Chicago Sun-Times

Mailbag Vol. V -- answers

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After a bye weekend for everyone, we jump back into the blog. Send your questions and we’ll have another round out in no time.

Q: Brian Griese has thrown more picks than TDs; fumbled three snaps in five games called out Mark Bradley for not picking up his signal against Detroit that led to, according to Griese, the free safety knowing where the ball was going, notwithstanding that his arm could not get it there; underthrew a fly to Devin Hester, who had two steps on the corner at Philly; took credit for calling the plays in the Philly game; blamed his coach for not opening up the playbook, even though he typically dumps the ball off before the receivers have broken on their routes; is a Green Bay collapse and Ed Hochuli call away from being 0-5; has said that he has never seen a team lacking leadership (shot at the captains, coaches, Rex Grossman?); and slid instead of diving for the first down against Detroit, when all needed was one more yard to the get the first down and keeping the defense on the sideline?

Not sure when you and the other media members will wake up to these facts, but this is why Mike Shanahan ran him out of Denver. It's time for you to stop trying to justify the change to Griese and report on his unique way of disrupting team chemistry and otherwise playing like a poor man's Shane Matthews.

Timothy C., Chicago

Timothy: Can you tell us how you really feel about Griese? I understand he’s played very poorly at times, there’s no other way to describe how the Detroit Lions intercept you seven times inside their own 40-yard line in two games. Take away the bulk of those and it’s probably two wins for the Bears and they’re not currently delirious in Motown with a 4-4 club.

But where would you have the Bears and Lovie Smith turn? Most of the people clamoring for Griese to go are forgetting how bad Rex Grossman was in his three starts. One touchdown. Six picks. Nine sacks. The deeper we go into the season the more apparent it is that Jerry Angelo will once again be on a quarterback of the future hunt. It’s a tired storyline in this town.

Q: You really should have mentioned Israel Idonije in your midseason review of special teams. Kickoff team, kickoff return team (he IS the wedge now), blocked field goals, punt return team, filling in quite nicely at defensive tackle and end ... in fact I’d have him rotating in more and keep Mark Andersen fresh.

Anyway, Idonije is having a hell of year and playing his butt off. He has done much more than anyone else you mentioned in your Special Teams A- grading.

Jim G., Schaumburg

Jim: I did mention Idonije as well as linebacker Rod Wilson, who has quietly developed into the kind of consistent cover man the team lost when safeties Todd Johnson and Cameron Worrell departed in free agency. Brendon Ayanbadejo, the Bears’ representative on the NFC Pro Bowl ballot, is deserving of another trip to Honolulu. It’s too bad Idonije can’t get a spot on the fan ballot as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets some support from coaches and players when their turn comes in the selection process.

Q: Regarding Rex Grossman's situation and/or standing with Jerry Angelo, Lovie Smith and the coaching staff, what are the chances that he is brought back under a contract arrangement similar to what the Ravens did with Kyle Boller at the end of last season? In other words, a shorter deal for backup money? In that scenario, if he then wins the job in next year's camp and performs well, he's back in line for a starter's deal for bigger money and a longer contract term. If a lot of that depends on whether he gets back in the lineup this season, given Brian Griese's less than stellar play, how close are we to see that happening?

Sam A., Irving, Texas

Sam: Well, with Tony Romo staying in your backyard for the foreseeable future, you can scratch him off the list of possible Bear quarterbacks in 2008. Oh wait, that never would have happened. To think the Bears let him get out of their backyard at Eastern Illinois.

It’s not out of the realm of possibilities Grossman will get another shot before this season is over, but the way things have gone it’s my opinion that both parties would be better off with a fresh start. Grossman was put through the ringer here and you get the feeling anything he ever does will never be enough to satisfy some. Grossman could benefit from a change of scenery, perhaps some different coaching and the opportunity to start anew. I think Angelo needs to focus on solving the starter issue before he worries about the backup. While nothing outstanding to this point, he’s already got Griese under contract longterm and Kyle Orton is signed on for one more season.

Q: Why draft defensive end Dan Bazuin in the second round? Why not a free safety or strong safety or cornerback and let Charles Tillman go to FS free safety. The Bears have four good defensive ends.

Alex, Parts Unknown

Alex: That’s a question that was tossed about in April when it happened. The Bears were exploring ways to trade Alex Brown, who wanted out, and thought Bazuin could contribute immediately in the rotation. That changed when he injured his knee the following weekend in the rookie minicamp. Jerry Angelo has spoken in terms of making certain a strength remains a strength, in other words fortifying where he was solid to make sure he remained that way. I’m not saying I agree with the approach, I’m just sharing with you one explanation given. Then, the Bears had a very high grade on Bazuin and we’ve still yet to see what he can do with him on the injured reserve.

As far as Charles Tillman to free safety, I hear that a lot and I wonder why? Why is everyone so anxious to move the team’s best cornerback to a position that is lower on everyone’s board in terms of significance? Tillman is a very fine left cornerback. No one is going to confuse him with Champ Bailey, but when you look around the league today you can do a lot worse than Tillman. I would put him in the second tier of cornerbacks out there. I don’t think his traits would translate as well as a safety, either. Could he play the position sure? But if you moved Tillman to safety there would be a whole new line of questioning that would be formed about what the team is going to do at corner.

