Grossman: 'I won't talk as openly anymore'

Needless to say, it's been a trying season for Rex Grossman. After being named the NFC Offensive Player of the Month for September, he was nearly benched in Week 14 against the Rams and was nothing short of atrocious his last time out in Week 17 versus the Packers. Grossman talked to the media on Wednesday at Halas Hall, and Bear Report was there to hear what he had to say.

Rex Grossman has been called a lot of things this season, but "consistent" isn't one of them.

When Grossman is good, he's been one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and worthy of MVP consideration. Seven times he's posted a passer rating of 100 or higher. Nobody has more - not Tom Brady, not Drew Brees, not even Peyton Manning.

On the other hand, when Grossman is bad, he's been absolutely miserable and doesn't look like he even belongs on the field. Five times he's posted a passer rating of 40 or lower. Again, nobody has more - not Bruce Gradkowski, not Charlie Frye, not even Michael Vick.

In the grand scheme of things, Grossman threw for more yards and more touchdowns than any Bears signal-caller since Erik Kramer in 1995. He started all 16 games for the first time in his four-year, injury-plagued career. His team is 13-3, champions of the NFC North, and the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.

Yet if he lays another egg against the Seahawks on Sunday at Solder Field, questions about his future in Chicago will be more rampant than ever.

The Bears throttled the Seahawks 37-6 before a prime time audience back in Week 4, although Seattle was without Shaun Alexander and the Monsters of the Midway still had Mike Brown and Tommie Harris. Grossman completed 17 of 31 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns and, most importantly, did not commit a turnover. Shortly thereafter, the former Gator was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Month for September.

If there's one thing Grossman can be confident about heading into Sunday's game, it's that his offense seems to match up well with Seattle's defense.

"You can see on tape how we relate to them as far as blocking schemes and coverages and things like that," Grossman said on Wednesday at Halas Hall. "But we understand that it's been a long time since we've played them. A lot of things have changed. Just because we beat them before doesn't mean we're going to beat them again. We're just going to have that mindset of execute what we're supposed to do, and then just react to what they do."

Coming off of last season's disappointing playoff loss to Carolina, the Bears are hungrier than ever to advance to the NFC Championship Game. That was Grossman's first playoff start, and although he did direct his offense to 21 points, he dug himself an early hole and didn't get hot until the second quarter. Another slow start could mean another quick exit from the postseason.

Grossman has playoff experience this time around and will have a better idea what to expect.

"I think just how to handle the emotions of being in such a crucial game and how to handle your excitement," he said. "That's what I'm getting out of it. Plus, just generally speaking, just experience. Any time you do something more than once, the second time should be better. I'm excited about it, and I think our whole team has a much better approach this week."

Despite a roller coaster season that has toyed with his emotions, Grossman still has faith that he can lead the Bears to the promised land.

"I have a lot of confidence going into this game because I have such a great team," he said. "We've got a great defense. We've got a great running game. Our offensive line is going to give us time to throw. I'm just excited about this opportunity. And I feel like if I just do what I'm supposed to do, do what the coaches ask me to do, make the plays when they're there, and when they're not there, minimize the damage, checking it down and just taking what the defense gives you. I've got a lot of confidence that I can go out there and do that and be extremely effective."

Despite pundits all over the country saying that he isn't good enough to lead a Super Bowl team, Grossman claims he isn't fazed by the criticism.

"I look at it two ways," he said. "One, it's a challenge. I'm going to step up to the plate and take that challenge head on. And two, I don't listen to it. I honestly don't. I know it's out there, but that could be a distraction, as well. I'm sure they're saying negative things. They've said extremely positive things when I've been playing well, and they've said some extremely negative things when things are going bad. It's just a distraction either way really, so I'm concentrating on just staying away from it."

One thing Grossman couldn't stay away from last week was admitting that he was distracted and didn't study enough for the Packers in the season finale on New Year's Eve. Even tough it was a meaningless game in the standings, he completed just 2 of 12 passes and was intercepted three times. Grossman later claimed that he only figured to play about a half and let his holiday plans get in the way of his game preparation.

Grossman vows to never make that mistake again and knows he put his foot in his mouth.

"No doubt," he admitted. "That was something that maybe [I'll] sit down with one person and explain it rather than getting up here and talk to [the media] about it in vague terms because I think it was taken out of context a little bit. If there was a one-on-one interview, I could explain it into more detail rather than just taking clips of it and making it bigger than it is. Because we did have a great week of practice and all of that. It was just a frame of mind. But yeah, I definitely regret [it], and I won't talk to you as openly anymore."

And as long as he beats the Seahawks on Sunday, he won't have to answer that question.

JC


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