Krenzel sore, but okay


Posted Nov 9, 2004


Lake Forest - Craig Krenzel took a shot to the ribs in the first half against the Giants, but it didn’t stop him from tossing a 35-yard touchdown pass to Bernard Berrian and improving to 2-0 as a starter.

Precautionary X-rays on Krenzel’s ribs turned out to be negative and he’s not expected to be limited in practice this week.

For the second straight game, Krenzel was sacked five times. Part of the blame can go on the offensive line, but the rookie has a tendency to hold onto the ball too long.

While 8-of-21 passing for 144 yards and a touchdown aren’t numbers to write home about, Krenzel is perfect in the most important category.

“He's led us to two wins and those eight passes that he's completed, he's completed big passes at the right time. He's running at the right time, two of those scrambles the other day (led to big plays). We're not going to tell him too much as long as he can keep leading us to victory, we'll take it.”

Obviously the bulk of the credit for the team’s two-game winning streak goes to the defense.

After giving up six points to the San Francisco 49ers, the unit came up with it’s most impressive performance in the Lovie Smith era. The defense had five takeaways, seven sacks and allowed the Giants to convert on just one of 14 third down attempts.

On the other hand, under Krenzel the Bears converted two-of-15 third down situations. In the five games without Rex Grossman behind center the offense has turned the chains just13 times out of 70 chances. On the season the Bears have a third down percentage of 24.8, which is last in the league.

“It lends itself to allowing the defense never to be put on their heels so to speak,” said offensive coordinator Terry Shea. “If you’ll notice when offenses start building rhythm and momentum it’s because they convert on third downs maybe once-twice in a row and pretty soon the defense is reeling. And we have really lacked that ability right now. We’ve got to get better offensively in that third down conversion rate or else the inconsistency of our offense will start to reflect.”

One thing Krenzel has shown a knack for is throwing the deep ball.

“He might be a better up-the-field passer right now in his development than he is in terms of the 6-yard or less throw,” said offensive coordinator Terry Shea.

The connection of Krenzel-to-Bernard Berrian has proven productive over the past two games. The two hooked up for a 35-yard touchdown in the second quarter Sunday to start the Bears' scoring. The previous game, they had a 49-yard strike against San Francisco.

"He's getting better and better, and hopefully the offense is getting better and better,'' Berrian said of Krenzel. ""We keep continuing like that, we're going to win a lot more games.''

Now Berrian hopes he can continue this new long-distance connection with Krenzel.

"If it keeps working out that way, it keeps working out that way,'' Berrian said.


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