Q: With the dropped passes against the Lions, how come a sure-handed receiver like Mike Hass isn't in the game? There should be zero tolerance for critical drops. From what I have read and seen, Hass at least can hold on to the ball. Brian Griese has stated that he is very comfortable throwing to Hass, if this is so, how come he isn't in the game?

David L., Parts Unknown

David: How about this -- why is Hass on the roster if he isn’t going to get a shot? Hass, a former Biletnikoff Award winner from Oregon State, has dressed for only the Philadelphia game and played only special teams in it. The short answer is that as a bottom tier receiver he’d have to be a terrific special teams player to dress.

The long answer involves the team’s fascination with Mark Bradley, who continues to get countless opportunities and has done little with them. He has two catches through eight games. The Angelo regime is draft pick driven. Hass was a free-agent pickup who spent last season on the practice squad. I’m not sure who you take out if not Bradley to give Hass a chance. I think the team needs to get Bernard Berrian the ball more, in fact I know it, Muhsin Muhammad needs to be used in the slot more, and Devin Hester needs to be brought along. Where do you fit Hass in?

Q: Brian Griese and Rex Grossman have gotten their chances and their play has been broken down every possible way. When will we get to see Kyle Orton, or what will it take to see Orton play? I’m not saying he’s the answer, but how will Jerry Angelo, Ron Turner, Lovie Smith or the ball boys know if the man can do the job if we only see him in mop-up time against stiffs from Somewhere State University in mid-August? Enlighten me.

Steve F., Downers Grove

Steve: That’s a tall order you’re requesting in terms of enlightenment. Here’s the thing that strikes me about the Bears’ current situation: Mired at 3-5 they’re in a real rough spot if they can’t get this thing turned around soon. When teams are struggling through the final quarter of a season, that’s when you get a look at younger players who don’t have a lot of experience and might or might not factor in to your future.

Dick Jauron waited until the Bears were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs in 2003 before turning to Grossman in his rookie season. If it came to the point where this team has nothing but pride on the line, you’d think Orton would be given a shot. If the Bears don’t turn to Orton in a situation like that, I think it would send a pretty clear message about how the brain trust feels about him.

Now, if a roll or even a mini-roll starts Sunday at October, well, you’ve got some waiting to do to see Orton under center next August.

Thanks for the questions. More fun next time.

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Why is everyone discussing Griese, Alex Brown and whether Vasher should be a safety instead of a cornerback? The problem is not with the available players, except for "Wrecks" that is but with the coaching. Lovie Smith is not an NFL quality Head Coach period end of story. All you need to do is look at his deficiencies in virtually every aspect of the game. 1, Hiring? Ron Turner, maybe one of the worst college coaches of all time as Offensive Coordinator? If we had Tom Brady and Randy Moss our offense would still suck with Ron Turner calling the plays. Bob Babich as defensive coordinator? His main qualification is being Lovie's friend. Look how he has taken some of the best defensive talent in the league and wasted it. Look at the Steeler's defense tonight on MNF! That is how you use linebackers and defensive backs. Pressure the quarterback!!! Not have your middle linebacker drop into coverage on every play and try to cover wide receivers with a safety. The Cover Two, Tampa Two or the Lovie Two, whatever you want to call it is a bust and Lovie is too stupid to see it. 2, Lovie is unable to make adjustments at half time much less during the course of the year. Have the Bears improved at all since opening day? Have any changes been made to try and fix things? Or are we discussing the same problems every week i.e. Why can't we stop the run? Why can't we get the ball into the wide receiver's hand? Why can't we get the ball to Hester? Why can't we run the football? All that is the fault of the Head Coach and he is doing nothing to change it. 3, Lovie makes horrible personnel decisions and never plays the right people. It took him a lost Super Bowl, countless terrible games, tons of fumbles and interceptions to determine what any 9 year old football fan in the country knows: "Wrecks" Grossman is not an NFL quarterback. You're seeing the same stupid mistakes with running back. Cedric Benson is a bust pure and simple yet Lovie keeps running him out there instead of starting Peterson, Wolfe or R.J. Pope. How stupid can Lovie be? Really stupid, because he is still playing Adam Archuleta as well. How about throwing to Mark Bradley? Or flip flopping Danieal Manning from safety to corner? Or trading Chris Harris, letting Todd Johnson and Worrell go to sign Adam Archuleta? Didn't Lovie see any film of the Redskins last year? Archuleta can't play!!! Why can't lovie see that??!! 4, Lovie will end Brian Urlacher's career. Instead of running a real defense that would take advantage of Urlacher's talents and making everyone better around him, Lovie will continue to run the Lovie Cover Two and drop Urlacher back into coverage on every play, destroy his back and allow the defense to give up tons of rushing and passing yards each game. Remember back in 2001 when Urlacher was a one man wrecking crew? Rushing the quarterback, stopping the run, dropping Michael Vick in the backfield and planting running backs for lost yardage? Instead we have him dropping back, playing a soft zone and trying to cover receivers. What a waste!!!!!!!!!! Let's face facts. The Bears are done unleass Angelo, Lovie Smith and the entire staff are fired. Hire Steve Mariucci!! Beg Bill Cowher to coach! Hire Russ Grimm!!! Do something to save the franchise!!!

