Grossman adapting to leadership role

Bourbonnais - Rex Grossman has spent the past six months working towards a Ph.D. in Terry Shea's offense. As the team broke training camp Wednesday, both Grossman and the coaching staff feel he's a step closer to graduation.

"I've seen it really everywhere," Lovie Smith said of Grossman's improvement since the start of training camp. "At first our plays, they're long just calling the plays in the huddle. I can remember when Rex was having a little trouble doing that. There's no doubt who the leader of the team is. They all know it. There's just him stepping into the huddle. Making the calls, guys believing, receivers knowing that he's going to get them the ball."

Grossman only has three career starts under his belt, but has taken the bulk of the first team reps throughout the various off-season workouts as well as training camp. In his only series in the preseason opener, he completed four-of-five passes for 39 yards and had a touchdown pass taken away because of a holding penalty.

"I feel extremely comfortable, a lot more comfortable than I thought I would at this point, just from the fact that looking at that big play book in February it was like wow, I've got a lot of work to do," Grossman said. "And now I feel really comfortable with where I'm at and I couldn't be more excited with where I'm at."

While the entire offense has now been implemented, look for Grossman to get more snaps during the final three preseason games than a more experienced quarterback would need.

"I'm really looking forward to the San Francisco game. It will be a direct reflection of how well we've played in this training camp," Grossman said.

Notes: Backup quarterback Jonathan Quinn (left shoulder) was held out of practice again Wednesday, but Smith said he's scheduled to play Saturday. ... Receiver Marty Booker (hamstring) wasn't around Wednesday, but it was because of a personal issue rather than injury. He'll likely play Saturday.

Homecoming: Marcus Reese has emerged as one of the biggest surprises in training camp and is now in position to win a starting job with the Bears.

The former undrafted free agent out of UCLA might not even be in Chicago if it weren't for a rash of injuries with in San Francisco. At the start of the 2003 season five offensive linemen went down with high ankle sprains. In order add depth on the line the 49ers had to waive Reese to free up a spot on the practice squad.

"That was just bad luck with the 49ers. It wasn't a personal thing. It was problems with the O-line," Reese said.

Reese still keeps in touch with some former his teammates when he returns to the West Coast, in particular DE Andre Carter, who also went to Oak Grove High School.

"We're really good friends. We used to hang together in high school," Reese said.

Under the Lights: The Bears will practice at Soldier Field tonight and then again Friday morning at Halas Hall before hosting the San Francisco 49ers Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. (WCIU-TV, Ch. 26).

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