Grossman Looking to Win Back Soldier Field

The last time Bears quarterback Rex Grossman trotted back to the sideline at home, he was booed mercilessly by the Soldier Field crowd. Although that treatment certainly seemed over-the-top at the time, he took it like a man and said he probably would have booed himself, too. Grossman played well in Green Bay last Sunday and is looking to be even better this week against Detroit.

You can tell right away that Rex Grossman wants to be a great football player. He practices hard, does everything his coaches ask him to do, and he does it all with a smile on his face. He still has an awful lot to prove in this league, and no one is more understanding of that than he is. Perhaps most importantly, he genuinely cares.

With an embarrassment like Jerry Porter of the Radiers seemingly going out of his way to show how selfish and egotistocal he can be, Grossman's acceptance of the fans' point of view is quite refreshing.

The last time Grossman suited up at Soldier Field in a preseason tilt against Arizona, he was booed off the field after an 0-of-3 passing performance in the third quarter that included yet another interception on a poor decision. Nevermind that he started that game 13-of-18 for 117 yards in the first half, and those numbers could have been better had his receivers not dropped a few passes. But instead of questioning the fans for chanting "Grie-se! Grie-se! Grie-se!" at the top of their lungs, Grossman said that if he had bought a ticket to that game, he probably would have booed himself, too.

There is an awful lot of pressure on Grossman to build upon the strong showing he had this past Sunday in Green Bay, but no matter how tough the fans might be on him, he puts much more pressure on himself.

"I think that I would be disappointed if I don't come out and play a good game," he said Wednesday at Halas Hall. "And I'm sure the fans would have a similar reaction as would I. But I think I would be more frustrated."

Everybody knows that Grossman has the physical tools to be a success in the NFL, but he'll be the first one to admit that the biggest improvement he has to make is between the ears.

"As a quarterback, it's how you handle those situations," he said, "how you handle adversity that makes you a great quarterback or just (an) average quarterback that struggles at times. I would be right there with the fans. I'm not going to let that dictate my emotions."

Grossman quieted many of his naysayers with his play in last Sunday's shutout win over the rival Packers, but ever the team player, he was quick to share the praise.

"This was the first week really playing the whole game, obviously," he said, "game-planning and really understanding how we're going to attack a defense. Our offensive line did a great job giving me time to throw, and the receivers did an excellent job separating from defenders, which makes your accuracy a lot easier. You don't have to place it in that right spot."

The former Gator still battles a reputation for being a gunslinger, which appeared to be the case when he forced a ball into the end zone on Sunday and had it intercepted by Green Bay's Nick Barnett. Grossman loves to throw the ball downfield, but he stands by his belief that he doesn't do so carelessly.

"I think that people label me a little bit aggressive sometimes," he said. "I'm just aggressive when the look is there, and that's really what I have to practice on this week and really get a good understanding of when it's there. When the look is there to make a big play, make it. But if the look is not there, make sure you just be patient and understand that (offensive coordinator) Coach Turner will call it again, and hopefully we'll get the right look for it. That's just being a smart quarterback, taking what they give you."

Luckily for Grossman's sake, the Bears defense made it awfully easy on him in Week 1.

"You're not going to lose any games if they don't score any points," he said with a smile.

Grossman is sure to be smiling even more should he beat the Lions this Sunday and exit Soldier Field to a cascade of cheers.


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