|12-08-2006, 09:54 PM||#1|
Angling in the Deep
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Texas Riviera, Southern Mountains
Griese Ready To Play, But Won't Rock Boat
I wonder how many ex Broncos might end up in this season's Super Bowl?
Griese Ready To Play, But Won't Rock Boat
By Larry Mayer
LAKE FOREST, Ill. – While a great quarterback debate rages throughout Chicago, there’s only peace and harmony in a Bears locker room that is united behind slumping starter Rex Grossman.
Most of that is due to the team's 10-2 record and a second straight NFC North Division title. But another contributing factor is the unselfish attitude espoused by veteran backup Brian Griese.
Brian Griese's last appearance this season came late in a 41-10 win over the San Francisco 49ers Oct. 29 at Soldier Field.
“I’ve been on both sides of this, so I can empathize with Rex,” Griese said. “It’s not great to be in this position either because I’m a competitor. I’d like to be out there and play, I won’t lie to you. But that’ll never come before the team and that’s the important thing.”
While Grossman has conceded that Monday night’s road game against the St. Louis Rams could represent his final chance to get back on track, Griese insists that his approach won’t change.
“None of this really matters to me,” Griese said. “I have one job and that’s to go out and prepare just like I have the entire season, and that’s what I’m going to do this week.”
Griese has played sparingly this season, completing 7 of 8 passes for 45 yards with no TDs or interceptions while mopping up in wins over Detroit, Seattle, Buffalo and San Francisco. Although he hasn’t stepped on the field since Oct. 29 against the 49ers, the nine-year veteran insists that he will be ready if needed.
“If the time comes and I’m called upon, it’s my job to be ready to play,” said Griese, who led the NFL with a 141.7 passer rating in the preseason. “That’s my responsibility to each and every guy in this locker room, and I plan on being ready if my time is called.”
Griese signed with the Bears as a free agent in March after passing for 16,344 yards with 103 touchdowns, 78 interceptions and an 84.8 passer rating in eight seasons with the Denver Broncos (1998-2002), Miami Dolphins (2003) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2004-05).
The former Michigan star led Tampa Bay to a 5-1 start last season before suffering a season-ending knee injury in mid-October in a victory over the Dolphins.
While Griese is like all other quarterbacks from Pop Warner to Kurt Warner in that he would much rather play than wear a baseball cap on the sideline, the 6-3, 214-pounder is committed to helping Grossman try to snap out of a prolonged slump that includes 18 turnovers in the last seven games.
“I try to help Rex as much as I can,” Griese said. “I try to help him the best I can with some of the things that I can see from my vantage point on the sideline.
“I know from being on the field that there are some things you just don’t see. I’ve always had a good relationship with the other quarterbacks and asked them what they see, if it’s different than what I see. Sometimes you can get an advantage that way and that’s what I try to do.”
Supporting a teammate that you’re also competing against for a job makes for an interesting but not unusual dynamic.
“Is it any different in business or in other aspects of life?” Griese said. “You’re always competing and trying to be the best. We all want to be playing. There’s only one job out there, but we can understand and empathize and support each other, and at the end of the day that’s what we’ll do.”
Griese, the son of Dolphins Hall of Fame quarterback Bob Griese, is more than accustomed to the scrutiny that comes with playing the all-important position.
“The quarterback is a different position than everybody else,” he said. “You have more responsibility mentally preparing for the game and there’s a lot more decision-making. Frankly, that’s why you get paid so much as a quarterback, is to make those decisions and make the right decisions. That’s just part of the job.”
Griese declined to reveal whether he was receiving any additional reps in practice but said that he knows he must be prepared to step in and contribute at all times regardless of the preparation.
“You have to be ready all the time no matter how many reps you get,” he said. “That’s the nature of the backup quarterback position. So I can’t sit here and tell you, ‘Well, I need two reps, three reps, I don’t need reps.’ If I’m going to have a chance to play, I’m going to do everything I can with whatever reps I get.”