Grossman Taking Strides

Quarterback Rex Grossman continues to impress observers with his mechanics and accuracy during the Bears' organized team activities, which run Monday-Thursday the first four weeks of June.

"I didn't know that much about him other than what I saw on film and I thought he played well when he played last year," said Bears offensive coordinator Ron Turner. "I was pleasantly surprised at how well he throws the football; all passes. He's got great velocity, tremendous accuracy and he throws a nice, tight spiral. The ball comes out of his hand as well as anybody I've seen."

Grossman can't wait to display his talents as an every-week starter during the regular season, something he's never come close to doing, since he's started just six games in two seasons.

"I'm more motivated than ever to play a full season," Grossman said. "And to go to the playoffs and do a bunch of big things."

The Bears expect nothing less.

Even after the disaster that ensued at quarterback last season following Grossman's season-ending ruptured ACL in Game Three, the Bears did not pursue a veteran backup. G.M. Jerry Angelo wants no confusion when it comes to who will be leading the offense this year and in the foreseeable future. And he has spent lavishly to provide the third-year QB, who has just six NFL starts, with the necessary weaponry.

"We made an investment in Rex," Angelo said, "and we have to make sure that we do everything we can to make sure that that investment comes to fruition."

That includes adding Pro Bowl veteran wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad ($30 million) and right tackle Fred Miller ($22.5 million) this past off-season, to go along with last year's pricey addition of tackle John Tait ($33.65 million) and guard Ruben Brown ($8 million).

The Bears used the fourth overall pick in the draft on running back Cedric Benson, even though they spent $10 million a year earlier on free agent Thomas Jones.

The idea is to surround Grossman with talent, which takes pressure off him to carry the offense and at the same time should bring his level of play up.

For all the talk of the quarterback, the run is still at the heart of what Turner wants to do. A successful ground game leads to the playaction pass, making a group of inexperienced wide receivers more effective.

A balanced attack will keep opponents guessing, which ultimately will help Grossman stay on the field. Predictable playcalling in past years has allowed the defense to tee off on the quarterback, something the Bears want to avoid considering Grossman has suffered two significant injuries in as many years.

Being able to honestly evaluate the talent level of the unit will help Turner know what he can call and what he should stay away from.

"I'm learning something every day -- what there guys can do and what they can't. What they can handle mentally, who can handle what," he said. "Every day I come out here, I learn more about the personality of this team and the personnel of this team."

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