Bears Turn to Quinn in Time of Need

MINNEAPOLIS _ Quarterback Jonathan Quinn had very little time to shake off the rust in the Bears' 27-22 loss Sunday to the Minnesota Vikings. <P> And he had a lot of rust there to shake off.

Quinn threw his first NFL passes since 2001 when he came in after Rex Grossman's knee injury for the Bears' final series, but he had the difficult chore of trying to drive the team 90 yards 1:36 without a timeout.

"Well, it's my job, it's something that I prepare for," Quinn said. "It is a shock at first when you see someone go down and then you have an adrenaline rush. But then again, that's your job and that's what you've got to prepare for.

"I was excited."

He benefited from an offsides penalty the first play, then fired three straight incompletions and was sacked under a heavy rush by defensive end Kevin Williams at the Bears' 8-yard line to end any Bears hopes of a comeback.

Quinn can't be certain yet of Grossman's availability in coming weeks after the Bears' second-year starter was removed by cart from the field. The Bears voiced confidence in Quinn, who has completed 66-of-125 for 748 yards, but they really have no other choice if Grossman is gone. The other quarterback is rookie Craig Krenzel.

"We like Jonathan Quinn," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "He is our backup quarterback. That is why he is the backup force here. We have faith in him. We have confidence in him. If it is his time to step up, he will step up to the plate."

Bears receivers doubt it will be a challenge getting their timing down in the offense with Quinn because he worked a lot with them in preseason.

"It won't be so much of a challenge as much as it will be just putting our team back together again," wide receiver Bobby Wade said. "Because Jon's a great player, he'll be able to step in. He knows the offense well."

Knowledge of the offense would be Quinn's strength, in fact. That's why offensive coordinator Terry Shea went to bat for him during free agency when the Bears' sought a backup. Quinn had run the Kansas City Chiefs' offense the last two years after leaving Jacksonville in free agency.

"He's been a mentor to Rex as far as teaching him that point," Wade said. "We've got to hope for the best and that he's able to give us a boost when it feels like our backs are against the wall."

Wade said it should almost be like interchangeable parts, even though the quarterback position is a bit more complex than playing tackle or guard.

"This offense is about having guys in places, as coach Shea would say, knowing where your chess pieces are," Wade said. "We're really specific when it comes to running certain routes and having (receivers) in certain places.

"It's up to the quarterback to get his reads and get his drop and hit the open man."

There is one drawback Wade did acknowledge. At 6-foot-6, 240 pounds, Quinn doesn't exactly have Grossman's mobility and it is that mobility which has saved the Bears' quarterback from several sacks so far this season.

"As far as the scramble, that might change, but we think he can get the job done," Wade said.


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