CBS Sports.com pro football writers Pete Prisco and Clark Judge face off weekly throughout the season.
|Should the Bears have benched Rex Grossman?|
|Pete Prisco||Clark Judge|
|No. That might sound crazy considering how he has struggled, but three games does not make a season. Plus, I blame the coaching staff. Grossman hit Bernard Berrian in the hands in the second quarter for what should have been a long touchdown pass. Berrian dropped it. Then with his team down 10-3, he passed them to the tying touchdown. After the Cowboys made it 17-10, Cedric Benson fumbled and Dallas turned that into a field goal. Then it went bad. Grossman's first pass on the next series was picked by Anthony Henry and returned for a touchdown. Game over. The rest really went downhill, but it didn't matter. It doesn't matter if it's Grossman or Brian Griese. You can't succeed as a quarterback in a system designed to make the quarterback play it safe. The Bears think they can just win by playing good defense, running the football and mixing in a special-teams return or two by Devin Hester. At some point, the coach has to let the quarterback do more than just manage the game. Grossman never got that chance. It's unlikely Griese will get it either.||Are you kidding me? The Bears were getting nothing from the position. A year ago Grossman had the league's most opportune defense, a solid rushing game and Devin Hester to bail him out -- like that Monday-night win over Arizona -- but times have changed. The Bears' defense is depleted by injuries, and the team averages 3.4 yards per rush, good for 27th in the league. That puts more heat on the quarterback, and Grossman had to get out of the kitchen. He was near the bottom of nearly every category and getting worse, not better. I could live with him if he was ordinary. But he wasn't. He stunk. The key number for me? Chicago averages 26:16 time of possession on offense. Only Buffalo is worse. And how does that happen? Turnovers. The Bears lead the league with 11, with Grossman responsible for six of them. That must change. So sit him. Grossman isn't solely to blame for the Bears' troubles. But this team needs to shake things up and fast. I don't know if Brian Griese will be better, but I do know he won't be worse.|
| With one TD pass, Brett Favre will break Dan Marino's record. |
So who would you rather have as your QB?
|Pete Prisco||Clark Judge|
|That's easy. It's Marino. I'd take him over any other quarterback in NFL history. He was the game's best passer, bar none. Forget that he didn't win a Super Bowl. That wasn't his fault. It was bad defenses and a lack of a running attack to support him. Marino played 242 games, while Favre has played 244. So that's close. But Favre has thrown 275 interceptions, compared to 252 for Marino. Favre has had three seasons in which he's thrown more picks than touchdown passes. Marino had one, his last. Marino is way ahead in passing yards, throwing for 61,361 compared to 58,361 for Favre. But more than the numbers, my decision is based on my eyes. In the history of the league, there's never been a better passer than Marino. His ability to put the ball on the numbers, his quick-flick release to get it there in a hurry, made him the best. Favre is a great player, but give me Marino any day. By the way, Favre should enjoy the record while he can. Peyton Manning will eventually take it away if he stays healthy. He throws an average of 1.92 touchdown passes per game. Marino did it at 1.73 per game and Favre at 1.72 per game. Manning will own that record at some point.||I want guys who win and guys who win championships. That means I'm taking Favre. Look, no one was a bigger fan of Marino. I loved everything about the guy. His hair-trigger release. His charisma. His productivity in big games (Bears, 1985). But he was compromised by injuries and wound down a lot faster than I imagined. Favre hasn't. He keeps going, and his record of 240 straight starts is the equivalent of Cal Ripken's consecutive-games streak. He's won more games and, after this weekend, will have thrown more TDs than Marino. But that's not what does it for me. It's his impact on the Packers. Before Favre, they missed the playoffs 18 straight years in non-strike seasons; after Favre, they had one losing year, reached the playoffs 10 times, won six division titles and a Super Bowl. Look, if I could have Marino at his best I'd take him over almost anyone but Unitas. But he faded in the second half of his career. Favre hasn't faded at all. Plus, look how he's done it: Without a Hall of Fame receiver, running back or offensive lineman. The guy carried the Packers for 16 years. That works for me.|
| Who has the best corner tandem: Denver with Champ Bailey and Dre' Bly |
or Green Bay with Al Harris and Charles Woodson?
|Pete Prisco||Clark Judge|
|I think I'd take the Packers duo. Bailey is the best cover corner in football. He's on his way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Bly is a good, quality cover corner. But the two in Green Bay might be a better overall tandem. Woodson has been a good player for a long time. In Oakland, there was talk that his skills had started to erode, but he's bounced back to elevate his game to a top-tier level again. Harris has been one of the more underrated players for a while. Since taking over as a starter in Green Bay after being the nickel corner in Philadelphia, he has displayed top-notch cover skills. He can blanket a receiver. It's a tough call, because Bailey is clearly the best of the four, but as a tandem I'd take the Green Bay group.||I'll take Champ Bailey and Dre Bly in a photo finish. Heck, I'd take Champ Bailey and Gregg Doyel. Champ Bailey and anyone make for a decent tandem because Bailey's the best in the business. That's not to denigrate Woodson and Harris. Harris is one of the most underappreciated cornerbacks in the game, and Woodson seems to have found a second life in Green Bay. But Bailey reminds me of Deion Sanders when he was at the top of his game. Opponents respected his ability so much they stopped throwing to his side a) because they didn't want to risk an interception and b) because their chances for success were better almost anywhere else. Bailey never made that many interceptions because opponents stayed away from him, but the last two years he produced 18, the most by any player since Everson Walls in 1981-82. Bly may not be the equal of Woodson or Harris, but he's better than average. In fact, he's a two-time Pro Bowl choice. Now you put him with Bailey? Give them to me.|
|What is wrong with the St. Louis Rams?|
|Pete Prisco||Clark Judge|
|It's the offensive line. It doesn't matter how many weapons you have on offense if you can't block anybody. They become useless. The Rams offensive line was a question mark of sorts going into the season, but it's even more so because of injuries. They lost left tackle Orlando Pace for the season. Right guard Richie Incognito, one of the best run-blocking guards in the NFL, has missed three games, and left guard Mark Setterstrom is now lost for the season with a knee injury. In the one Rams game I saw live, the line was terrible. Marc Bulger took a beating and Steven Jackson had little room to run. The word is the receivers are getting frustrated with the offense. Bulger played with broken ribs last week and couldn't throw down the field. That meant a conservative plan, which did nothing against the Bucs. Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, Drew Bennett and Randy McMichael are going to waste because the offensive line stinks. What makes that hurt even more is that the defense, which was the main worry heading into the season, is actually playing good football. If you don't block them, you can't beat them. Period.||Simple. Too many injuries and not enough points. Four of the team's top six offensive linemen are missing, including Orlando Pace and Richie Incognito. Steven Jackson has a significant groin injury and no scores. Marc Bulger has two broken ribs. Drew Bennett has been hurt. Torry Holt isn't 100 percent. Randy McMichael has been bothered by a strained hamstring. OK, you get the picture. The club that once dazzled with its offense is 29th in scoring and last in the NFC West. Defense was supposed to be the problem here, but the Rams' defense has been OK. In fact, it's been better than OK. It's the offense that is handicapped, with St. Louis ranked in the bottom third of nearly every offensive category. Special teams have been lackluster too, but that's the trickle-down effect of injuries at work. Another thing: These guys can't do anything in the red zone. In 21 plays inside the 20 the Rams have 30 yards, period, and have as many turnovers there (two) as touchdowns. Brutal. Everyone has injuries, but the Rams have more than most to key offensive players. The outlook is bleak.|