Bears hope Griese doesn't make the mistakes that plagued Grossman Print
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Thursday, 27 September 2007 07:13
NFL Headline News

 Chicago fans can now start scrutinizing every play Brian Griese runs.
In a move most Bears fans long desired, Griese will start at quarterback in Detroit on Sunday with his team in an unusual position at 1-2, third in the NFC North behind Green Bay and the Lions.
``Of course, decisions like this aren't made overnight. I've looked at a pattern of our play and the play at the quarterback position,'' coach Lovie Smith said.
The play at quarterback certainly has been bad. Grossman threw three interceptions Sunday night in a 34-10 loss to Dallas; Anthony Henry's return for a touchdown may be the most replayed highlight - or lowlight - in many seasons.
Griese, who failed to win any titles in Denver, Miami and Tampa Bay, is no star, but he's likely to take fewer chances and let his defense and running game take over.
The Lions need something new after their first loss, a 56-21 thrashing in Philadelphia.
``Give credit to the Eagles, they did a great job,'' Detroit coach Rod Marinelli said. ``Now we have to autograph that tape - take full credit for the performance - and send it to the rest of the league. And then it is over. We move on from here.''
This game may be more critical to Chicago, which already trails unbeaten Green Bay by two games. Despite a lot of big talk, 8-8 would be a great season for the Lions, who entered this season 24-72 since 2001.
That 8-8 wouldn't work for the Bears, who envision a second consecutive trip to the Super Bowl and now may have to scramble just to make the playoffs.
Quarterback isn't the only problem in Chicago.
Defensive tackle Tommie Harris injured a knee in the Dallas debacle and linebacker Lance Briggs and cornerback Nathan Vasher injured groins. Oft-injured safety Mike Brown already has been lost for the season.
All three could be out, making things easier for the Lions' dangerous offense. At least that won't be Grossman's fault.
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In other games Sunday, St. Louis is at Dallas; Oakland at Miami; Houston at Atlanta; the New York Jets at Buffalo; Green Bay at Minnesota; Baltimore at Cleveland; Seattle at San Francisco; Tampa Bay at Carolina; Denver at Indianapolis; Kansas City at San Diego; Pittsburgh at Arizona; and Philadelphia at the New York Giants.
New England is at Cincinnati on Monday night.
Washington, Jacksonville, New Orleans and Tennessee are off.
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Pittsburgh (3-0) at Arizona (1-2)
These teams have met only eight times in 35 years, yet this is a compelling game because Ken Whisenhunt, who many Pittsburgh players wanted as their coach, runs the Cardinals, with former Steelers offensive line coach Russ Grimm as his top assistant. But the Steelers can't complain about Mike Tomlin, who is unbeaten in three games as a head coach.
``We're going to get ready this week to smack Russ around,'' defensive end Brett Keisel said. ``It's going to be cool. It will be nice to see them again.''
Whisenhunt has been running a platoon at QB. Matt Leinart will start again, but could be relieved by Kurt Warner, who rallied the Cardinals from a 23-6 deficit in Baltimore last week before they lost 26-23.

Green Bay (3-0) at Minnesota (1-2)
Brett Favre and the Packers are the feel-good story of the year (except, perhaps in Chicago). Favre is now tied with Dan Marino for the most touchdown passes in history (420) as he goes into a building where he's 5-10 lifetime.
Green Bay has won seven straight games over two seasons, but neither No. 421 nor an eighth win will be easy against a defense that's allowed just 36 points and scored three of Minnesota's six touchdowns.
The Vikings' offense is another story. The very green Tarvaris Jackson threw four interceptions in two games, then was sidelined by a groin injury. Journeyman Kelly Holcomb missed a wide-open Robert Ferguson in the end zone last week in a 13-10 loss in Kansas City. The main man has been rookie RB Adrian Peterson.

Denver (2-1) at Indianapolis (3-0)
The Colts have consecutive road wins over Tennessee and Houston, teams they lost to on the road last season, when they won the Super Bowl after losing all three division away games.
The Broncos have given up 90 points in their last two trips to the RCA Dome, both playoff contests. Their two wins this season are shaky - one on a last-second field goal over winless Buffalo, and an overtime victory over Oakland after the Broncos called a timeout just before the Raiders' Sebastian Janikowski kicked what would have been a winning field goal. Janikowski then missed his second try.

New England (3-0) at Cincinnati (1-2) (Monday night)
Why are people already talking about an undefeated season for the Patriots? How about 38 points scored in each of their first three games, more than the 35 total they've allowed. Plus five TD catches by the rejuvenated Randy Moss.
This won't be that easy if the inconsistent Bengals play well. Carson Palmer and his receivers are skilled enough to score on the Patriots, although New England's offense is likely to prevail in a shootout because it has a defense to support it.

