Teammates Back Grossman's Talk

Although Rex Grossman seemed ready to put his trash talking words to the Vikings' defensive backs aside this week, Bears center Olin Kreutz and others were helping fan the flames with their comments on the situation.

Bears center Olin Kreutz has a message for Darren Sharper if the Vikings' strong safety has a problem with him, quarterback Rex Grossman or anyone else on the Bears: Bring it; don't sing it.

"If Darren Sharper is mad about something, we'll all be there on Sunday," Kreutz said. "It's no use issuing threats through the media. We can do something about it Sunday. If you're mad about something, say something then."

During Wednesday's conference call with Chicago-area media, Sharper took offense at Grossman's trash-talking following his game-winning touchdown pass against the Vikings in Week Three's 19-16 victory. He said it was the worst smack he's heard from a quarterback in his 10 years in the league, and that all the Viking defenders remember it.

That's fine with Kreutz.

"Rex can talk whenever he wants," the five-time Pro Bowl pick said. "Anybody on the field can talk when they want, and that's where you handle it, on the field. That's the problem with the NFL; everybody always issues threats through the media. No one ever really does anything about it, so that's something I'm kind of tired of. I've been here nine years and everybody's always talking tough in the media, but there's never any fights. If you're going to talk tough, I mean, go fight somebody.

"I don't really care what (Grossman) said. He said it on the field. There's stuff that I don't like that people say to me on the field, but I don't go tell the media about it. I say stuff on the field that I'm sure people don't like, but to cry to the media, I mean it's a little embarrassing for them."

Grossman wasn't interested in escalating the feud when informed of Sharper's comments, which were likely a premeditated attempt to distract him.

"They're probably trying to get in Rex's head," Kreutz said, "and that's not going to happen."

Grossman didn't deny that he got in the grill of a couple Vikings defensive backs who had been verbally abusing him most of the afternoon, but neither he nor Sharper were specific about what was said.

"I probably said some things that I regret," Grossman said. "But the whole game their DBs were really getting under my skin and probably more than I should have allowed it to. They were just yapping the whole game. I threw the interception for the touchdown (early in the fourth quarter), and (free safety) Dwight Smith came up and smacked me on my helmet and was in my face.

"It was just facing all that adversity, that whole crowd, and it was just so emotional that when we finally got the touchdown pass, I probably went overboard a little bit with some of my emotions, some of the things I said. I regret it, but I had all that pent up inside that I had to let it go."

Bears right tackle Fred Miller said he's all for Grossman saying anything he wants, even if it gets the other team fired up and the offensive line has to deal with it.

"Quarterbacks should always talk back," Miller said. "You have to stick up for yourself. You have your teammates behind you. We love it if he (tees) off the other guys. That gets us going even more. We're ready to take up for our quarterback."

Grossman said he didn't think the war of words would have any effect on Sunday's game, in which a Bears victory would clinch the NFC North title. But he added that he probably won't get into any debates on the field this time.

"I probably just should have gone to the sidelines and started celebrating," he said. "It's a situation that if I'm ever in again, I'll just stay calm and just go off to the sidelines and never say a word. But he's blowing it up a little bit."

Rashied Davis was on the receiving end of Grossman 24-yard game-winning TD pass with 1:53 remaining, and he corroborated Grossman's claim that he was on the receiving end of Vikings barbs all afternoon.

"They were definitely talking trash all game long," Davis said. "It was good to shut them up at the end of the game. Rex deserved to say something. He threw a nice pass and we won the game."

And then he had the last word - until Sunday.

  • Defensive end Alex Brown doesn't agree that the defensive line is in a slump, and he's got a point considering the Bears lead the NFL in fewest points and yards allowed.

    "You don't mean pass rush, you mean sacks," Brown said. "That's what you want to see. If we had 12 sacks over the last four games and we gave up 130 yards (rushing per game), I think everyone would be pretty happy. But that's not the deal for us. Statistics is not it. (But) yeah, we've got to get to the quarterback, of course."

    The Bears have just four sacks in the past four games after getting 21 in the first seven. They are 15th in the league in sack percentage. Some opponents have resorted to taking shorter quarterback drops on pass plays and utilizing more players in pass protection, but that doesn't completely explain the Bears' drop-off in sacks.

    "We get short drops, long drops each week," coach Lovie Smith said. "I can't say any of that (is responsible). We're getting the basic things that we've gotten all year.

    "Teams probably put a little bit more thought into how they block us. Our ends have gotten chipped quite a bit, Tommie Harris gets double-teamed most of the time. But that'll be a part of each game from here on out. We have to find ways to get to the passer, and we'll do that. Not just with our four-man rush, we'll try to blitz and do some different things like that, too. We have good players there with a lot of pride, and they'll come back, and I don't think we'll be complaining about our pass rush this week."

    Backup running back Cedric Benson had his second straight impressive outing Sunday, rushing 10 times for 46 yards for a two-game total of 97 yards on 20 carries.

    But, after his seventh carry in the first half gave him 39 yards with 4:14 left until halftime, Benson didn't carry again until there was 1:07 left in the third quarter. After scoring on a two-yard run seven seconds into the fourth quarter, he didn't carry again.

    "I'm beyond (feeling) frustration," Benson said. "I don't really get too frustrated anymore. I don't even really get angry to play football anymore. I kind of grew up a little bit and left all that stuff behind. I figured out you didn't have to be mad to play football, to play your best. You actually play better when you're not mad. I know I'm not in control of the situation. I just want to get out here and do what I do."

  • Nickel CB Ricky Manning Jr. is back after serving last week's one-game suspension for an assault arrest in April. His return is welcomed by a secondary that will probably be without strong safety Todd Johnson, who missed Wednesday's practice with a sprained ankle and is questionable (at best) for Sunday.

    "It helps quite a bit," coach Lovie Smith said. "Ricky has made a lot of big plays for us. We were short-handed a little bit this past week when we didn't have him. We had to look at other ways to defend their three-receiver sets, so having him back this week will give us more options."

    The Bears kept strong-side linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer on the field last week in passing situations rather than bringing in an extra defensive back from a secondary thinned out by the injury loss of Mike Brown and the suspension of Manning.

    Missing the game, the first one he's missed in four NFL seasons, wasn't all bad for Manning.

    "It was kind of weird," he said. "I've never even missed a practice. Luckily for me I just had a newborn, so I got to spend some time with him and my wife. So at kind of helped me keep my mind off football after the holiday."

    Ricky Manning III was born two weeks ago, weighing seven pounds, three ounces and measuring 18 1/2 inches.

    BY THE NUMBERS: 7 — Rex Grossman's interception total for the month of November, matching his interception tally for September and October combined.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "A lot of things go on during the game. If you're describing Rex Grossman; trash-talker is probably not one of the ways that I would describe him. Are things said during the course of the football game from both sides? Every game. This game will be won on the field with two teams fighting it out. That has no bearing really on the game." — Bears coach Lovie Smith on the war of words between the Bears and Vikings S Darren Sharper.

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