As Grossman goes, so do the Bears

Rex Grossman has only made three NFL starts and is learning a new system. Growing pains are expected, but the 2003 first-round draft choice showed enough promise in his late-season audition that there are still high expectations for him.

"I'm expecting Rex to win right now," general manager Jerry Angelo said. "There will be the growing pains, yes, because of the experience factor. But Rex has played in a lot of big games in his career. He's played in full houses, so he's understanding of that type of environment, both at home and on the road. That was part of why we drafted Rex, because he's been in that kind of arena.

"It's just a matter of him now doing it, and we feel real good. He's been exemplary in the offseason in terms of his work habits. He has a sense of urgency. He gets it, and because of that, I feel very confident going into the season that he's going to take that next step."

This will be Grossman's fourth different offense in the past five seasons. That could create some confusion for a young player, but the experience has enabled Grossman to experience the process of adapting to different schemes in a short period of time.

The feeling is that once he learns Terry Shea's offense, Grossman will rapidly make this his team.

"He just has to execute the offense; learn it, make sure he's comfortable with it," Angelo said. "Our coaches have to make sure they (determine) what he can do the best and accentuate on that. That could be said at most any position, but particularly at that position. What we want him to do is to be the piece that he can be and to execute the offense, and I feel he knows that."

A total of six NFL starts among all four QBs on the roster does not inspire a great deal of confidence.

Grossman appears to possess the winning QB characteristics that have been in short supply for most of the last 15 years, or since Jim McMahon's short-lived prime.

While Grossman lacks prototypical size and doesn't have a rocket arm, he showed the ability to throw almost every type of pass necessary last season and with timing and touch. He won't be a factor as a runner, but he has enough agility to escape the initial rush and buy time in the pocket.

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