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Gruden expects Bears' best QB

By RICK STROUD
Published October 22, 2004

TAMPA - A quarterback controversy finally may be settled in Tampa Bay on Sunday, but it won't belong to the Bucs.

Chicago Bears starter Jonathan Quinn passed for just 34 yards Sunday and had an interception returned for a touchdown in a loss to Washington.

Quinn is almost certain to start the game, but the Bears will have a very quick hook if he struggles early.

That's why they've spent the week also preparing Ohio State rookie Craig Krenzel to play. The Bears' fifth-round pick is taking 40 percent of the snaps with the first-team offense.

Bucs coach Jon Gruden said his team will be prepared for both quarterbacks.

"We'll look at (Krenzel) in the preseason (film)," Gruden said. "He's a winner. If I'm not mistaken, one of the things that really impressed me about Krenzel, he won a national championship. He's some kind of engineer. He's a brilliant guy, so he's going to know their stuff, he's going to have an edge about him, a competitive edge you need to have to play in this league. If he's the guy, I'm sure he's going to be well-trained, disciplined and ready to roll."

Bears coach Lovie Smith isn't expected to name a starter until Sunday.

"The backup quarterback is always the favorite guy," Smith said. "Is there excitement for Craig? I would like to think there is. There's excitement for Jonathan being better this week, also."

Just in case, the Bears plan to bring in former Browns quarterback Tim Couch for a physical and tryout today.

Gruden said the Bears' passing game is much better than it performed against the Redskins.

"I don't think that's indicative of the kind of skill players they have," Gruden said. "Sometimes you have tough days. I think Detroit had a tough day on the stat sheet the other day. You're going to have those days in this league. Sometimes, those things happen."

I REMEMBER YOU: Receiver Joe Jurevicius returns to the lineup this week, but he already has some familiarity with quarterback Brian Griese. In '97, they were teammates in the Hula Bowl after their senior year in college (Jurevicius at Penn State, Griese at Michigan). In fact, Jurevicius threw a TD to Griese.

"It was my first touchdown pass ever," Jurevicius said. "(Notre Dame quarterback) Ron Powlus dropped the other one. I should've been 2-for-2 for about 100 yards and two touchdowns. I think I laid Griese out, too. I do remember him getting blasted in the end zone, but he still held on.

"Jon, if you're listening, let me throw another one."

Speaking of Jurevicius, his second day of practice was pain-free and just as impressive as his first, according to Gruden.

"He looked good, he did. He came back and was impressive," Gruden said. "I think he was pain-free and confident and you could see him gaining confidence."

INJURIES: DT Ellis Wyms is out with a shoulder strain. DT Anthony McFarland (groin) returned to practice Thursday. S Dwight Smith (knee) was limited in practice but is expected to play.

Gruden acknowledged the Bucs were a little more sore than usual after playing in back-to-back road games on artificial surface.

"It's a tough place to play, but the St. Louis Rams didn't cancel practice today," Gruden said. "Any time you play a Monday night game on the road, it's a late traveling week for you. So it presents a challenge. You lose that extra day off to heal. So we modified practice a little bit yesterday and today, yet we got a lot of good quality work done. We've lost some key members, obviously, two defensive linemen that won't be able to play that had been playing. So we did lose some men that are important to us."

[Last modified October 22, 2004, 01:09:27]

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