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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Griese to replace Grossman at QB for Bears

NFL.com Wire Reports

The NFL Network's Adam Schefter has confirmed that Brian Griese will start at quarterback Sunday for the Chicago Bears.

Griese will replace Rex Grossman, who threw three interceptions as the Chicago Bears fell to the Dallas Cowboys 34-10 on Sunday night and did not get a vote of confidence from his coach a day later.

"Will Rex Grossman start Sunday?" coach Lovie Smith asked on Monday, repeating the question. "Well, our evaluation process is going on right now, and if you come out to practice Wednesday, you'll have a better idea of who will be starting at all positions."

Smith gave his usual answer when asked Sunday night about Grossman -- "Rex Grossman is our quarterback" -- but his tone was different on Monday, fueling speculation Brian Griese might start Sunday against Detroit.

Grossman's supporters would have a hard time arguing against the move, considering he ranks 23rd in the league with 500 yards, has a 45.2 passer rating and is 47-of-89 (52.8 percent) with a league-leading six interceptions and just one touchdown.

But is Griese the answer?

A Pro Bowl pick with Denver in 2000, he has passed for 16,564 yards, but has also been released three times -- by the Broncos, Miami and Tampa Bay.

"I have confidence in our entire football team," Smith said. "Brian is a part of that. After you have a loss like that, we all feel bad. We should."

And Smith realizes something needs to change -- quickly.

At 1-2, the Bears are certainly not living up to those soaring expectations after last season's Super Bowl appearance. Besides Grossman's struggles, injuries are mounting.

They lost former Pro Bowl safety Mike Brown and starting nose tackle Dusty Dvoracek to season-ending knee injuries in the opener at San Diego. And on Sunday, Bears were falling like dominoes.

Linebacker Lance Briggs (groin), cornerback Nathan Vasher (groin) and defensive tackle Tommie Harris (knee) all left the game with injuries. Offensive lineman Ruben Brown suffered what was announced as a game-ending ankle injury, although he returned near the end.

"All of these injuries we're evaluating right now," Smith said. "I can't give you anything else."

As for the evaluation at quarterback, Grossman's troubles are well-documented and they explain why the Bears let him enter this season with an expiring contract rather than an extension.

He was the NFC Offensive Player of the Month last September. Now, he may not be the starting quarterback when September ends.

There certainly is blame to pass around, but the focus is on the quarterback.

The Bears were hoping Grossman would play the way he did the first five weeks last season and ditch the inconsistency he showed the rest of the way.

Well, he is more consistent.

The problem is "Bad Rex" keeps lining up behind center, and that's bad news for the Bears.

Smith stuck with Grossman last season, but that leash appears to be growing shorter with each pass into double or triple coverage; there were a few of those on Sunday night.

Like the one that Anthony Henry picked off early in the fourth quarter.

Dallas' Nick Folk had just kicked a 44-yard field goal when Grossman tried to hit Muhsin Muhammad in triple coverage. Henry intercepted and ran it back 28 yards for a touchdown that made it 27-10 and put away the Bears.

Grossman didn't get much help.

"All the way around the whole offense, it was one of those days where it seemed like we'd get something going and it'd fall back, and we just couldn't get anything going," wide receiver Bernard Berrian said.

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Atlanta Falcons' DeAngelo Hall Goes Off In Loss To Panthers

I don’t know why Atlanta Falcons Cornerback De Angelo Hall went off in the game againt Carolina, but I’m sure it was related to the kind of year he’s had thus far. D-Hall’s been torched. He was taken to school by Chad Johnson in the second game of the season, and the Panther’s Steve Smith wasn’t so kind either. Still, he’s been beaten before, so that can’t be the only reason for his actions that producd not one but two personal foul penalties.

But after reading the AJC, it seems that Hall’s got a hot head, and Smith may have figured out how to get to him. It certainly worked, as the Panthers scored on the critical three-penalty-drive that led to their victory over the Falcons 27-20. For his part, Hall’s facing a team-given punishment and is going to take it like an adult: "I made a mistake. I promise it won't happen again, no matter what."

We’ll see.

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