Kansas City (1-2) at San Diego (1-2)
The Chargers already have lost as many games as last season, but they're still the class of the AFC West - on paper. If they win it, they're in the playoffs and by that time things may look better.
Still, there's a sense of foreboding.
``You don't want it to continue in a downward spiral from 1-2 and then you find yourself 1-5 and then all of sudden it's over,'' says 2006 MVP LaDainian Tomlinson, averaging just 2.3 yards a carry.
On the other hand, they could be the Chiefs, with an unhappy Larry Johnson, who sounded off about play-calling even after a win. Coach Herman Edwards acknowledged he contemplated replacing Damon Huard with Brodie Croyle at QB last week in that 13-10 victory over Minnesota.
Philadelphia (1-2) at New York Giants (1-2)
Both teams come off season-rescuing wins.
The Eagles' 56-21 rout of Detroit demonstrated Donovan McNabb remains one of the NFL's best quarterbacks despite the desire of some fans to run him out of town for a shaky start after returning from serious knee surgery.
The Giants rallied from a 17-3 deficit to win 24-17 in Washington by holding the Redskins to 81 yards in the second half. They stopped Washington in the final minute with a defense that had been the NFL's worst after the Redskins had a first-and-goal at the 1. Poor clock management and play-calling by the Redskins helped.

Seattle (2-1) at San Francisco (2-1)
If things go as they usually do in the NFC West, the 49ers will probably win - home teams tend to in this evenly matched, mediocre division. Add to that the Seahawks' traditional struggles on the road.
But San Francisco will be without tight end Vernon Davis, which subtracts a dimension from an offense that has relied primarily on the running of Frank Gore. At least the 49ers are back in their own weight class - they were overmatched in Pittsburgh last week.

St. Louis (0-3) at Dallas (3-0)
This is one of those games that scares coaches of unbeaten teams. It's the perfect time for the Cowboys to get overconfident. The Rams will be without Steven Jackson and Marc Bulger has sore ribs. Rookie Brian Leonard, who has been the third-down back, replaces Jackson.
Potential upset? The Cowboys are at winless Buffalo next week and folks already are anticipating a matchup between unbeatens on Oct. 14, when New England comes to Texas Stadium.

Tampa Bay (2-1) at Carolina (2-1)
The Bucs have been one of the NFL's pleasant early surprises. Jeff Garcia fits Jon Gruden's West Coast offense and a defense that regressed last season seems to be back in form under coordinator Monte Kiffin, who's been in the job for more than a decade for Gruden and Tony Dungy.
The Panthers have been less impressive. They were lucky to win in Atlanta - D'Angelo Hall's 67 yards of penalties on one drive literally handed them a touchdown. Jake Delhomme strained his right elbow and David Carr engineered the winning drive, going 3-of-4 for 56 yards in his Panthers debut.

Houston (2-1) at Atlanta (0-3)
Matt Schaub returns to face the team that traded him and needs him back despite Joey Harrington's 361 yards passing in the loss to Carolina last week.
The Texans have problems at receiver. Andre Johnson is out indefinitely with a knee injury and Jacoby Jones, who replaced him, separated a shoulder. Houston also lost guard Steve McKinney for the season in its loss to the Colts.

New York Jets (1-2) at Buffalo (0-3)
The Jets may not like to hear it, but this is about where they were expected to be: their losses are to New England and at Baltimore, not games they could anticipate winning.
The Bills seem in deep trouble. Quarterback J.P. Losman will miss this game after spraining his knee in the 38-7 loss to the Patriots last week and rookie linebacker Paul Posluszny is out for the season with a broken arm.

Baltimore (2-1) at Cleveland (1-2)
The Ravens don't blow people out, so this may be an opportunity for the Browns, who thought they had a win in Oakland last week before Lane Kiffin's late timeout call negated a winning field goal. Phil Dawson's second attempt was blocked.
The Ravens' offensive plan seems to be to play QB Steve McNair for as long as his strained groin will hold up, then replace him with Kyle Boller. After Arizona came back from 17 points down last week, Boller drove the Ravens into range for Matt Stover's winning field goal - with some help from the officials.

Oakland (1-2) at Miami (0-3)
The Raiders still lack talent, but Lane Kiffin (Monte's son) has them competing. He's clearly a quick learner, using the same timeout trick that Mike Shanahan used against him in Denver the previous week to beat the Browns.
Cam Cameron is still looking for his first win with the Dolphins. Their problem has been what was supposed to be a strong point, an aging defense that's allowed 28 points a game.
 

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