Special Delivery: JC Answers Your Questions

It's Friday once again, sports fans, which means it's time for a pre-Super Bowl version of Special Delivery. Actually it's Saturday, but since the Bears moved back their practice schedule one day, we had to move back the content schedule one day. Our first question comes from Clint in Peoria, IL and discusses Rex Grossman's long-term fate here in Chicago.

What do you see in the long-term future of Rex Grossman's career here in Chicago? – Clint (Peoria, IL)
Needless to say, Grossman has one thing going for him that none of the 502 other Bears quarterbacks after Jim McMahon did. He's actually led the Monsters of the Midway to the Super Bowl. GM Jerry Angelo said before the playoffs started that head coach Lovie Smith had earned his lucrative contract extension no matter what, but he was adamant that Grossman was still being evaluated in terms of his long-term prospects with the team. His rookie contract will expire after the 2007 season, but I believe he has shown enough to the front office and the city of Chicago as a whole that he can be the leader of this offense for the foreseeable future. The Bears have more pressing financial responsibilities at the moment, like extending Smith and finding a way to hold on to free-agent-to-be Lance Briggs, but keeping Grossman looks to be the right move.

Hey, Chief. What do you know about the scouts for Chicago at the Senior Bowl? Got any news on who the Bears were checking out during practice there? – Shaun (Colorado Springs, CO)
Needless to say, the Bears have concentrated the majority of their efforts on this run to the Super Bowl, but they've had scouts down in Mobile for the Senior Bowl all week. One player they have talked to extensively is Notre Dame defensive end Victor Abiamiri, who had an up-and-down week of practice but certainly has a high ceiling. They've also spent some time with Aaron Ross, a 6'1", 192-pound cornerback from Texas built a lot like Charles Tillman. Two players who seem to have really helped themselves are Louisville defensive tackle Amobi Okoye and Florida State tailback Lorenzo Booker. Still just 19 years old, Okoye will be the youngest player ever drafted in the NFL and could now be a top-10 selection, and Booker may not be big enough to be an every-down back but looks to be a perfect fit as a third-down specialist and change-of-pace runner.

Can you see the Bears dominating the Colts considering we are 7-point underdogs according to the critics? – LoverBoy62353
I know there have been quite a few blowouts in Super Bowl history, but I don't expect this to be one of them. That being said, I believe the Bears match up very well with the Colts, probably better than they would have against the Patriots, Chargers, or Ravens. Indianapolis throws the ball as well as any team in the league, but the Bears have a strong pass rush and two veteran cornerbacks and did a good job taking away the Saints' high-powered passing attack in the NFC championship game. Indy is very poor defending the run despite this three-game turnaround they have managed in the playoffs, and the Bears are moving the ball on the ground as well as they have all season. Remember that betting lines are set simply to encourage getting action on both sides of the number, so don't get too caught up in the fact that the Bears are 7-point underdogs.

How much of an effect did Reggie Bush's taunting somersault have on the Bears defense? - Travis (Kenner, LA)
I'm not going to go so far as to say that getting back at Bush was the key to the game, but I do believe that many of the Bears' defenders felt disrespected. Brian Urlacher, to whom the taunt was directed, didn't even really notice and had to be told in the interview room after the game what Bush did. Adewale Ogunleye, on the other hand, admitted that it pissed him off and motivated him to play even harder. Bush is an unbelievable talent and will be one of the players that leads the NFL into a very bright future, but what he did was completely uncalled for and totally out of line. However, I will give him some credit because he immediately knew that it was a mistake and made a point to issue the necessary apologies soon thereafter.

How much of a difference is there in Indy's running game with Edgerrin James gone and Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes taking over? – The Duke (Valparaiso, IN)
For the most part, the only real difference is that two backs are getting significant carries instead of just one. The system the Colts employ running the football is pretty much the same, highlighted by the stretch play and a lot of zone blocking. On top of the stretch play, Peyton Manning is probably the best play-action quarterback in football and does a wonderful job selling his ball fakes at the line of scrimmage. Addai has emerged as the more talented runner, but Rhodes still runs hard and will get his touches. They also both catch the ball very well out of the backfield, combining for 72 receptions during the regular season.

All the NFL Draft projections are starting to come out already, so have you heard anything about what the Bears might do in April? - Kelly (Bolingbook, IL)
We already discussed what's been happening at the Senior Bowl down in Mobile, but aside from that, very little legitimate information is available. I saw that Mel Kiper Jr. has the Bears taking Miami tight end Greg Olson in the first round. He only compiled 38 catches for 444 yards and one touchdown as a junior yet still decided to forego his final year of eligibility. Desmond Clark did have the best season of his career statistically, but he doesn't have any more upside and certainly isn't getting any younger. However, I feel that safety and offensive line are much more pressing needs right now.

Aside from Lance Briggs, is there another free agent the Bears could lose that might hurt them? - Anthony (Carbondale, IL)
We all know that losing Briggs could be catastrophic, but there are a few more potential losses that might be hurtful. I'm a fan of Ian Scott and what he brings to the defensive line, so he could be a big loss. The Bears obviously have Tommie Harris and Tank Johnson entrenched as the starters at tackle, but Scott is probably the best run-stuffer on the depth chart. He's the kind of below-the-radar player that might be rewarded by another team with a healthy contract offer, plus the Bears have a cheaper option in Antonio Garay and Dusty Dvoracek coming back from injured reserve. Scott isn't irreplaceable, but he fits in well on this team.

What's the injury situation for the Bears heading into the Super Bowl? - Christopher (Oak Lawn, IL)
Because there's no actual game this week, there was also no injury report. Mark Bradley is still struggling with his ankle, and he was hobbling pretty bad when I saw him in the locker room on Thursday. Jason McKie came back from his ankle sprain in the NFC championship game and should be 100% for the Super Bowl. Aside from that, it was just the typical bumps and bruises. This team should be very healthy come Feb. 4 on both sides of the football.

Do you have access to all of the killer Super Bowl parties when you're down there in Miami? - Henry (Ukrainian Village)
There are a few designated media parties that require a press credential for access on Tuesday and Wedneday. However, they're scheduled to wrap up at 11 p.m., so I'm not exactly expecting Lindsay Lohan to be there. If you're asking if I can just walk into the Maxim party or the Playboy party, I'm afraid that's not the case. I'm big time, but not that big time. That red carpet stuff is designated for the J.A. Adandes and Michael Smiths of the sports writing world.

What can we expect to see from BearReport.com down at the Super Bowl in Miami? - SlyFox44
In addition to an astronomical hotel bill at the end of my eight-day stay, I've got all kinds of good stuff lined up for Super Bowl week. Todd Taylor from ColtPower.com and I plan on running a five-part Behind Enemy Lines series from Monday through Friday that will give all of our readers a first-hand look at the opponent. I'm also going to run a Super Bowl Blog on the home page that will be updated a few times a day and will highlight everything from breaking news to random celebrity sightings. Media Day on Tuesday is the biggest three-ring circus a sports writer will ever see, so there's guaranteed to be a few good quotables to come out of that fiasco. Aside from that, BearReport.com will be reporting every day from the front lines on South Beach and giving Bears fans everything they could possibly need to know heading into the big game.

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.

Bear Report Top Stories