that was Rick Mirer.

1) In his third start, Mirer was finally benched against the Saints after leading the Bears offense to a grand total of 9 points in roughly 12 quarters of action. In a final indignity, Mirer managed to get out-dueled by Heath Shuler of all people.

He'd never get another chance to redeem himself, as the Bears would cut him when he refused to take a pay cut before the next season.  In the end the Bears traded a first round pick for three starts and a statline of 53/103 (51.46%), 420 yds, 0 TDs, 6 INTs, 37.7 rating.

Fun Fact:

Despite his lack of success literally everywhere he went, Mirer still played in the NFL (well, found jobs on NFL rosters) for 12 years with the Seahawks, Bears, Packers, Jets, 49ers, Raiders, and Lions. In fact, he retired just two years before his 1993 draftmate, Drew Bledsoe. Only 32,642 passing yards, 74 career wins, 201 TD passes, and 1 Superbowl appearance separate the two.

Also, Rick Mirer is football's own Derek Zoolander, as he was widely acknowledged to struggle throwing to his left, to the point where defenses would flood the zones to his right and force him to throw into single coverage to his left, where he would fail miserably and everyone had a good laugh.

Where is He Now?:

Mirer coaches little league football and runs a winery in California. Isn't that charming.

God damn you, Dave Wannstedt.

1 comment:

Lee said...

Tony F*&king Gonzalez went #13 overall in a year where the Bears biggest draft need and eventual second round draft pick was the TE position

It's also worth noting that the trade gave Seattle the coveted double-dip draft.