Special Delivery: JC Answers Your Questions

It's Friday once again, sports fans, which means it's time for another snowy version 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. Our first question comes from DayDaye and addresses Rex Grossman's propensity for backpedaling.

Why do the coaches put up with Rex's backpedaling? I give Rex one more half do get it in gear or in comes Griese for a few games until Orton is ready to take us to the promise land.
I don't necessarily believe it's a matter of the coaches putting up with Grossman backpedaling all the time. He obviously gets very uncomfortable when pressure comes directly in his face because he hasn't yet learned to roll right or left to avoid it. He keeps going straight backward and either throwing wildly off his back foot or getting sacked for a huge loss. For the most part, Grossman's mechanics are very good and just about flawless during practice, but he needs to apply what he's learned on Sundays when defenders are coming at him full speed. As far as Orton being the answer in the long run, I'm taking a guess DayDaye is either a Purdue graduate or Kyle's mom.

I know Grossman's throws were off on Sunday, but is it just me, or has Ron Turner's play-calling been very predictable and at times actually horrible? Example: pass on first down, no gain. Now run off-tackle on second-and-long. Bet the opposing defense never saw that coming when studying the game film! - Rich (Granby, MA)
Offensive coordinators are heavily scrutinized in this league, and believe me, I can understand since I'm a Florida State alumnus and have been subjected to half a decade of Jeff Bowden's pitiful play-calling. I believe Turner has done a good job overall because, remember, even if you're just sitting on your couch and guessing run play or pass play, you're going to be right half the time. When an incomplete pass is thrown on first down, the natural reaction for most every OC in the NFL is to run on second down and try to make the third-down play more manageable. This happens league-wide, not just with the Bears. Personally, after an incompletion on first down, I would like to see a play-action pass on second down because defenses are often expecting that off-tackle run you mentioned.

All the talk about the decreased pass rush lately has centered around Tank Johnson, Tommie Harris, and the defensive ends. Is Ian Scott no longer a starter, not playing as much, or injured? Does this have to do with the lack of pass rush? Is Angelo trying to see if we can do without Scott next year? - ChiefBigBearFan
We in the media have never truly been told why Scott has seemingly fallen out of favor. Personally, I thought he was a great fit alongside Harris because he's a wide-body whose primary focus is to stop the run. Harris wants to penetrate and get after the quarterback, and although he was wildly successful the first month or so of the season, he's been without a sack for seven games now. Johnson is probably a better all-around player than Scott, but he's inferior as a run-stuffer. Scott is almost sure to be gone next year because he's a free agent after the season, plus the Bears have Antonio Garay developing and Dusty Dvoracek on injured reserve.

What was all this talk about Grossman being a trash talker this week? Is Sharper just trying to stir the pot? - Luke (Crystal Lake, IL)
When we had Sharper on that conference call on Wednesday, all of the media-types were very surprised to hear what he had to say. Grossman is known as a confident young man, but he never struck me as a vicious trash talker. He later explained that he just let his emotions get the better of him after throwing that game-winning TD pass in Week 3 and didn't deny the accusation that he may have crossed the line. Grossman claims he was just firing back after the Minnesota DBs were riding him all game long, and I believe him. That being said, Sharper is a very smart player and knows that something like that could get Grossman out of his game just a little bit come Sunday.

Hey, Chief. So how's your fantasy football team doing this year? I'd love to hear how a supposed 'insider' does at these things. - Guy (Redwood City, CA)
To be perfectly honest with all of you, I'm having the worst season in my 15 or so years of playing fantasy football. It's just one of those years where absolutely everybody I drafted is stinking up the joint or hurt, and I seem to be losing an inordinate amount of games by a few points or catching an opponent when he has a huge week. The only home run draft pick I made was Drew Brees in the 10th round, although I rode Kurt Warner too long at the start of the season and put myself behind the 8-ball before committing to Brees the rest of the way. To give you a snapshot of how this season is going for me, I originally drafted Chad Johnson in the 2nd round but traded him for T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Javon Walker after he got off to that slow start. Naturally, I ended up facing the guy I traded Johnson to the same week Ocho Cinco went for 260 yards and two long touchdowns. Unbelievable.

How in the world is Lance Briggs not more of a household name? He was has been all over the field the last few games. - Sammy (Peoria, IL)
My buddy Boston Thom was just asking me that same question this week after watching the Bears-Patriots game. All he did was make 13 tackles and knock away a pass from a tight end on one of the more athletic plays you'll ever see. Let's face it, any linebacker who shares the same area code as Brian Urlacher is going to be overshadowed, but you could make the case that Briggs has been the better player this season. He has 93 tackles to Urlacher's 98, but look a little closer at the numbers. 77 of Briggs's tackles have been solos as opposed to 66 for Urlacher, but don't feel too badly because Briggs is in line for quite a payday this offseason.

Any chance one of the remaining games on the schedule gets moved to prime time? - Matt (Reno, NV)
I'd be very surprised since the Bears play five fairly inferior opponents the rest of the way. The Rams game in Week 14 looked like a decent matchup a month ago before St. Louis's freefall in recent weeks. Nobody wants to see the Lions or Bucs in prime time again, that's for sure. It would be great to see the Bears face the Packers under the lights in Week 17 to close the season, but Chicago will most likely have home-field advantage wrapped up well beforehand and take away most of the marketability that game might receive. Plus, moving that game to NBC will kill my plans for the New Year's Eve party I'm planning at my house that night.

What is the status of Todd Johnson's ankle, and if he can't play, who will start in his place? - Darius (Calumet City, IL)
Johnson has not practiced all week and is currently listed as questionable on the injury report. I'd be very surprised if he plays and am expecting to see former starting free safety Chris Harris get the start at strong safety this week. It's been tough on him this season considering he lost his starting gig to rookie Danieal Manning and then missed a couple games with an injury of his own. Harris is probably better suited to play strong safety anyway because he is a much better player in run support than he is in coverage. Getting Ricky Manning Jr. back from suspension to play the nickel will greatly help the Bears shoulder the loss of Johnson.

Where has Desmond Clark been in the offense? He was doing so well. We need him back! - Chad (El Paso, TX)
Clark was so hot at the beginning of the season and there was almost no way he was going to keep up that pace. Although it's funny to hear some people link the offense's struggles directly to Clark's disappearing act. These were the same Bears fans who were begging GM Jerry Angelo to draft a tight end this past April. After catching six passes and two touchdowns against San Francisco in Week 8, he's been held to just seven receptions and only one TD his last four games. Grossman and Turner will tell you these things are cyclical and that Clark will start seeing more balls very soon, but no question about it, Grossman looked much more comfortable when his big security blanket was more involved in the passing game.

Has Brian Urlacher found the jock he left on the field after Tom 'Night Moves' Brady put the juke on him? - Boris13c
How about you wander into the locker room and ask good ole No. 54 that question yourself, smart guy? I'll even give you Urlacher's address in Lake Bluff if you want it. Personally, I don't want to eat through a straw for the next month.

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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