Grossman, Manning suffer growing pains with Bears, Giants Print
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Thursday, 29 November 2007 14:27
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 CHICAGO (AP) -Rex feels Eli's pain.
Two young quarterbacks from the same college conference who come from strong football families and were first-round picks, Rex Grossman of the Bears and Eli Manning of the Giants hear the critics.
Those detractors can be loud and demonstrative, even personal. It's all a matter of how you deal with it. Grossman should know.
``People are passionate about the Giants as they are about the Bears, and the quarterback is usually the first place people look,'' Grossman said. ``You just try to block it out and play the best you can.''
Grossman lost his starting job earlier this season after tossing three interceptions against the Cowboys before recapturing it two games ago. He's heard plenty of boos for his uneven performances and mistakes that were a sidebar to the Bears' trip to the Super Bowl a year ago.
For Manning, it can't get much worse than last week against the Vikings after he was intercepted four times. Three of the picks were carried in for touchdowns and another set up a score in surprisingly easy 41-17 romp by Minnesota.
``I think anytime you throw interceptions, you always blame yourself. But sometimes it is not always your fault,'' Grossman said. ``It is a tough thing to explain to someone who has never been in that situation. But yeah, I feel for him. I have been there.
``I obviously don't know the extent to what he is being criticized about and all of that because I have to worry about myself. But I think every quarterback is judged, and even more so in a big market like Chicago and New York.''
When the Bears and Giants meet Sunday at Soldier Field, defenses that feast on rushing the passer will be trying to apply the pressure and rattle Grossman and Manning into mistakes. The Giants, with defensive ends Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora, have 38 sacks this season, six more than the Bears.
``We have to do our best to put pressure on him, not so much to make mistakes but let him know we're there, there's not going to be a comfortable game,'' Strahan said. ``Same thing with Eli. They're going to try to put pressure on him. When you put pressure on a quarterback, it makes him make rash decisions, makes him make quick decisions, more than likely throw some balls he's not ready to throw.''
Just as Strahan said Grossman is a better player since watching and then getting his job back from Brian Griese, the Bears aren't expecting Manning to play as poorly as he did last week.
``Everybody has a bad day at work and that's probably what happened,'' Bears defensive end Alex Brown said. ``We expect him to play come out and play a lot better.''
Giants coach Tom Coughlin's message to Manning after the debacle was this: Move on.
``I think if you play the game long enough, you have a game like that. And that's not to say that it doesn't come with great pain,'' Coughlin said. ``It happens. What you have to do is put it away and you've got to learn from it and you've got to move forward. And that's basically what we are doing.''
Grossman threw three touchdown passes against the Giants last season and Devin Hester's 108-yard return of a missed field goal led the Bears to a 38-20 victory. Grossman also played well in the latter stages of last week's comeback win over Denver, completing 10 of 14 passes for 108 yards in the fourth quarter and overtime as the Bears pulled out a 37-34 win. Hester had TDs on punt and kickoff returns and will be a factor the Giants must neutralize.
But the Giants need a confident and competent Manning against a Chicago defense that is hoping for the return of Pro Bowl cornerback Nathan Vasher, who's missed most of the season with a groin injury.
New York should also know that another young quarterback, Denver's Jay Cutler, had 302 yards passing and two TDs last week against the Bears.
Manning was 21-of-49 for 273 yards against Minnesota. He's completed 58.5 percent of his passes with 16 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Can he bounce back quickly against the Bears (5-6) in a game that is also vital to the Giants (7-4) if they hope to make the playoffs?
``Understand that bad games happen, bad situations occur, and that is part of this living and playing football and you can't get over-concerned with it,'' Manning said. ``You have to keep your mind-set on the future and what is going on. You have to have the power to forget. That is probably the most important thing as a quarterback. You have to be able to forget games, forget plays that happened.''
Eli could perhaps get some tips from a quarterback who beat the Bears in the Super Bowl nearly 10 months ago: Peyton Manning.
But Eli will rely on his own instincts instead of leaning on big brother.
``We haven't talked too much about it. No,'' Eli said.

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