Griese isn't the solution to the Bears' problems

Oct 29, 2007 - 11:59 PM By Kevin Pedersen PA SportsTicker Staff Writer

So much for Brian Griese becoming the savior of the Chicago Bears offense.

After Chicago replaced quarterback Rex Grossman following a 1-2 start, Griese and the defending NFC Champions dropped to 3-5 on Sunday with a 16-7 home loss to the Detroit Lions.

Griese threw one touchdown pass and four interceptions - including three into the end zone - as Chicago was swept by Detroit for just the second time in the last 10 years.

The 32-year-old veteran has been less than stellar this season, ranking 25th in the NFL with a quarterback rating of 76.2 while throwing nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Grossman had thrown six interceptions in his first three games of this season but Griese isn't far behind, throwing multiple interceptions in three of his five games.

"He's trying to make plays," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "But we can't turn the football over. So if that means not throwing in those spots trying to make the big play and dumping if off, that's a base part of what we do too."

While the mistakes have been a problem for the Bears, the quarterback position isn't the only issue for Chicago.

Former first-round pick Cedric Benson became the starting running back after Chicago traded away 1,210-yard rusher Thomas Jones in the offseason.

Through eight games, Benson has gained 466 yards on just 3.1 yards per carry. The 2005 fourth overall pick has just one game of more than 67 rushing yards this season.

Chicago has also been hurt by slow starts, scoring just three points in 22 first-quarter drives this season.

"We talk about balance in the running game and passing game," Griese said. "And if we're not scoring points early in games, we can't keep that balance throughout the entire game because the other team is going to score points."

The Bears defense, which led the league by forcing 43 turnovers last season, has fallen off as well.

Chicago is ranked in the bottom 10 in yards allowed and points allowed and have just 12 takeaways at the midway point of the season.

"We're 3-5 and it's hard to believe because we have so much talent and so many guys that can play, so many guys from last year's team," defensive end Alex Brown said. "But it's not last year. Last year's not going to help us."

Defense and special teams sometimes made up for the offense last season, winning three games when the Bears had three or more turnovers including two wins when they had committed at least five giveaways.

"We're not good enough to overcome those plays right now and to have guys having mental lapses or physical letdowns," right tackle Fred Miller said. "We've got to be perfect and make sure that all guys are clicking in order for us to be successful."

Grossman had a lot of help around him when Chicago reached the Super Bowl last season, but this year's team may be starting to find out that they just aren't good enough to overcome mistakes - whoever is playing quarterback.