Déjà Vu All Over Again

ST. LOUIS _ At least the Bears know how to handle their current crisis. The Bears found themselves in a familiar situation following Friday's 17-13 loss to the St. Louis Rams.

Once again they have to rally around backup quarterback Chad Hutchinson due to the broken left ankle suffered by Rex Grossman. They did it last year with three different backups, including Hutchinson, after Grossman suffered a season-ending knee injury.

"We're going to keep fighting," wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad said. "And here's the key: I mean, this team went through the same thing last year. They lost their quarterback. A lot of people got down on that. The play obviously wasn't at the level they wanted it to be at. So in a sense they took a test and the test was to see if they could respond to the adversity.

"Here's an opportunity to pass the same test again and we all have cheat sheets. We all know exactly what to expect."

Wide receiver Justin Gage thinks Hutchinson can do the job, but thinks there will be an adjustment period.

"First, losing a quarterback is really tough on us, especially after going through the off-season and the training camp we have and just getting that timing down in the passing game with Rex," wide receiver Justin Gage said. "Second, it's Rex, a guy that hurt himself last year and spent all last year and spent all off-season coming back and getting healthy and was ready to go and then a freak accident like that happened again. Its heartbreaking and sad."

Hutchinson said the assignment will not be overwhelming, especially after playing five games last year.

"In my mind, I've been preparing to be the starter every day since the off-season started," he said. "This wasn't a change of mindset for me. I wasn't going in saying "man, I can't wait to be a great backup.' I was going in saying 'hey, I'm going to push Rex as hard as I can and prepare myself to be the starter.

"It just so happens that it happened right now."

Quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson said he couldn't remember ever seeing a quarterback with the injury misfortune that has befallen Grossman.

"I really haven't," he said. "This is unfortunate, especially for Rex. I've never seen anybody have to go through what he's gone through."

He can't say for certain that Hutchinson will be an effective starter, but thinks chances are better based on last year.

"The limited experience Chad has -- he has a few starts under his belt --I think he's probably a little bit more prepared at this point," Wilson said. "But who knows."

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