It's time to answer questions on Bears, Favre more
Posted: Friday January 13, 2006 4:40PM; Updated: Friday January 13, 2006 4:40PM
Rex Grossman will have his hands full against the Panthers on Sunday.
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I know what you're thinking: Dude finally bagged enough mail to fill a column -- in which case you'd be half-right. Quantity, I've got no problem with. It's the quality in the quantity that's eluded my inbox. That is, until now. From Da Bears to Pooh Bear to a grisly encounter with Hawks GM Billy Knight, what follows are the e-mails that inspired a mailbag medley:
I'm a Bears season-ticket holder and I was just wondering how far do you think they'll go? -- Mark, Chicago
All year, I've kept mum about the hometown Bears, fearful that any sort of on-the-record opinion might upset their playoff groove. But now that they're in, off comes the muzzle. Like most Bears fans, I felt a lot better about their chances after their conference-clinching win over Brett Favre and the hobbled Packers. I also didn't mind Lovie Smith resting most of the regulars in Week 17 at Minnesota. But the more my dad (also a Bears fan) bemoaned the 34-10 loss at the Metrodome, the more it grated. Taking the last week of the season off is one thing when you're, say, the Indianapolis Colts, and your offense is instant. But resting a quarterback (Rex Grossman) whose biological clock is stuck on the third week of the season could be risky. While Grossman's experience might look good on paper (three years), it's amounted to little in the way of actual games played (eight).
That said, Grossman isn't going to be the guy to win this game, as most of the success he's enjoyed to date comes as a byproduct of the improving health of Bernard Berrian. The second-year receiver was shelved in late October with torn ligaments in his right thumb, and it was right around that time that the Bears offense, already running on fumes, went into the tank. (When the Bears defense wasn't scoring points, it was setting them up.) While Berrian isn't exactly a touchdown machine (he has none many this season), he is a burner with the kind of deep speed that makes aggressive defenses like Carolina's nervous and gives receives like Muhsin Muhammad and DesmondClark some room to operate underneath.
So since you can already assume that I've got the Bears beating Carolina at home, let's address the original question: How far can they go? It might depend on which Redskins team turns up in Seattle on Saturday: the one that hung 31 on the Eagles in Week 17, or the one that couldn't complete a pass in Tampa last week? Mark, you said you're a season ticket holder. Do me a favor and take a digital camera to stadium next week. I want to see what an NFC Championship looks like. It's been waaay too long.
And while we're on the subject of people who'd do anything to relive the past: Packers fans have turned this into an art form, tearing me a new inbox for suggesting that Brett Favregive some thought to finishing his career in New Orleans and saving the city. As much as No. 4 is worshiped in Wisconsin, they're in no hurry to make him a Saint. The very idea chafes at the heart of everything that is Cheesehead and invites only the most impassioned invective from a fanbase that was quick to dismiss my trial balloon as uninformed, unintelligible and even -- gasp -- fictitious.