Million-dollar question

By hiring a defensive coach in Lovie Smith, the biggest concern is what type of coaching and teaching will be provided for quarterback Rex Grossman, who showed so much promise as a rookie this season.

"I'd say we have talent here (with) Rex," Lovie Smith said. "I like him as a player. He did well at the end of the season this past year. The Bears will go as he goes. I think the future can be bright with him leading.

"You just have to be patient with him. You have to have a good system in place for him. You have to have a good coach for him, a good quarterback coach for him, a good coordinator for him to be able to get into an offensive system that he feels comfortable in. I think we can bring that to him. If he's a young player, it can take a little bit of time for him to really get into a groove, but I think we can do that."

Rex Grossman will be playing under his fourth offensive coordinator in four years next season, but he said that's helped him assimilate different schemes rapidly and made him adaptable.

"I'm getting used to it," Grossman told WSCR. "I will be a rookie (again) in some sense, but I started three games, so I have some experience."

Quarterbacks coach Greg Olson spoke with Detroit Lions head coach Steve Mariucci about a job in Motown on Wednesday.

Olson, was Mariucci's quarterbacks coach with the San Francisco 49ers in 2001, and he expects a to receive a job offer from Mariucci Thursday. But Olson said he would also talk with Bears GM Jerry Angelo today to determine if Smith is interested in retaining him to continue his work with quarterback Grossman.

Staying in Chicago would be more conducive to Olson's family situation. His wife Lissa is the men's and women's track coach at Purdue and the couple is expecting twins in April. Olson's commute between Chicago and West Lafayette, Ind., is difficult. It would be impossible between Detroit and the Purdue campus.

"My wife would probably have to leave her job," Olson admitted. "It wouldn't be feasible. You take some chances in life, and I knew there was a chance that this would only last a year. But it could be a good opportunity to get back with Mariucci."

With Olson as his quarterbacks coach for, Jeff Garcia threw for 3,258 yards and 32 TDs in 2001.

The possible departure of Olson means Grossman could have a new tutor in 2004.

"He was a great coach," Grossman, in a radio interview, said of Olson. "I had a great relationship with him. He was a guy I talked to when I wasn't playing. He and I just talked about philosophies, and when I did get a chance to play he and I stayed late and just watched film and went over every little scenario.

"He really helped me in those three games that I did start to get prepared."

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