Special Delivery: JC Answers Your Questions

It's Friday once again, sports fans, which means it's time for another hair-raising installment of Special Delivery. If you have a question that you would like to have JC answer, post it in the appropriate pegged thread on the message boards, or send it to his EZInbox. Jeff from Glenview starts us off with a question about the loss of Mike Brown.

Seriously, how screwed are the Bears without Mike Brown? - Jeff (Glenview, IL)
There's no way to hide it because losing Mike Brown could be catastrophic for this defense. As a player, he is replaceable. He's fantastic in run support and obviously has a nose for the football, but there are plenty of safeties in the NFL that can do what Brown does. Where he will be missed the most is before and after the play. He is the unquestioned emotional epicenter of the defense, and even though All-Pros like Brian Urlacher and Tommie Harris can pick up the slack making plays, there isn't a stronger personality than Brown on the entire roster.

Why didn't the coaching staff give Brian Griese a chance against Arizona with Rex Grossman playing to bad? - Anthony (Phoenix, AZ)
If Grossman had played that poorly in Week 2 or so, I believe he would have gotten the hook. But since it was Week 6, and he had done everything to prove that he is one of the better quarterbacks in the league, I think he earned the benefit of the doubt. That decision was more about the future than the present. If Griese had come in and performed admirably, even if Grossman had gotten the start the next game, he may begin looking over his shoulder after every bad throw. I think part of the reason he played so well the first five games is because he knew the coaching staff had his back no matter what.

If Monday night had been a playoff game, would Adewale Ogunleye have played? - Brian (Berwyn, IL)
I bet he probably would have, but with a supposedly inferior opponent on the schedule and a bye week on the horizon, holding Ogunleye out another game was a good idea. Hamstring injuries are tricky, so the training staff has to make sure he's 100% before giving him a clean bill of health. Sitting him one more game will actually give him two more weeks of rest because of the off week. And it's not like the Bears don't have depth behind him. Israel Idonije would start for a lot of teams, and incredible rookie Mark Anderson got yet another sack in reserve duty.

Is Bernard Berrian turning into the #1 receiver on this team and Muhsin Muhammad becoming the secondary guy? - Travis (Jacksonville Beach, FL)
I think the idea of a #1 guy vs. a #2 guy is essentially overrated. The top two wideouts are the starters and on the field for most of the offensive snaps, so that's all that matters. Now there are some plays that have the split end as the first read and there are some plays that have the flanker as the first read, but again, both of them are expected to get open and catch the ball on every pass play. Berrian is sure to get more of the deep balls and Muhammad is better suited to be the possession guy, so I think the two make a nice combo. But I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Moose finish the season with more receptions while BB has more yards.

What team in the NFC do you think could give the Bears the most trouble right now? - SilverTongue
I know Bears fans don't want to hear this right now, but I still believe it's the Panthers. They started he season 0-2 without Steve Smith but are 4-0 since he returned to the lineup. That's no coincidence. Julius Peppers is a one-of-a-kind talent and must be accounted for on every play, making it easier on his defensive mates. Not to mention the fact that Carolina already came to Soldier Field and knocked off the Bears last season, so the mental edge could be with Jake Delhomme & Company should there be a playoff rematch.

When will Cedric Benson ever get a chance to start a game? Thomas Jones is a decent player and all, but he's not a Pro-Bowler. - Gary (Lincolnshire, IL)
I'm honestly not expecting Benson to get a start this season unless Jones goes down with an injury. He's the starter, his teammates love him, and he'll do anything the coaching staff asks of him. I think Benson would be a better player if he ever got 20 carries a game, but the way it stands right now, that won't happen. The two games the Bears have been challenged on the scoreboard - at Minnesota and at Arizona - Jones was on the field just about from start to finish. But Benson catches the ball just fine out of the backfield, and I firmly believe all that talk about Jones being a vastly superior blocker is hogwash.

Was Ron Turner's play-calling all about throwing the ball down the field against the Cards, or did Grossman just try to do too much? - Trey (Hammond, IN)
It appears that Grossman simply tried to do too much that night. Through five games, we were watching a maturing quarterback who was learning to check the ball down to his secondary targets while still being able to hit the home run when he had the opportunity. For some reason, Grossman was forcing the ball downfield all night against Arizona, often into heavy coverage. Maybe he was seduced by the bright lights of prime time football, or maybe Arizona did a good job of disguising coverages. Either way, there's no way to hide that he was awful, so we'll learn a lot about him if he can bounce back strong against San Francisco after the bye.

Is Mark Bradley still on the team? Is he still in the league? Does he even play football anymore? - Tyler (Beaumont, TX)
I'm sensing a little sarcasm in your question, but Bradley has certainly pulled a disappearing act. He's still battling an ankle injury that's kept him inactive the last few games, but I have no idea when or how he hurt it. It was a banged up hip that kept him out of the season-opener, and now the ankle is giving him trouble. Additionally, he has to still be feeling the effects of last season's torn knee. It's a shame because he has all the talent in the world, but even when he's finally healthy, Muhammad, Berrian, and Rashied Davis have the receiver roles pretty much sewn up right now.

What does a week of practice before a bye look like as opposed to a normal week?
Unfortunately for me, the media is only allowed to watch practice from start to finish during training camp. During the season, we get to talk to the players before and after, but we're relegated to the press room while they are out there practicing. I think the practices are pretty much the same, but the players get many more days off during the bye week to give them a chance to relax. The team will be off all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday this week, a three-day vacation this would never happen the week of a game. And I bet the coaching staff looks at a lot of film from the games they have just played as opposed to scouting next week's opponent because, obviously, there is no next week's opponent.

Do you think the Bears would have won that game if Devin Hester had not returned that punt for a TD? - MidwayCane
No, I really don't. Grossman was simply having an awful day and proved almost incapable of moving his offense down the field. If he gotten the ball back on that final drive and needed to get his team into the end zone to win the ballgame, I don't think he could have done it. But that's the luxury of having Hester as your return man. We had been wondering why he pulled a disappearing act after scoring in Week 1 at Green Bay, yet there he was, prancing in the end zone once again and single-handedly giving Bears fans a chance to rejoice.

Special Delivery runs every Friday on BearReport.com. If you have a question that you would like to have JC answer, please find the appropriate pegged thread on the message boards or send it to his EZInbox.


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