Biggs - time to man up! The double standard that your and the rest of the media are affording Griese is disgusting. If Rex would have thrown 4 picks including 3 in the endzone you would have been roasting him in the media, that would be what every story line is about. Because you and the rest of the media in this town like to think you are experts and try to play coach and GM, you were all calling for Griese! Now that he has flopped and shown why he is on his fourth team for a reason, you turn the blind eye. You would rather blame Benson, the play calling, the defense, and now my favorite blame Urlacher instead of saying you were wrong. Not only is Griese a terrible quarter back but he is a horrible, horrible leader. Yes Rex got off to a tough start. That was against three very good teams in SD, KC, and Dallas. Compare his start to the season with Drew Brees! Brees had 1 td and 9 ints in his first three games. Did the Saints pull him? No they stuck with him and now they are back in it. The Bears would be no worse that 5-3 right now if they stuck with Grossman. The kid wins! He has eaten Detroit alive in his career and has only lost one game in his life in the division. Griese is only worried about his stats - that is why he dumps the ball off all game, which in term leave us trailing all game, every game he has been in there until late in the 4th. He is able to get a lot of yards late in the fourth against the prevent defenses. When he dumps it off against the prevent, the receivers can eat up cheap yards, unfortunately early in the games when Defenses are in their base packages, the dump offs turn to three and outs. Also, what happened to all the media who said that Griese wouldn't make the stupid mistake and turnovers like Grossman, you know all the fumbles and stupid throws in doubel coverage, please - at least Grossman had upside. Griese best game this year came with a 90+ rating, Grossman had 7+ games over a 100 and often blew teams out last year. This year thanks to Griese, we play behind by two scores and hope for the prevent D to come. HEY CHICAGO MEDIA - THANKS FOR NOTHING! OH, AND KEEP UP THE STORY LINES SO WE CAN RUN URLACHER OUT OF HERE TOO! YOU HAVE SHOWN SUCH GREAT JUDGEMENT UP TO NOW!

Have the Bears been doing anything to get Hester more time on offense? Is he doing any better on learning the WR position?


Rex Grossman will sign with the Packers next year and Brett will groom him as heir apparent.

the Pack was drooling to take him in the draft that year.

Rex will get into a real offense, a real scheme and under the tutelage of a guy he can pattern himself after.

The Bears offense this year reminds me of the very very painful Shoop offenses under Wannie. (and though Rex was part of it in the beginning, clearly the reasons extended far beyond him)

They shouldn't be allowed to even play in the NFL, much less prime time.

Brad Biggs is right about Lovie. It's obvious that Lovie is in over his head.

Let's talk DRAFT 2008. But before that Virginia needs to fire Angelo, Lovie, Turner and Babich. She's certainly not her old man. Mr. Halas wouldn't have allowed this to continue. Maybe an old woman shouldn't own a NFL franchise since she treats the staff like her grandchildren. I think she is too weak of an owner and not demanding enough.She should sell the franchise now before she drives it into the dump.

BRAD SAYS: Mike, I didn't say Lovie was in over his head at any point.

I'm with Timothy. Griese is a Grease ball who at best is inconsistent. Aside from stats, Griese hasn't been able to find the end zone in recent games as well. Point being...we all knew (or should have known) what Griese is. Rex, while he struggled, has a big upside and has shown his upside way more often than Griese has. With the season pretty much over, wouldn't the Bears rather see if Rex can get on track instead of sticking with a guy who is career back-up? We can at least admit the body of work on Rex is not enough to say what kind of career QB he will be.

haha. Good call J. Barrett. I would say Mariotti is at the top of the list of those in the "media"

Nelson M & J. Barrett: Thank you. You have articulated everything I would say but can't because my frustration builds at how people jump over Rex (who started one full year and helped guide the team to the Superbowl) and once they get their way and find Griese, they say "Well the team is struggling." I would reiterate the rest of your facts but I have to say Mariotti is certainly at the top of the list. Also, since I moved to FL every time I've been back in the city, I heard Mac Jurko and Harry tearing Grossman apart and people calling in to get in on the action.

Start Grossman. It's not like he is going to lose a playoff shot for you at this point. Let him try being QB with Hester and Olsen participating in the offense. Maybe try letting him run some play action and throw the ball deep to Berrian...remember Berrian? Because Griese obviously doesn't. He's too busy throwing to Peterson on third and 12.

You miss the playoffs, Grossman can leave, and you gave it your best shot. And then Bogey will be right: We will have to see Grossman twice a year lighting us up, and since he has a cocky edge never letting anyone forget about being chased out of here for Brian Griese.

And Mariotti will find something else to bash Chicago for.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on November 5, 2007 8:19 PM.

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